How to write some romance in my three novels that won't overtake the plot and overall story? (READ BEFORE COMMENTING)

In my three stories, I am really trying not to add romance. I’ve never been in a romantic relationship and don’t plan to, but I really, truly rather not write romance that feels cringy and downright fake as hell.

The type of romantic relationship that feel sugary sweet or bland and boring without any realism. Plus, if I write romance in my fiction I have to try and not make it overtake the whole novels.

I know, I know what some of you are probably going to say.
You’re going to say that “you don’t have to write romance in your fiction if you don’t want to”. Which is true, but personally I can’t have all of my main characters in my three stories aromantic asexuals just because of my inexperience with romance.

I mean I can, but realistically (in a fictional story sense), I think it is better if the characters explore their wants, needs, and desires all on their own (even though I will be there guiding them through).

So, yeah, I read fiction or listen to book that have romance in it OR I can search the web for information.

I am not asking for much. I only want to add a few romantic scenes in the stories that actually make sense. Other than that, the characters from my three novels are too focused on other things that pure romance will be in the way.

What do you think?

Got any tips and/advice for me?

Lend me your thoughts!


Why not put the romance in the past? Your character could be recovering from an ugly breakup, and be unwilling to start any new relationships. You could add an amorous pursuer the character tries to avoid with humorous results, and maybe the book ends with your character agreeing to go out together on the last page of the book…? ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯


I could do past relationship…I think.

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Uh, you do know that it’s possible to be not aro/ace and still be single for the rest of your life? I’m definitely not aro/ace but I’ve never been in a romantic relationship before and don’t plan to in the near future.

There are stories out there that have romance but not necessarily aro/ace characters. I personally think that we have too little stories that have no romance but simultaneously have a medium- or large-sized cast, so if you think the lack of romance is a problem, I’d say worry less. It’s okay to have no romance. Having no romance in your stories does not equal having a cast comprising exclusively aro/aces.

Like what @Akje suggested, you can factor in a past relationship. Or perhaps you can have one character pining for another, but they’re forced to not pursue a romantic relationship because they don’t want to be distracted from their plans. You can have characters write about their romantic interests in their diaries, show their thoughts regarding romance when they’re alone pondering their next steps, stuff like that. If you want, you can even throw in a secret lover in there that’s hidden because they a) may not be welcomed by the main characters or society b) the other character wants to keep them safe out of fear that their enemies will target their lover if they find out.

My idea for a romance that may take up only a few scenes—you absolutely do not have to follow this—is a romance between a traveling main character and a minor character, where they were friends long before they started a romantic relationship. While the main character’s busy going on adventures, they can write letters to their love interest, and when they get back from their journey at the end the two can reunite and spend quality time with each other. Letter-writing will only take one scene per letter, and you don’t even have to show each letter being written—it can happen off screen and perhaps mentioned later.

Ultimately I think you can let your characters write their love lives for you and spend less time debating whether to include romance or not and worry about how it’ll affect the storyline. The characters may want a romance. They may not want a romance. They may have a fast-burn fling or slow-burn relationship. I personally have two couples involving the main character and their romances went about very differently—for one couple, it was between a main character and a more minor character, and the romance was fast burn since they found out they had crushes on each other early in the book and actually became a couple two-thirds into the same book; the other couple involves two of the most important characters in the series, and while their feelings for each other will start growing two-thirds into the first book, they won’t actually get together till the halfway through the third book of the trilogy. A lot of my other books don’t really have romance, but that doesn’t mean all my other book characters are aro/ace. Your characters will figure it out eventually. You just need to write, and you’ll see.


Alright. I understand.

I suppose so. I just wanted my characters to be devoid of romantic feelings for my sake. It sounds stupid, but I really HATE romance in my stories.

You could also give your characters a spouse. So maybe they mention the better half every now and then, but no romance is needed to be shown. Many married couples do nothing but complain about each other anyway. /(=^ェ^=)\ /(^ᆺ^=)\


So are your characters currently not romantic because they don’t want to be romantic or because you don’t want them to be romantic? Or both?

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This one

Well then that’s still forcing them in a way, and there’s the possibility that it might come off as forced in the story too. Obviously if there are no opportunities for romance that it makes sense, but… idk. I can’t really explain it.

So let’s say your characters meet someone who is 100% compatible with them and absolutely their type. Like, a dream boyfriend or girlfriend that has all the qualities they want. How would they react or feel after spending time with that someone? Would you still rule out all possibilities of romance even though there’s a chance that your character might actually want to pursue a romantic relationship with this extremely compatible person just because you yourself hate romance?

I don’t even know what to say at this point other than let your characters decide what they want to be.


I mean I get what you are saying but I seriously don’t even know how to write romance in my stories. I rather make it feel somewhat genuine.

i previously identified as asexual as well (though not anymore) and have never been in a real romantic relationship nor a sexual one, but on the contrary i love writing romance. despite having no irl experience, my friends tell me i write really realistic takes on romance which is a big compliment, and as to how? i just try to think about them in a realistic way, honestly. not perfect, each has their own troubles, and then navigating around them to make room for a significant partner. but since i like writing romance, it’s not forcing - even if it makes sense for your characters to develop relationships, if you don’t like writing it (or don’t know how/both), it’s going to sound forced somehow. it can be perfectly realistic for them to not experience romance, just a wrong place wrong time kind of thing. like others have suggested, simply adding in an already established relationship in the background could solve both problems - giving them romance if you think it makes sense for their character, while also avoiding to write it directly :ok_hand:


The point of the romance genre (imo) is to bring two characters together, and write the story in a way where the reader can join in on all the anticipation, the butterflies, the steamy moments, the warm sweet moments etc. That’s not the same as implementing a romantic relationship in general so you don’t have to feel forced to turn parts of your novel into a soap opera just because of those relationships.

