Love is a universal language, yet when it comes to putting it into words, many of us find ourselves tongue-tied.
Here is how to describe in writing:
Describe love in writing by capturing emotional depth, using vivid and sensory details, incorporating unique metaphors and comparisons, exploring the complexities and nuances of love, and expressing love through actions and dialogue. Connect love to the plot and theme of the story.
In this guide, you’ll learn 21 top-notch tips and examples that will help you write about love like a pro.
1. The Tip of the Iceberg Technique
When expressing love in writing, you don’t have to spill all the beans at once.
In fact, it’s often more powerful to leave something to the reader’s imagination. This technique involves alluding to the depth of your character’s emotions without spelling everything out.
It creates an air of mystery and makes your readers want to delve deeper into your character’s feelings.
For instance, your character might not declare his love directly.
But his actions, the way he looks at the person he loves, or the things he sacrifices for her, all speak volumes about his feelings.
The best part is, your readers will feel like they’re discovering these emotions alongside your character.
Often, this makes the experience even more impactful.
Example: He didn’t say anything. But he held her hand, his thumb tracing her knuckles in a silent confession.
2. The Show-Don’t-Tell Rule
We’ve all heard it a thousand times – show, don’t tell.
When it comes to writing about love, this rule is especially crucial. Telling your readers that your characters are in love is like giving them a summary of a movie – it’s informative, but it doesn’t evoke any emotions.
Showing, on the other hand, involves your readers and makes them feel like they’re part of the story.
When you ‘show’ love, you’re painting a picture with your words.
You’re creating a scene that readers can visualize, pulling them into your character’s world.
This can involve showing your characters’ actions, their body language, the way they speak, and their reactions.
Example: Instead of saying, “John was in love with Sarah,” you could write, “John’s heart fluttered every time Sarah walked into the room. Her laugh was his favorite sound, and he found himself doing silly things just to hear it.”
3. The Heart-in-Mouth Technique
This tip is all about creating suspense in your love story.
When you keep your readers on the edge of their seats, they’re more likely to be engaged and invested in your characters’ love story.
The Heart-in-Mouth Technique involves building tension between your characters, creating conflicts and hurdles they have to overcome, and then finally giving them (and your readers) the relief of resolution.
This technique doesn’t just apply to romantic novels or stories.
It can be used in any genre where love plays a significant role.
Remember, the key is to build anticipation and suspense, so when the love is finally expressed or reciprocated, it feels like a big payoff for your readers.
Example: The room was filled with people, but all he could see was her. Their eyes met across the room, a silent conversation passing between them. But as he began to make his way towards her, a man stepped in, sweeping her onto the dance floor. His heart sank, but he couldn’t look away.
4. The Whisper-in-the-Ear Method
Instead of loud, grand gestures of love, this method focuses on the quiet, almost unnoticed expressions of love that often speak louder than words.
These could be little things your characters do for each other, their shared glances, or even their unspoken understanding.
The Whisper-in-the-Ear Method can make your love story feel more realistic and relatable.
In real life, love isn’t always about the big, dramatic moments.
It’s about the little things, the day-to-day acts of kindness and understanding that show someone you care about them.
Example: She woke up to the smell of fresh coffee. He was already up, like always. She found him in the kitchen, humming to himself as he made breakfast. “Morning,” he said, his eyes crinkling at the corners. She didn’t need a “I love you” to know that he did.
5. The Behind-Closed-Doors Technique
Another effective technique for writing about love is to hint at what happens behind closed doors.
This doesn’t mean you have to get explicit or graphic (unless you want to, of course).
It simply means suggesting intimacy between your characters without revealing everything.
This allows your readers to fill in the blanks with their own imagination, which can make your love story even more engaging.
The Behind-Closed-Doors Technique adds a sense of realism to your love story, because in real life, not every moment of a relationship is visible to others.
It also adds depth to your characters and their relationship.
You want to show that their love goes beyond what’s visible on the surface.
