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Romance scenes in fantasy: Love them or hate them?


I am curious, what does everyone think of romance scenes? Do you think they thicken the plot, are better left out, or does it depend on the characters and the type of story? I just don't want to go into this blind and totally screw up... (I am sorry if this is a foolish question, I haven't been writing that long and I'm always looking for opinions.)
I'm not entirely clear what you mean by "romance." Do you mean sex scenes? If so, then I think they serve the same purpose they do in any non-pornographic medium: a bit of titillation, a demonstration that these characters are in love (or in lust), and possible plot complications if their tryst leads to pregnancy, cuckolding, emotional attachment, etc.

If you mean something else, then please elaborate. :)


In a nutshell, yeah. However to be specific, I mean the MC having a romantic relationship with a secondary MC or Sub-main (which could lead to sex scenes). To me, it seems to make the plot more interesting and deep. That being said, I don't mean to turn my novel into a romance. I use romantic relationships in stories to spice things up and keep it interesting. I'm worried, however, about whether or not that could backfire?
Nah, there's nothing wrong with a romance subplot in fantasy. It can backfire only if you end up with people who hate romance and are expecting nothing but (e.g.) wizards throwing fireballs. Or if you overdo it, and a third of your story is the romance subplot.


So what your saying is never expect to appeal to everyone. Instead, I should write what sounds and looks good to me because chances are I won't be the only person to like it? :) (Again, I'm a newbie writer...)

Not every story will benefit from an on the page romance. For some, it may be wholly inappropriate. I can't remember any of Sir Terry Pratchett's books having a romance, if they did, it would have been (autosuggest on my phone recommends "terrible") for comedic effect.

There is a prevalence of a "sex in space" theme in modern science fiction, and I dare say that it is rearing its head in fantasy as well, under the paranormal romance subgenre. Problem is, they sell so more get written.
Maybe they sell because there is such a lack of it in the rest of the fantasy world? I can't say I care for the invasion of my book shelves by the whole teen vampire angst books. Trivial crap in my opinion, but they are being bought by teens, who are anything but anti sexual.

For each writer it is different how they approach it. Having romance is fine, but there comes a point where too many sex scenes can put you past the point of romance and into soft porn. Where is that line? That depends on the reader and publisher usually. It isn't something you should be afraid of, just aware of.


Well like I said: I'm not trying to write a romance novel, just a touch of romance to spice it up a bit. Just a small touch, I personally hate that teen Crap too. However it does give the story emotion. I'm all for blood and battle, my WIP will have plenty of that.


I think romance subplots are quite important, in fact. I believe that most people have a softer side and want, even if they won't admit it, to find someone whom they can be head-over-heels for. The complications and strong emotions involved with romance are also a great way to reveal facets of a character we may not see otherwise.

Sex scenes in particular can both be simple titillation as well as a way to explore a character's depths (I apologize, but that dirty little pun was intended...). Secrets can come out, people will confide (it's an old trope that spies used sex to get secrets!), and emotions they rarely show will come to the surface.

In a way, it is much like humor. Humor can be found in all writing, because it is a near-universal part of the human experience.
My opinion as a writer: I'm still new to writing and to be honest I haven't dared to write that kind of scene yet (but just wait till my next installment;)).

My opinion as a reader: If we are talking about a romance scene, 2 figures expressing their feelings, then it can do a lot to help build character depth (and tension). As with romance in any other genre be careful not to make it too cheesy and predictable, or you will break the atmosphere and leave the reader feeling queasy.

As for a good old steamy sex scene, go for it, haha. Your reader might be a bit shocked at first, but I'm sure they'll love it;)
I don't know about the fantasy genre specifically, but the fact is most readers are female. Most (though of course not all) female readers prefer stories with a romantic subplot. It doesn't have to be a big deal, but I think it might help a story sell. I prefer stories without sex scenes. I've heard complaints about them being there and complaints about them not being there, so that part is totally up to you as an author and depends on the target age of your audience.


Fiery Keeper of the Hat
I'm not a particular fan of sex scenes, and if they're graphic they're going to make your book harder to sell (sorry, it's true: you are targeting a much smaller audience base with lots of competition). But whatever you do, make sure it fits with the story and tone of your work. You can absolutely ruin a good thing with sex.


I think first it depends if it fits the story.
I'd first think about if it could fit, and how it would. Could it advance the plot somehow? I find that romance can both be a great part of a book, or ruin it because it seems too forced. If you're putting it in because you think it will add appeal, I'd think if it's something you really want to do.
As for sex scenes, I don't find them all that appealing, honestly. Especially in fantasy, it just really seems like it doesn't belong. It's just my opinion, but i would think before you do anything. People who like sex scenes will not be very angry if they don't find one, and people who dislike may, well, not like it.
Good luck with whatever you do.
It's not a dealbreaker for me providing that there aren't too many cheesy fantasy cliches and bad overheated prose. Err on the side of subtlety and understatement when it comes to that, is my two cents.