This is one of the easier ways to go. Spouses or just in general, being with someone doesn’t have to be full of big grand gestures. You can be subtle and still let the reader know, oh, these two are together/interested in each other. Especially for a couple that’s been together for a while. It’s the small things. A tag sticking out of his shirt, their partner tucks it back in. Can’t open a jar, their partner takes it, and opens it. Can’t reach something, taller partner grabs it. Tag teaming something if they work together. Partners help each other out without always making a grand show of it every time. An example from my real life is that I’m hard of hearing. My SO puts subtitles automatically on everything we watch. People that visit aren’t used to this, so they’re like, why the subtitles? But he just does it. Doesn’t even ask. He knows they help me, and he just does it. I hate celery/olives so I let him have mine when we’re eating stuff that has that. Little things, but they’re actually proof you know your partner well without having to put on a show. Not sure if that helps?


If the characters fall in love, let them. If not, it doesn’t mean they are aromantic or asexual. They might have unrequited feelings. They might be in a lapse between relationships. They might have feelings or infatuations but because other things are going on, they put them on the back burner for now. They can be getting over a hard break up and not ready for another relationship. Love stories are different. And, well, characters often do or feel what we don’t normally do in real life.

  1. You can be single and not aro-ace, and you can also be aro-ace but not single!! (I’ve been the latter :relieved:)

  2. To keep romance from overshadowing the main plot is pretty easy. Romance stories structure the plot around the romance. Just do the opposite—structure the romance around the plot.

  3. If you don’t want to write any romance, just don’t write romance!! I know you sad it might not be realistic, but if the story doesn’t demand it, don’t add it. It’s your story, after all. I, personally, like a few very specific romance dynamics, but I’m pretty specific with them. I just write what I want to write, and I’ve never had any complaints!!

  4. Just do what feels natural. Romance that overshadows the main plot tends to feel forced, but that’s usually because the author wants to add romance even if it’s not needed. I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that!!

  5. Match the character’s personalities to the kinds of romances they may be in. One of my favourite arcs to write is “wrong person, right moment,” where two characters date for awhile because it makes sense for where they are in the moment, but they later break up because they grow and mature as people, and the people they become just aren’t right for each other. I’ve got a couple in my story who felt forced when I wrote them romantically, but felt like a waste of chemistry when I kept them platonic, so I wrote them queerplatonic and it worked great for them. The spouse option is also pretty good, since they’re comfortable in the relationship don’t need to worry about constantly affirming or proving that they’re in a relationship.


Edit: please forgive spelling/grammar/other misused words. My brain’s a little slow today ahh

Eyo, I’m asexual too and have had this problem too. I’ve been in past relationships (more out of peer pressure than anything), and I still had a hard time writing romance.

It’s very uncomfortable to write something you have no personal desire for, and don’t quite understand. But I came to a certain point where I was able to look at my writing/romances apart from myself, and not feel uncomfortable working on them.

Here is my advice:

  1. Practice through short stories. It’s going to feel really uncomfortable, but your problem is that you’re having a hard time knowing how to depict romance. The best way to learn is through practice. Study how romance is applied in other stories, whether it’s plot-heavy or not.

  2. Show other people these short stories and ask for feedback specifically about the romance. This will not only allow others to critique your writing (which is beneficial), but it will also help you understand where you have strengths and flaws in writing romance.

  3. Look at examples of how romance is used in both romance center-stories and romance light stories. Once you know the rules, you can morph them and break them to your advantage and comfortability.

  4. Learn to emotionally distance yourself from your characters in a healthy way. This will help you write romance without feeling so involved in the process. You’re an omniscient narrator telling an experience, not a character including your own personal biases.

  5. Use romance as a device. Look at your story and see how you can reflect the themes inside of a romantic relationship.

  6. Perhaps use your own personal feelings to reflect them in a different way, create an antagonist or character that challenges you to think differently and to write on a broader spectrum then what you’re used to. This could be a character in your story, or a short-story character.

Either way, it’s all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. And, at the end of the day, if its something you decide your story doesn’t need–don’t include it. But at least you’ll know/understand the process and steps behind it.

You can’t break the rules, or follow the rules, when you don’t know what they are. Research is your friend. Perhaps there’s even threads on other websites of other asexual people giving advice, maybe there’s a particular website that outlines the point of romance as a literary device, maybe another that explains how you can separate yourself from the story. Point is: there’s so much out there to educate yourself with.


I had the same issue with my series. My main character is bisexual. At 16, he was involved in a somehow intimate relationship with a girl best friend. They weren’t labeled but they did kiss and such (no s*x obv). Then they got separated. At 20, the main character fell in love with a guy. Then they got separated, MC was transported into another world. He met, basically an alien woman, and they had a relationship. Get this, MC was seduced into an affair by a male human that also got transported into that world. Then, MC got together with the alien lady and had kids.

My main point is, I have romance in my series, and I had a problem with whether the plot is driven by the events in the world or is driven by romance. So, I pondered. Then I realized, I don’t have to make this a problem. I can just weave the romance into the plotline. It’s not as easy though, that’s why you need to know when and where is the appropriate time to sprinkle some love in the narrative.

Usually, love scenes in a fiction or fantasy story are shown when events are kind of calm and tranquil. There are times when things get a bit messier, but you can also reference the relationships in reveals, climaxes, or heat-of-the-moment stuff. The bottom line is, romance shouldn’t be a problem. It’s like you just have to stitch the story so that scenes that are romantic sometimes are hidden (meaning they don’t have relevance to the story itself), and sometimes they are shown because it’s for character development or a pivotal moment.

Disclaimer: The series I just mentioned is still WIP, so you won’t see it anywhere at all. It’s basically the outline of the romance the MC will have in the story.


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