Example: They disappeared into the room, his hand never leaving hers. The door closed behind them, leaving the rest of the world outside. When they emerged hours later, their eyes held a secret glow only they understood.
6. The Push-and-Pull Dynamic
Love isn’t always smooth sailing – it’s full of ups and downs, conflicts and resolutions.
The Push-and-Pull Method involves creating tension and release in your love story, which keeps your readers engaged and invested in your characters’ relationship.
It’s like a dance, where your characters move towards each other, then away, then back again, creating a dynamic, compelling love story.
Conflict is crucial to any story, and love stories are no exception.
Your characters might argue, have misunderstandings, face external challenges, or deal with their own internal struggles.
The key is to resolve these conflicts in a satisfying way that strengthens their relationship.
Example: They argued, yes. There were days when they couldn’t stand each other. But every disagreement was followed by a reconciliation that brought them closer than before. It was like watching two magnets, pushing and pulling until they finally clicked into place.
7. The Subtext-is-Everything Technique
This technique is all about what’s unsaid, rather than what’s said.
It’s the hidden meanings, the secret messages, and the unspoken emotions that make your love story more engaging and realistic.
The Subtext-is-Everything Technique involves showing your characters’ feelings through their actions, their body language, and their dialogues.
Subtext adds depth and complexity to your characters and their relationship.
By using subtext, you allow your readers to dig deeper into your characters’ emotions and understand them on a deeper level.
Example: She looked away, but not before he caught the flicker of longing in her eyes. “You should go,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. But her hand lingered on his arm, a silent plea for him to stay.
8. The Less-is-More Method
Often when writing about love, the temptation is to over-explain and over-describe.
However, the beauty of the Less-is-More Method is that it relies on simplicity and understatement.
This can make your expressions of love more powerful because it doesn’t feel forced or overdone.
This approach requires precise language, carefully chosen details, and meaningful gestures.
This method is a bit like cooking a gourmet meal – you don’t need a ton of ingredients, just a few high-quality ones used well.
It’s about focusing on the essential aspects of your characters’ love and presenting them in a clear, effective way.
Example: He looked at her, really looked at her, for the first time. And in that moment, he knew.
9. The Echo Effect
Repetition, when used correctly, can add depth and resonance to your love story.
The Echo Effect involves repeating certain phrases, gestures, or scenes to emphasize your characters’ feelings.
This technique can help your readers remember and connect with your characters’ love story on a deeper level.
Just like in music, where a recurring melody or lyric can evoke strong emotions, in writing, the Echo Effect can create a powerful emotional impact.
It creates a pattern that your readers recognize and anticipate, adding a layer of depth to your love story.
Example: He noticed it the first time they met – the way she tucked her hair behind her ear when she was nervous. He saw it again on their first date, and then again when he told her he loved her. It was a silent echo of their journey, a testament to their shared moments.
10. The Shared-Secret Technique
The Shared-Secret Technique is all about creating a bond between your characters that only they understand.
This could be an inside joke, a shared experience, or a secret they keep together.
This technique can make your characters’ relationship feel unique and special, adding depth and intimacy to your love story.
This technique works well because it not only strengthens the bond between your characters but also creates a connection between your characters and your readers.
Your readers feel like they’re part of the secret, which can make them more invested in your characters’ love story.
Example: Every year on their anniversary, they would go back to the same little coffee shop where they first met. It wasn’t fancy, but it was their place, their little secret corner of the world.
11. The Emotional-Rollercoaster Method
The Emotional-Rollercoaster Method is all about creating a wide range of emotions in your love story.
It’s not just about the happy moments, but also the sad, tense, and even frustrating ones.
This technique can make your love story more realistic and engaging, as it mirrors the ups and downs of real-life relationships.
By creating a mix of emotions, you can keep your readers on their toes and make them feel more involved in your characters’ love story.
Even negative emotions can create a strong impact and make the happy moments even more satisfying.
Example: Their love was a tumultuous symphony – full of passionate crescendos, heartbreaking solos, and soft, tender interludes. It wasn’t perfect, but it was real, and it was theirs.
