My three pillars of writing sci-fi romance
The more I learn about writing, the less capable I feel. So when pulling together a sci-fi romance, my trick for NOT psyching myself out of finishing a manuscript is to stay laser-focused on three main factors:
Science fiction gives plenty of leeway for exploring character, however romance demands that the main characters grow in relation to each other as their relationship develops. But no matter the genre you’re writing, interesting characters always have flaws and shortcomings we can appreciate if not relate to. This is what inspires us to root for them for as they move towards their goals.
Any story with a “sci-fi” label on it will want elements of the fantastic. They may be overt and all-encompassing like the alien setting in Pia Manning’s Star Brides: Procured, or more subtle like the recognisably semi-contemporary setting in Alyssa Cole’s The A.I. Who Loved Me. My sci-fi office romance, It Starts with a Kiss, landed somewhere in the middle. Just remember that even in a fully realised science fiction universe, the romance must shine over and above all for a successful SFR.
The primary conflict in a romance is the relationship between your main characters. A satisfying romance typically involves a meet cute, a growing romantic connection, challenges that test their resolve to be together, and finally a happy ending. I say “typically”, but the meet cute isn’t always necessary—this may happen off the page in an office romance or friends-to-lovers type of novel.
But for your story to be considered a romance, no matter what anyone says, you need a happy ending where the main characters end up together.
It Starts with a Kiss by JL Peridot
Celeste is a talented engineer who doesn’t realize her job’s going nowhere fast. She’s a little naïve. She’ll cut code and solder cables forever as long as Owen’s around. Owen, on the other hand, knows exactly how badly things suck—he just doesn’t care. Sure, his skills aren’t what they used to be, but they’re still better than what Halcyon Aries deserves.
Then it happens. The company’s toxic management team finally cross the line. As both techies race to upgrade the station and to free the team from their oppressive contracts, they come to learn that life—and love—can only ever be what you make it.
Strap in for a steamy office romance in space, because sometimes It Starts With a Kiss!
It Starts with a Kiss is currently on sale for 99c until the end of February. Get it today.
Find more sci-fi and speculative romances in the Short Month of Fantasy, SFR & PNR Book Fair!
About JL Peridot
JL Peridot writes love letters to the future on devices from the past. Her work has appeared in HyphenPunk and Star Crossed: An Anthology of Romantic Science Fiction. In her spare time, she nerds out over cryptic crosswords, calisthenics, and mechanical keyboards. She currently resides in Boorloo (Perth, Australia) on Whadjuk Noongar country.
Visit her website at jlperidot.com for the full catalogue of her work.