This is a popular trope for stories, and when it works, it works so well.
So how do you pen a fantastic romance using this trope? My thoughts are below. (As always, these are tips and tricks I’ve gleaned from reading and watching some great friends-to-lovers stories.)
*Show us that friendship.
In my opinion, for a tale to truly fit this trope, a friendship must be well-established. So show us that platonic dynamic before things get weird: Have them do everyday, non-romantic things. Make one of them talk about an ex. Show us they’re comfortable with one another.
But what if things are already awkward under the surface, because one of them is attracted to the other…or both of them are?
*Bring the awkward.
When two people are in a comfortable friendship, but there’s lingering attraction under the surface (whether new or years-long) it can get strange. Let it. Show the two friends trying to be normal, but failing. He’s noticing her body in that bathing suit all of a sudden; she’s being overly nice to his new girlfriend to hide her jealousy. That distance that the awkwardness brings helps put a crack in their friendship–which may sound undesirable, but for their relationship to evolve, it must change.
*But make it a sexy awkward, and/or a funny one.
Having this disconnect between how the two friends are acting and what’s going on beneath–a growing attraction–has also sorts of potential for awkwardness of the sexy and/or humorous variety. Make her curious what it would be like to kiss him–so much he catches her staring at his mouth and asks her why. In the quirky friends-to-lovers film What If, the character of Wallace (Daniel Radcliffe) is unable to tear his eyes away from a nearly-naked Chantry (Zoe Kazan) when she gets a too-small dress stuck on her head in a dressing room and asks for his help. Friends-to-lovers romances lend themselves to these funny, sexy scenes. Go all out.
*And still bring the feels.
Even with the funny, possibly rom-com moments as two friends fall for one another, there’s going to be a moment where they realize the depth of their feelings. Show us this emotion. Especially since these people really know each other, their connection is often deeper than two people who’ve only met weeks or months ago. Their feelings should coincide with this–especially if they sense they’re going to lose each other.
What would you add to this list of tips for writing an awesome friends-to-lovers romance?
Today concludes my look at the friends-to-lovers romance trope as part of the Romance Trope Tuesday series. In case you missed it, check out why this trope is so popular, how it works in a film, and a suggested reading list.
I’ll be back to Romance Trope Tuesday soon! Stay tuned.
You can follow this series by signing up for my mailing list (top right), subscribing to individual posts (bottom right), and/or following the hashtag #RomanceTropeTuesday on Twitter or my Facebook page.