Romance Isn’t the Problem in YA Lit

12. Juli 2015 Schreiben lernen


A lot of writers might argue that romance in YA lit is a
boring old trope that needs to die. If you’re into reading YA lit, it’s been
nearly impossible for you to avoid the “she was a normal girl until she met
[insert cool boy character]”, but I’m here to argue that romance and love
triangles aren’t necessarily the problem in young adult novels. The problem is
when the main character completely loses all of their power and motivation when
romance is introduced to the story. When it’s done right, the story can be
captivating and realistic.

Here are a few reasons
why you shouldn’t be afraid to include romance in your novel:

Many of us have had

Most of us, starting at a young age, have had a fondness for
someone and may have possible done something foolish because of those feelings.
We can’t pretend like we’ve never had these feelings or they don’t exist for
many people. Even if we weren’t in love, those feelings were probably very
strong for a lot of people.

You can still build
strong characters

Having two characters fall in love does not mean your
characters are weak. You can still build strong characters will believable/understandable
motives and they can still be extremely relatable. The romance doesn’t have to
be the main focus. The main character shouldn’t lose themselves or become
weaker because of their romantic relationships (unless that is the point of the

We do a lot of things
for love

Love can sometimes be the main motivating factor for our
actions. We tend to do a lot of things in the name of love, whether these
decisions were smart or not.

Relationships are

Exploring both romantic and platonic relationships with
others can be important to your novel. As people, we tend to care about and
love family, friends, partners, etc. This can be a natural part of our lives,
so it’s not the worst idea to explore it.

Here’s how to do it

Build your characters
up separately

Each character should be someone separate from the
relationship they’re in. Two characters can fall in love, but they should be
more than that relationship. Explore who they are separately and what makes
them different/similar. Does the relationship make them stronger? Does it make
them weaker? Does it affect your story at all?

You don’t have to
make romance the main focus

Romance and love does not have to be the main focus,
depending on your novel. Take some time to think about what that relationship
means in your story. What else is going on? Is it a sub-plot or is it the main

Love triangles: make
the decision hard

Love triangles become pointless when you can easily spot the
better choice. You should have as much trouble as the main character does when
choosing sides. I think the Hunger Games does this very well, because both Gale
and Peeta are good options for Katniss and both represent different things. Her
relationship with both of them does not make Katniss any weaker as a character.
She is motivated by her desire to protect those she loves, which is what makes
her relatable and honorable.

Figure out wants and

Each character should have wants and needs separate from the
romance. There should be a story beyond the relationships formed. You should be
able to build your character and really get to know who they are on their own.
Otherwise, it can all feel very contrived.

 Ultimately, I don’t think you should cut something you
really feel is important/integral to your story because people say it’s overdone.
Just avoid talking down to your readers and treat your characters with respect.

-Kris Noel