12. The Love-Is-in-the-Details Approach
The Love-Is-in-the-Details Approach involves focusing on the small, seemingly insignificant details of your characters’ relationship.
This could be the way they look at each other, their little habits and quirks, or the small acts of kindness they do for each other.
This technique can make your love story feel more intimate and personal, showing your characters’ love in a subtle, nuanced way.
Remember, sometimes the smallest details can have the biggest impact.
By focusing on these details, you can show your characters’ love in a more nuanced and authentic way.
Example: He knew just how she liked her coffee – two sugars, a dash of milk, and exactly seven minutes to cool down. It was a small thing, but it was one of the many ways he showed her he cared.
13. The Soul-Gazing Technique
The Soul-Gazing Technique is all about creating a deep, emotional connection between your characters.
This involves showing your characters understanding each other on a deeper level, beyond surface-level attraction or compatibility.
This technique can make your love story more impactful, showing a love that goes beyond the physical.
Creating this kind of emotional depth can involve showing your characters’ vulnerability, their shared experiences, or their mutual understanding and empathy.
It’s about showing that they ‘get’ each other on a level that no one else does.
Example: They sat in silence, but it wasn’t awkward. It was comfortable, intimate. They didn’t need words to understand each other – a look, a touch, a shared smile was enough.
14. The Dance-of-Words Method
This method is all about using your words to create a sort of dance between your characters.
Like a well-choreographed dance, a well-written love scene involves rhythm, pacing, and a balance between tension and release.
It’s about creating a back-and-forth dialogue or interaction that mirrors a dance.
The Dance-of-Words Method can make your love story feel dynamic and engaging.
The key is to find the right rhythm for your characters and your story, to create a love scene that feels natural and fluid.
Example: They spoke in hushed whispers, their words intertwining like dancers in a ballet. A compliment here, a tease there, a shared laugh, a shared silence. It was their own private dance, a testament to their love.
15. The Love-Is-A-Journey Approach
Love, like a journey, is full of twists and turns, ups and downs, and unexpected detours.
The Love-Is-A-Journey Approach involves treating your characters’ love story as a journey, with its own challenges, milestones, and transformations.
This approach can make your love story more engaging and relatable.
It mirrors the complexities and uncertainties of real-life love.
By treating love as a journey, you can show your characters growing and evolving together, strengthening their bond and deepening their love.
Example: Their love was not a destination, but a journey. A winding path with unexpected twists and turns, breathtaking views and steep climbs. But they walked it together, hand in hand, cherishing every step of the way.
16. The Love-Letters Technique
Sometimes, the most powerful expressions of love come in written form.
The Love-Letters Technique involves using letters, notes, or other written communication as a way to express your characters’ love.
This can add a touch of nostalgia and romance to your love story, as well as allow your characters to express their feelings in a more intimate, personal way.
This technique is versatile and can be adapted to fit your story.
Your characters could exchange love letters, leave each other sweet notes, or even write in a shared diary or journal.
Example: He found the note on the kitchen table, her neat handwriting bringing a smile to his face. “See you tonight, love. P.S. Don’t forget to water the plants!” It was a small thing, but it reminded him of the love they shared.
17. The Language-of-Love Method
This method is all about using language and dialogue to express your characters’ love.
This doesn’t necessarily mean using flowery or overly romantic language.
Instead, it’s about using language that feels authentic and natural to your characters, whether that’s sweet and tender, playful and teasing, or deep and philosophical.
The Language-of-Love Method can make your love story feel more authentic and relatable.
It shows your characters’ unique way of expressing their love.
Example: She didn’t say “I love you” in so many words. But when she said “Take care,” “Drive safe,” or “Did you eat?” he heard the unspoken words of love in every sentence.
18. The Love-Is-A-Battlefield Approach
Love can sometimes feel like a battlefield, full of conflicts, challenges, and triumphs.
The Love-Is-A-Battlefield Approach involves treating your characters’ love story as a battle, with its own victories, losses, and strategies.
This approach can add drama and tension to your love story, making it more engaging and exciting.
