There’s lots of guides out there about how to write romance. One of my favorites is Jami Gold’s romance beat sheet, which single-handedly taught me how a romance works.
But there’s other ways to write a romance. When I was studying Song of Solomon one year, I realized that I could use a lot of this material as a pattern to really amp up my own writing.
First off, I’m using the Amplified translation, because it has all kinds of stage directions and explanations in it that make it even hotter. Let’s take a look:
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! [she cries. Then, realizing that Solomon has arrived and has heard her speech, she turns to him and adds] For your love is better than wine!3 [And she continues] The odor of your ointments is fragrant; your name is like perfume poured out. Therefore do the maidens love you.4 Draw me! We will run after you! The king brings me into his apartments! We will be glad and rejoice in you! We will recall [when we were favored with] your love, more fragrant than wine. The upright [are not offended at your choice, but sincerely] love you.
I am so black; but [you are] lovely and pleasant [the ladies assured her]. O you daughters of Jerusalem, [I am as dark] as the tents of [the Bedouin tribe] Kedar, like the [beautiful] curtains of Solomon!6 [Please] do not look at me, [she said, for] I am swarthy. [I have worked out] in the sun and it has left its mark upon me. My stepbrothers were angry with me, and they made me keeper of the vineyards; but my own vineyard [my complexion] I have not kept.7 [Addressing her shepherd, she said] Tell me, O you whom my soul loves, where you pasture your flock, where you make it lie down at noon. For why should I [as I think of you] be as a veiled one straying beside the flocks of your companions?
8 If you do not know [where your lover is], O you fairest among women, run along, follow the tracks of the flock, and [amuse yourself by] pasturing your kids beside the shepherds’ tents.
O my love [he said as he saw her], you remind me of my [favorite] mare in the chariot spans of Pharaoh.10 Your cheeks are comely with ornaments, your neck with strings of jewels.11 We will make for you chains and ornaments of gold, studded with silver.
[SHE SAID] I am only a little rose or autumn crocus of the plain of Sharon, or a [humble] lily of the valleys [that grows in deep and difficult places].2 But Solomon replied, Like the lily among thorns, so are you, my love, among the daughters.3 Like an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved [shepherd] among the sons [cried the girl]! Under his shadow I delighted to sit, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.4 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love [for love waved as a protecting and comforting banner over my head when I was near him].
[Vividly she pictured it] The voice of my beloved [shepherd]! Behold, he comes, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills. [John 10:27.]9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young hart. Behold, he stands behind the wall of our house, he looks in through the windows, he glances through the lattice.
10 My beloved speaks and says to me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.11 For, behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing [of birds] has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.13 The fig tree puts forth and ripens her green figs, and the vines are in blossom and give forth their fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.14 [So I went with him, and when we were climbing the rocky steps up the hillside, my beloved shepherd said to me] O my dove, [while you are here] in the seclusion of the clefts in the solid rock, in the sheltered and secret place of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.15 [My heart was touched and I fervently sang to him my desire] Take for us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards [of our love], for our vineyards are in blossom.
16 [She said distinctly] My beloved is mine and I am his! He pastures his flocks among the lilies. [Matt. 10:32; Acts 4:12.]17 [Then, longingly addressing her absent shepherd, she cried] Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away, return hastily, O my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young hart as you cover the mountains [which separate us].
- Self-deprecation (I’m not worthy! What does the other person possibly see in me?)
- Adoration of the other person (he’s so wonderful! She’s so wonderful!)
- The lattices and little foxes that keep them apart.