How to Write a Bad (Teen) Romance: The Magic Formula

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Write down all of your personality traits. Give all of your unattractive qualities to your protagonist, and all your attractive qualities to the love interest. Make both characters beautiful. Make one a red-head, and the other some kind of supernatural creature that sparkles. Have them both be immediately attracted to each other for no reason other than their mutual beauty. Neither of them may be socially awkward. The male half of the relationship must be older by one to three years and at least two inches taller than her (if he’s 18 and 6’4” and she’s 15 and 5’3” that would be excellent. No girl dates a boy her own age and height, sheesh. We like nice strong manly boys who will fight with other boys over her! Foreign accent and sparkles optional).

Then, create a dilemma that means they cannot be together (they are of different religions/socio-economic backgrounds/species. Her parents have banned her from dating. He’s gay and/or wants to suck her blood. She swore off dating for the remainder of her natural life after her parents divorced/she broke up with her first boyfriend at thirteen/because she’s just a pain.) They somehow get over their first issue (they date in secret/break their vow of celibacy/change religions), only to find a second issue (another guy who has the hots for her and is a different supernatural being/he really is gay/his mum’s dating her dad). They overcome this issue too! And a third issue! They all grow as people! They get to hook up! Life is given meaning because they are wanted by someone else! Everything conveniently wraps itself up just as the book runs out of pages!

This is how I wrote a book, people. Don’t diss the Magic Formula.*

Do you have anything to add to the Magic Formula?

*So I took some liberties with the Magic Formula when I wrote my book. The girl is older than the boy by a few months. The boy is not tall or a supernatural creature. There are no red-heads. And, okay, it’s not even really a romance. I’ve totally screwed up the Magic Formula, really.
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