Just Kiss Already: A Fangirl's Guide to Slow Burn Romance

Two words guys.... Slow burn.
That's right. I am talking about slow burned romance because it has never been more relevant in my life. No, my personal life does not include that, but my writing and TV watching habits do! So, to break down this, I am going to be talking about the importance of why slow burns work and how effective they are, using it in your own writing, and how this impacts your Wattpad audience. 
Some of you may know this by their alternative title as "OMG YOU NEED TO KISS ALREADY." Those ships/OTPs that take three seasons to get together; yeah, those are slow burn ships. They are the ships that make you go crazy and start going through their tumblr tags after every single episode.... I totally don't do that, okay? But basically, it's the pairings of people who have a romantic arc built subtly over a period of time. Sounds cool, right? Now let's discuss!
 Sounds cool, right? Now let's discuss!
Slow burn is probably one of my all-time favorite things to talk about because it works. As a writer, I love to write romance into my stories, but I'm someone who believes that it shouldn't be the defining thing for my characters. It's taken me many drafts to realize this because, quite honestly, I started writing my novel when I was nineteen. I've spent almost four years on it, and a lot of growing up during that time (thanks, University). 
Want to know why it works? Because it doesn't take away from the plot of the story. When you've got something much bigger happening, romance is at the bottom of their list. I really enjoy writing subtle romance. The slight touches, lingering glances, and other things that scream they are in love/like each other, but I know I can't. It's much more satisfying if you prolong them getting together. It's also fun to make your readers suffer!
 It's also fun to make your readers suffer!
The effectiveness of your slow burn really depends on your ability to tease the reader. The best way to do this is WRITE, REVISE, REPEAT. You heard right... you must go through multiple drafts to perfect the slow burn ship. You want to give your reader (or viewer if you're a screenwriter) little tastes of what's to come. You can build this up over books. You don't have to have them get together in the first book. That's why I love the triangle trope. I am currently doing a triangle trope where there's a whole lot of pining, no affections being exchanged, and lots of moody glances. 
I think one of my favorite examples to use for slow burn is Bellamy and Clarke from The 100. Disclaimer: they're still not canon.
Since season one, their relationship (whatever way you want to look at it) has been a dynamic on the show
Since season one, their relationship (whatever way you want to look at it) has been a dynamic on the show. This is probably one of my favorite ships because the writers will give you a little bit here and there, and then for a while you get nothing.
The writers are very smart because they make you connect with these characters. Bellamy and Clarke both have their dark pasts and they go through many trials and tribulations to get to where they are at the starting point of the show. The writers brought these characters together enough times where they can be vulnerable and open with one another. Because of that, they created some amazing on-screen chemistry, cute one-liners, and some fantastic swoon worthy hugs. But one thing I love about this show is that they parallel the canon relationships in the show.
What this show does is it takes the established (or ended) canon relationships of this show and parallels them with Bellamy and Clarke. These little subtle hints are my favorite and make me smile when I notice them. But what I love is the little instances where the writers show that these characters truly do care about each other.
Using those two as a hypothetical example of the slow burn, I have slowly begun to incorporate it into my own book. I feel like this works really well with books that have a bigger plot than just romance. My own book is basically a political drama, so the romance really does take a back burner.
Writing a slow burn romance is one that is aggravating, but when you get it to the way you want it, it is so impeccably satisfying. Just a few weeks ago, I had to change 90% of one of my chapters from some serious mushy kisses and confessions of love to subtle touches and heart eyes. I hated the editing portion of it all, but you know what? I'm so happy I did it because it gives readers a whole lot more to love about the characters.
 I hated the editing portion of it all, but you know what? I'm so happy I did it because it gives readers a whole lot more to love about the characters
I would most certainly aim for yay. Slow burn can have a huge impact on your audience as a Wattpad writer. In our day and age, shipping is everything. Even amongst the fandoms, ships are everything (Hessa**, Destiel, Bellarke, Clexa, Larry Stylinson, etc.). Shipping is a huge part of anything, and Wattpad is definitely included.
The reason I put Hessa with stars is because out of the list, that is a Wattpad story ship created by imaginator1d. However, her story was one of those ones where you knew the characters would get together. They did get together fairly quickly, but they still have a huge shipping base. The other example, which has probably the longest slow burn relationship in Wattpad history is famouxx 's Famoux
Kassandra is definitely one of those people who uses slow burn romance the smart way. She knows how to give her readers just enough to keep them coming back for more. I think what she's doing is really smart because it keeps readers wanting more and they will keep coming back to get those butterflies whenever they read about those two characters.
I was talking about this with some of my fellow Romance Sparks writers, and one of them mentioned they dragged their romantic subplot out for three books. It's crazy to think about how many reads some of these books have. Clearly Kassandra's doing well using the slow burn, she's got almost three millions reads! We may talk about how long her book is more often than not, but we do agree that slow burn romance is definitely the best.
One of my fanfictions that I'm still working on, Bittersweet, is a little bit slow with the romance. Like I said, I love taking my time for my characters to get to know one another. In my inbox just last night, I got a comment saying "JUST KISS ALREADY." The funny thing was, I was working on this article when I saw it. I let out a small laugh and I really wish they knew just how long I plan on drawing them out (more than 30 chapters or so...).
So, do you think you're ready to tackle slow burn romance? I think you are! If you're not entirely confident yet, I highly advise you to join the RomanceSparks twitter chat on Wednesday, April 12 at 8/7 Central because we are talking all about slow burn. 

No comments

Powered by Blogger.