On Writing, Writing Romance

Writing the Love Scene after a Break-up

He left town on a Saturday morning, three weeks ago. That afternoon I sat down to write the grand love scene: in which the fated werewolf mates claim each other forever and ever.

I was sad but had accepted the end of the relationship, and I was ready to get to work. But I couldn’t get myself to write the words. I could hardly picture the characters together.

A few days ago, I finished the love scene. I’m glad I took several days to mull over such an important moment in the novel, for I wouldn’t have included some crucial elements if I hadn’t taken my time. (I’ve found that’s the case outside of life’s interference, that like wine or whiskey, ideas need to stew in a barrel for a while, even if you have the time to write 10,000 words in a weekend.)

I’ve also realized that I was so determined to write that scene then, the day of his departure, to prove I wasn’t too overwrought. I wanted it to be a symbolic, ironic act, affirming that hadn’t been the right relationship anyway, that my conviction in romance endured untarnished.

My post break-up transition has gone better than my friends feared—I cried a few times but have kept busy. My patient faith in finding love is just as strong. But, I was an idiot, or egotistical, to think I could write the love scene immediately after a break up. I was too full of my own emotions to try to fit the invented feelings of my characters as well. I had hoped to channel what I felt—as we authors often do—to make the romance even more potent, but it was an alchemical impossibility.

Sometimes fiction is an effective escape. Sometimes the shit life gives us is the best compost for writing. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to put stories aside and deal with what’s in your heart at face value, in the moment.


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