In honour of Valentine’s Day our reading theme in school this month has been ROMANCE. Who better to ask about writing teen romance than Luisa Plaja, Author of the Month
Many (possibly even most) books aimed at teenagers will include romantic elements. Actual ‘romances’ go the extra mile. The focus of a romance novel is the relationship between the main couple, from attraction to possible love, with various obstacles on the way.
Here are five tasty ingredients for a teen romance novel:
Friends are important. You (yes, I am now casting YOU as a romantic hero or heroine) might start to see a close friend in a different light. Or you might make a new friend who you can’t stop thinking about. Or perhaps the person you’re falling for isn’t someone you’d classify as a friend at all (yet?), but you still need your other friends around you to laugh with while you’re going through all this heartache. Friendship is what it’s all about.
Ah, those heady moments when you catch each other’s eyes and both blush, your hearts racing. Or you get a really good exchange of banter going, with just the right amount of gentle teasing. Or you sit close to the person you like, accidentally-on-purpose, and they smile and shift even closer.
Teen romances have space for lighter moments. There’s laughter and silliness, and times where the characters simply enjoy spending time together. Although there’s always plenty of the next ingredient…
- Emotion (I was going to put ‘feels‘, but number five doesn’t start with ‘f’ and it felt left out!)
Crushes, drama, heartbreak, secrets, truth, attraction, arguments, trauma, disappointment, caring… love. It’s all there. (Not usually all in the same book – but sometimes!)
The true focus of teen romance is on learning to love and accept yourself for who you are. It’s about finding out that you can deal with whatever life throws at you, because you are amazing and strong. Of course, you absolutely don’t need a partner for this. But when you’ve reached this point, maybe you’re ready to let another person into your life, on your own terms, for friendship and flirting, fun and emotion…
And that’s teen romance.