How To Write a Short Love Story

22nd July 2011

I am in the habit of stories, and I am thinking of writing a short love story, but I cannot manage to write one just yet. I really wish I could. In fact, I have a great idea for a story. But I am dead tired.  I guess I'd have to do that another time.

However, before I retire to bed, let me just take  the time to give you a few hints on just how to write such a piece of work.

Firstly, before I go into details, I would like to bring something to your attention. Do you know the major mistake most writers make when it comes to writing a love story? They write a predictable plot. Anyone can easily tell how it will end.

Of course, it is true that most love stories have similar elements. The beautiful young lady; a dark, handsome, young man; they fall in love; tragedy strikes, separating the two lovers; but fate proves too strong and brings them back together again; and they live happily ever after.

I will now tell you something that will sound a bit odd:

Try to break this cycle. Write something a bit off from the conventional love story.

If you do this, your love story will generate more interest than you can imagine.

You may argue, however, that a love story should have these common elements in it in order to satisfy the reader. That is true to some extent. There are certain things that a reader expects to find in a romantic story. However, at the same time, the same reader will not enjoy reading a very predictable story. They want excitement, and this excitement is not only that which arouses feeling, but also that which results from suspense and the element of surprise.

So, make your love story different. Make it sound new. Make it sound original. And above all, do not give the reader the liberty to predict your plot, no. That will not earn you a lot of scores.

The fact is that many readers have read too much of love stories and watched too much of them on television etc., that they have developed a special 'sense' to tell exactly where the story is going. As a result, most of them lose interest even before they begin the story.

What a writer does not want to hear is:

"I know exactly where this is going. Why should I bother reading it?"

Such a statement is sure to put tears in the eyes of even the toughest writer.

 Your job, as the modern day writer is to show the reader who the boss is; who the creater of the story is. In effect, you should be able to tell your reader:

"It may sound like you know where this is going, but trust me, you have absolutely no idea!"

And the only way to do this is to get rid of the usual patterns everyone is acquainted with and write something unconventional.

Most of my stories are based on my experiences or a bit of my experiences supplemented with a whole lot of imagination. My experiences are not as predictable as you many think, so the stories do please my readers because they are 'unpredictable.'

Okay, after having said that, let me now attack the very core of the issue. How do you write a very good short love story?

To start with your story has to be short (as is suggested by 'short love story'). Hmm. I recommend a minimum of 1500 words. However, it has to be long enough to have all the elements of a short story.

Now listen carefully. This is the most important part. If you get this, you will be writing terrific stories. Believe me.  You should know not only how to get your readers to feel for the character, but also to get them to feel what the character feels.  This is what makes a great love story.

Even if your character is a villain, if he falls in love, your reader should feel for him, because love is a feeling that is mutual. No one can appropriately say he is in love unless he shares such a feeling with someone. And this is something most aspiring writers don't simply get: a love story is in reality not a story absolutely of love between two or more characters in the story, but a love affair between the reader and one or more characters.  Once a reader falls in love in such a manner, he is hooked. And there is no turning back.

More importantly however, you should have the ability to make the reader feel what the character feels. If a character falls in love, the reader should feel the magnitude and extent of such love.

Simply telling the reader that the character is 'in love' will not do. Rather, show it. Talk about how her eyes shines when she lays them upon him; how her heart knocks against her chest; how her skin seems to burn at the touch of his hand; how she thirsts and hungers for him when he is away.

Yes, use graphic terms; ones which not only stimulate the imagination but also give an idea of how the character feels; how they look, etc. In short, appeal to the senses. Write words that will make the reader use his senses in collaboration with his imagination. Use appropriate metaphors.

For example, do not just say, 'his breath smelt sweet', rather, you may say, 'his smelt of chocolate.'

Such use of metaphor and similie places your reader in the characters shoes. They can now feel and sense exactly what the character feels.  And that is the recipe of a great love story.

A short love story is descriptive. It is full of colourful language, language that paints pictures in the reader's mind. If you are unable to reproduce feeling in the reader; if you are unable to make the reader visualise, hear or feel what your characters feel, your purpose is totally defeated.

Therefore to write a great love story, put your readers in your characters shoes. Make them live the character's life. Make them feel as though it is their story. If you do that, then you will have written not just a short love story, but one of the greatest love stories of all time.

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