Question for writers: When writing romance in a novel, do you have a set idea of how many chapters in you should wait?

Do you have this rule that you have to keep the "courtship", character developement etc going until a certain chapter before they can show romantic interest or kiss/makeout/have sex?

Like, you would never have two characters kiss by chapter 5, or chapter 10 or something before for you, you think that's too soon?

Do you like to draw out the tension REALLY far into the book, like to chapter 20 or 25 OR even 30 if your book is huge? Or do you prefer having characters jump right on in, in chapter 10 or 12?

I'm just curious, as I've been writing for years and I used to jump right in fairly quickly but now I find myself insecure about it, and try to draw out the character developement longer so that the reader actually see's it as a realistic time frame.

Sorry if this doesn't make sense, it's 9am and I haven't slept in forever because I was pounding out chapters for a deadline. x. x


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Well that's the thing about books, drawing out the characters to long to give the user a realistic sense of time can actually have a negative effect in some cases you can always have short to medium time skips in order to get them farther ahead in character development and then later on in the story write short flash backs that can fill the gaps that you previously had.

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    • Yeah, I was thinking about this. I'm taking a small hiatus from a fan fic I'm writing in order to get the next chapters sorted out and decide what flashbacks I want to put in. Because I've already had several chapters that go day by day. I did a 6 day gap in the very beginning, and then a 4 day gap, but I'm thinking of making this next gap several weeks, because the characters are all by themselves, and it gets tricky when they can only interact with each other. I don't want it to get boring, and be tons of unimportant filler chapters.

Most Helpful Girl

  • My word of advice.

    Don't draw it out too long. I have a bad habit of taking too long to get the point of a story and that's where I get stuck, trying to fill the gap.
    Generally with a romance book (let's say twenty chapters long) you will find that the love interest is introduced between the first and fifth chapter, and unless it's a book about getting the boy/girlfriend, the romance will have started by the seventh or eighth chapter. There will be a crisis or two by the tenth chapter that won't be resolved until maybe the seventeenth chapter and then the last three will be used to tie up any loose ends.

    This is just a general thing though that I picked up reading amateur romance books. I haven't read a proper, actually published book in so long I've almost forgotten what editing looks like.

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    • Oh god, same here. And I've been reading a lot of fan fics. I'm currently writing a fan fiction and the chapters are not as long as the average story. They are about 1200-1600 words long. So, the story will probably be 25-30 chapters with the way I'm making the chapters shorter. I'm working on Chapter 6 and trying to decide if I should add very clear flirting or not, since the two characters only met in Chapter 3. x. x I tend to drag a little as well because I'm a huge detail person, and I love having a page of only beautiful detail and some people find that boring, and some people find too much talking boring. I can't win!

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    • Hmm yes. The male character is kind of a sociopath because that's who he is in the show I'm fan fic-ing. So, I have to stay true to his sociopathic tendency while also adding empathy into his character development to make the female characters attraction to him not be so far out. Because without his character development, she'd probably have ran away from him by now. LOL They've known each other just a week now. But I'm planning on going 2 weeks forward, and just having some flashbacks. Because I don't want there to be tons of filler chapters with just idle random talking.

    • Sounds reasonable. If he's a sociopath, be sure not to lend him too much empathy, just enough that would fit. Typically (I'm no expert so bare with me) in my experience sociopaths only ever appear to have empathy, when truly it could be a certain fondness for that person coming through in wanting them to not be upset, simply because its a burden to deal with an upset person.

      The flashbacks seem a good idea, they've only known each other a week so I'd ensure whatever interaction you've had between them previously won't lead to flirting coming out of left field.
      You don't want to blindside your readers, it can turn a book from really good, to, this is too much too soon, I can't deal with it. (Has happened to me before, I loved the story but hated how every chapter I was blindsided and kept in the dark for long enough to think the author had accidentally deleted half the chapter before posting)

      That's all I can think of right now. Damn I'm tired.

What Guys Said 0

The only opinion from guys was selected the Most Helpful Opinion!

What Girls Said 6

  • nah i could never predict the number of chapters. id sorta just figure it out along the way.
    if u think too much about the structure of the book, it will take away from what you're writing about. keep your energy in the story and you'll know when to end a chapter when u get there. =]

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  • For me I go by the number of pages. Since every chapter is different in length I usually do it around maybe 100 pages? Usually like 100 or 80 or whenever my gut says it's the right time. Not too far in I suppose, but I don't want the reader to be reading a romance novel where most of the time they're just talking.

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  • For me it depends on a few things.

    -Where I plan on taking the romantic relationship.

    -If there are multiple love interests

    -How I feel at that current moment lol

    I've started books with kisses and all before. And I've also waited for awhile before writing one in. It really depends for me. I'm currently working on a short story so any physical romance is probably going to be introduced fairly quickly.

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  • Not really

    I just have a picture of the whole plot in my head.

    Sometimes I do breakdown chapters and add bullet points.

    But it doesn't work out that way for me.

    It changes the moment I start to type a chapter.

    So, no. I don't have any set chapters but I do know when or if I am delaying it for far too long.

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  • It all depends really where the book takes me. I kind of just write it out and see where it goes. If it fits it goes in if its feeling too soon I won't put it.

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  • I have. Depending on the plot. I think most writers do that.

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