Writing Tips

Two Simple Questions That Will Help You Create Sensual Tension

I’ve been fully immersed in writing in the last few months. More so than usual, as I’ve essentially had to write two books in two months. (Thank you, I appreciate your condolences ? .) It’s meant that I’ve spent a lot of time creating tension between my hero and heroine. And because I write romance for a line where sex takes place behind closed doors, sensual and emotional tension take centre stage in progressing the romance. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to help further the sensual tension in your story. I share them here.

1. What are your tropes?

The main trope of your romance novel will be its primary source of tension. This is what draws your hero and heroine together, and what hooks your reader. It’s also what generates the obstacles to their happily ever after. The tension established by this will be the foundation for sensual tension.

Sensual tension is created by that inconvenient attraction your hero and heroine feel for one another.

Certain tropes are better for creating sensual tension than others. For example, falling for the boss or falling for the enemy have much higher stakes than, say, falling for a complete stranger. Of course, this depends on how you’ve set up your plot, but generally, falling for the boss could risk your livelihood. Falling for the enemy could put your entire kingdom at risk. (Yes, I am writing a royal enemies-to-lovers romance at the moment. Why do you ask?) These circumstances make fighting the attraction paramount for your heroine and hero. It will also be the next layer on the foundation for their sensual tension to build.

2. What is the setting?

Imagine you’re reading a book where the hero and heroine are on a date. Their relationship has slowly gone from enemies (or boss and employee) to friends, and is now turning romantic. They go to a carnival, where there are hundreds of people, and share their first kiss. What’s wrong with that, you might ask? Nothing. But imagine instead, that the hero and heroine are on a date at his house. They’re alone, have just enjoyed a dinner together, and have started flirting. They share their first kiss.

Which of the two scenarios do you think creates more sensual tension?

Since this is my blog post, I’m going to tell you what I think ? : the second one. Because of the setting. Since they’re at the hero’s house, they have privacy, no outside distractions, and they’re alone. This immediately makes things more intimate, and shadows the kiss with the possibility of more. Again, they’d have to fight against their attraction for each other to keep it from turning into more (in certain types of romances). And that just wouldn’t happen at a carnival.

Do you think these two factors are important to create sensual tension? Will you find these questions helpful in your own writing? Let me know in the comments, on Facebook or Twitter, and I’ll do ‘Part Two’ on how to create sensual tension next week!