The most common source of tension is conflict. When characters encounter problems and obstacles, readers worry. The trouble produces anxiety about how the problem will be avoided or overcome.
But when characters encounter a love interest, it's not a problem exactly. They feel attraction or hope or longing. And tension arises from the anticipation of the union, not anxiety about trouble.
Any time you have characters who might possibly engage in a romantic or sexual encounter, you want to eke as much tension from it as you can.
Maybe you only have a single scene you want to imbue with sexual tension.
Many--perhaps most--longform stories have a romantic subplot that eventually intersects with the main plot.
Of course, if you're writing a romantic plot, the main arc of the story hinges on effective romantic tension.
This short, 6-lecture course examines how writers can imbue scenes with gripping sexual/romantic tension that gets readers turning the page in anticipation.
I’ll provide you with 10 specific methods of bringing tension into your scenes. And I’ll leave you with a scene-writing exercise and a guide for crafting successful sexual/romantic tension.
"My goal for writing love scenes is to be steamy without being salacious. In this short course, Tim helped me identify the specific components that create that steamy bond; I was then able to look at one of my love scenes, recognize what was missing, and sharpen the writing to make for maximum attraction.
"I’m always amazed that Tim can take gut-level issues and raise them to literate, reproducible consciousness. It’s evident he truly loves to help people make their work better."
Author of the award-winning What the Mirror Sees
Tim Storm (MFA, Pacific University) is an award-winning writer and teacher whose stories have appeared in a number of journals. His passion for storytelling and its inner workings informs his teaching, editing, and mentoring. He has worked with countless writers on personal essays, novels, short stories, and more. And he's been teaching since 1999.
"Tim Storm is an exceptional writing instructor. He took complex concepts and distilled them down to simple, easy-to-understand steps and ideas that motivated me and improved my writing immensely."
author of Glory Bishop
Stories in any genre can incorporate romantic and/or sexual encounters. It’s one of the most common plots in the history of human storytelling. No matter what genre you're writing in, if you have a romantic plot or subplot, you’ll want to do everything you can to get your readers hooked on that story, feeling the tension on every page.
This is not a course on the romance genre; nor is it a course on sex scenes. It is a course that gives very practical tips on how to get readers invested in and hoping for a sexual or romantic union.
Preview the first lecture in the course curriculum list above, which orients you to some of the base concepts for the in-depth and practical discussions that come later in the course.
You have 30 days to get a refund if you discover it’s not for you, so there’s nothing to lose in signing up. Check out the articles on my blog and the testimonials, and you’ll see that I mean business when it comes to the crafts of writing and storytelling.
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish. After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
There's nothing explicit in the academic analysis presented here. But this is a course that discusses the prospect of sexual unions as well as romantic ones.
As for heteronormativity, the exemplar passage is of a heterosexual couple, but there's nothing about the principles or techniques that would exclude other sexual orientations.