Posted by: nancyisanders | March 8, 2013

Genre: Teen Romance, Part 2

How This Genre Influences Your Plot
The plot in a teen romance progresses from beginning to end following events influenced by the different stages of love, specifically from a teen’s point of view. Since character development and the character’s internal emotions are paramount, a teen romance often follows a character-driven plot. Simply put, this means that the significant changes that occur in your main story plot to transition the story from the beginning to the end will be reflected in the big internal changes the main character is experiencing.

Before you plan the key events in your story’s plot, spend time considering whether you want to write in this genre alone or not. Do you want to write a true teen romance? Or do you want to mix and match this genre with another? For example, you could write a historical romance for teens. Your main character could be traveling the Oregon trail, fall in love with the wagon leader’s oldest son, and become a teen bride at 17. Or you could write a teen paranormal romance such as Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Your main character could fall in love with the captain of the football team only to discover he’s actually a vampire. You could even write a dystopian romance where your main character is banished by the government to a prison camp for rebellious citizens where she falls in love with a brave teen boy who is a member of her chain gang.

As you’re planning the key events in your story’s plot, you may realize that you don’t want to write in this genre at all. Sure, you want to include romance in your YA novel, but you realize you don’t want it to take center stage as it needs to be if you’re writing in this genre. You may want to write literary fiction or an adventure instead. If this is the case, you can still pick teen romance as a universal theme and develop it as a subplot within the genre you choose.

It’s a delicate balancing act for any writer who chooses to include romance in a story for children or teens. Because romance can so easily dominate the story (or not influence the plot as it should if it isn’t developed correctly) it’s important to decide during the planning and plotting stages what role you want romance to take. It will save you a lot of angst as a writer if at the start, you choose carefully whether or not you want to write a true teen romance, mix and match teen romance with another genre, or incorporate romance solely as a universal theme that develops as a subplot among the different layers of your story. Plot out the key events and significant changes of your story accordingly before you start to write, and you’ll be well on your way to maintaining the proper balance of romance your story needs. You’ll appear as professional as a tightrope walker at the circus balancing on a bike while seeming to ride effortlessly across the high wire!

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