Anyone who really knows me will happily tell you that patience is not a virtue that I possess.
(What writers should know about high-end weddings)
However, patience is key when writing a slow love story, because not only is the reader waiting to get to the “good parts”, but the writer is too. You have to lay the groundwork, create tension, and heighten anxiety, so that by the time the couple finally gives up, all that pain pays off.
Here are some tips to make this slow flame hot hot:
1. Build tension.
Perhaps the most important part of a successful slow love story is the kind of tension that leaves the reader screaming “Just a kiss already!” in the pages of their book. You want your readers to be on the edge of their seats, just waiting for that moment when the tension finally arrives. But first, you have to build it. The tension comes from all those impending moments. The kiss was almost cut off by a phone call. A hug that lasts for a few seconds is too long. Use these moments to ramp up the tension and give these characters plenty of time to enjoy themselves.
2. It’s the little things.
Part of the tension-building process is the little moments—finger brushes, soft smiles, maybe even a wink or two. These brief flashes of what’s to come give the reader some insight, and prompt the reader to anticipate what’s to come next. If a couple of seconds of contact causes this much anxiety, think how amazing that first kiss was!
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3. Too much panting.
We all love good pine wood, and coloring is a key component of a slow burn. Readers should feel the pain comes from both characters, even if the story is told from only one person’s point of view. Constant thoughts, rushes of anticipation, stomach rumblings, readers want it all, and they show it with both actions and words.
4. Slow burning, not slow.
Most readers don’t want to read a slow-paced novel, and the slow burn doesn’t have to equate to the slow pace. What that means is that there must be other plot points that occur as the romantic tension builds. Characters need other situations to deal with while they are also tense, fluttering, flirting, and anxious.
5. Make it pay off.
What is the benefit of slow burning without final payoff? When your characters finally give in to their feelings and get over that tension, it should be fine. Whether it’s a stellar, luxurious first kiss or a steamy love scene, give readers what they’ve been waiting for. Don’t be afraid to really enjoy the details of the bonus scene, that’s what the story was built for!
Slow motion romance stories can be some of the most satisfying stories to read. Extract that tension, make your characters pinecone, and don’t forget to bring them all home with a killer bonus!
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