By treating love as a battlefield, you can show your characters fighting for their love, overcoming obstacles, and emerging victorious against all odds.
Example: Their love was not easy. It was a battle, a constant fight against distance, time, and their own fears. But they fought bravely, tirelessly, because they knew their love was worth every struggle.
19. The Magic-in-Mundane Technique
This technique is all about finding the magic in the mundane – showing your characters’ love in everyday, ordinary moments.
This could be a shared meal, a morning routine, or a quiet evening at home.
The Magic-in-Mundane Technique can make your love story feel more relatable and realistic, showing that love isn’t just about the big, dramatic moments.
But also the small, everyday ones.
Example: It was an ordinary Tuesday evening. They sat on the couch, her feet in his lap, a movie playing in the background. He looked at her, her eyes sparkling with laughter, and he thought, this, this is love.
20. The Through-The-Eyes-Of-Love Technique
This technique involves showing your characters and their world through the eyes of love.
This means showing how your character sees the person they love.
Also, how they notice things that others don’t and how they cherish their shared moments and memories.
The Through-The-Eyes-Of-Love Technique can create a more intimate and personal perspective of your love story.
Example: To the world, she was just a girl. But to him, she was the world. He saw the beauty in her flaws, the strength in her vulnerability, the grace in her every move. Through his eyes, she was not just a girl, but a masterpiece of love.
21. The Love-in-Action Method
The Love-in-Action Method involves showing your characters’ love through their actions.
This means showing how your characters express their love, not just through words, but through their actions, decisions, and sacrifices.
The method can make your love story more powerful and impactful.
It shows that love is not just a feeling, but a choice, a commitment, a daily act of kindness and care.
Example: He didn’t say “I love you” often. But when he picked her up from work when it was raining, when he cooked her favorite meal after a long day, when he held her close during the thunderstorms, his actions spoke louder than any words.
How to Describe Love at First Sight
Describing love at first sight can be tricky, as it involves capturing a moment of instant attraction and connection.
To effectively portray this, focus on the details that made your characters fall for each other.
Describe the physical attributes, mannerisms, or other characteristics that caught their attention.
Try to depict the rush of emotions that accompany such a moment, from surprise and intrigue to excitement and longing.
Example: From across the crowded room, their eyes met. He was drawn in by her radiant smile, the way her eyes sparkled with joy, the effortless grace with which she moved. It was like a lightning strike, a sudden realization that shook him to his core. He didn’t know her, not yet, but he knew he wanted to.
How to Describe Unrequited Love
Unrequited love is a theme full of raw and intense emotions – longing, heartbreak, and sometimes even hope.
When describing unrequited love, delve into your character’s feelings and desires, exploring the depth of their affection for the person they can’t have.
Showcase the bittersweet nature of their love, the struggle between holding on and letting go.
Example: He loved her, but not in the way she loved him. Her love was like a blazing fire, burning brightly and fiercely. His love was more like a gentle breeze, comforting yet elusive. She yearned for him, dreamt of him, even as she knew that her feelings were unreciprocated.
Words to Describe Love
When learning how to describe love in writing, it’s helpful to have a list of words for reference.
Here are some of the best words to describe love:
Phrases to Describe Love
Consider the following phrases for describing love in writing:
- Head over heels
- Love is in the air
- Crazy in love
- Love against all odds
- Love at first sight
- The look of love
- Falling deeply in love
- A burning passion
- The language of love
- Lost in each other’s eyes
- Love knows no bounds
- The power of love
- A heart full of love
- A love that defies description
- A timeless love
- An unspoken bond
- Love that takes your breath away
- A love written in the stars
- A love that stands the test of time
- The depth of their love
Here is a great (and fun) video about how not to describe love in writing – which is just as important to know:
Final Thoughts: How to Describe Love in Writing
Ultimately, describing love in writing is about balancing all the narrative elements of a story.
It’s not easy but it is an incredible way to bring your characters and your story to life. I hope this guide helps you create an epic love that readers ship and swoon over for years.