Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Writing Teen Romance

on February 8, 2011

On Valentine’s Day, I’m speaking on a Romance Writers panel for the Everett Woman’s Book Group.  I’ve published two adult romance short stories, a paranormal teen romance short story, and currently have a young adult romance manuscript out on submission. One of the questions which often arises is: What is the difference between writing romance for adults and writing romance for teens? Besides the voice (when writing for teens, there is much more of immediacy in the writing voice. We feel as if we are peering into a teen’s diary or innermost thoughts), one of the main differences in writing teen romances versus adult romances is how the story ends.

When writing adult romances, the HEA (Happily Ever After) is pretty much mandatory. Yes, there are exceptions. But, most readers of romances want a happily ever after. They want to know that things are all wrapped up and everything is optimistic.

Teen romances do not necessarily have a happily ever after.  Why? In a teen romance, we are building to that epiphany moment or moment of change when the teen character realizes they are no longer the same person that they were at the beginning of the story.  The first love has changed them. That first love has helped them change in how they see the world, and how they see others. And, usually, the teen characters will find themselves pulled apart by life events. This ending of separation gives the story a bittersweet feeling at the end–much more realistic for first love.

If you want to learn more about writing romance, a great craft book to read is Leigh Michael’s On Writing Romance. Or attend a meeting of your local RWA (Romance Writers of America).


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