Sunday, April 2, 2023

The Art of Writing Heart-Wrenching Breakup Scenes #WritersLife #WritingRomance #Author #WriteTips #WritingCommunity #BloggingCommunity

The Art of Writing Heart-Wrenching Breakup Scenes

It's been a while, but I am thrilled to announce that the Pull Up A Chair With Mon writing series is back! I'm kicking off the series with a new look and plans for a ton of new posts in the coming months. I don't think I've mentioned this here, yet, I'm writing a How To book on writing romance. It's going well and I can't wait to tell you more in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

This post is specifically aimed at romance writers, and I shall be using the pronoun “her” when referring to your readers, given that the majority of romance readers are female. 

So, let’s dive in.

Breakups can be tough, and writing them can be even tougher. But if you're looking to add real emotion to your writing, there’s no better place to start than with a good old-fashioned breakup scene. 

The key to crafting a truly heart-wrenching breakup scene, also known as the Black Moment, is to delve into your characters’ raw emotions and connect with your readers. You want your readers to feel the pain and heartbreak as if they were in the room with your characters. To achieve this, you must be willing to explore complex emotional situations and be vulnerable in your writing. Remember that it’s your character’s wound that leads to the Black Moment but it’s their fear that causes it. 

When we're going through a breakup, it's often insignificant memories that trigger emotions, such as the sound of our ex's laughter, their fragrance, or the way they used to say our name, the tender moments and all the shared fun times. By highlighting these memories, you can create a sense of intimacy between your characters and your readers. It's like you’re letting your readers in on a secret, and this can be incredibly powerful.

Have you ever noticed how movie breakup scenes often contain a lot of conflict? There's a reason these scenes are featured in movies and TV shows - they're inherently dramatic. But you don't want to rely solely on drama to carry your scene. Instead, focus on the underlying conflict between your characters. What are their true motivations? What are they really feeling? By exploring these deeper emotional layers, you can create a sense of tension that will keep your reader on the edge of her seat. 

Of course, dialogue is also incredibly important in a breakup scene. This is where your characters can really let loose and say what's on their minds – you know, the internal conflicts they’ve been fighting the entire book. Like, “I knew I could never trust you, you’re just like every other man who’s ever let me down.” Or, from the hero’s POV, “I need a woman who prioritises me over her career.” But again, you don't want to rely solely on melodramatic dialogue to get your point across. Maybe focus on the subtext - what your characters aren't saying is often just as important as what they are saying. By using dialogue to reveal your characters' innermost thoughts and feelings, you can create a sense of emotional depth.

To make your breakup scene more impactful, there are certain techniques you can employ. For instance, utilizing flashbacks can be effective in showcasing your characters’ journey toward the breakup. By revealing the history of their relationship, you can create a sense of nostalgia and regret that will really tug at your readers' heartstrings. However, it is important to exercise caution and not go overboard with flashbacks, as excessive use may cause confusion and disrupt the flow of the scene.

Another technique is to use sensory language to create a vivid sense of place. Where is your breakup scene taking place? What does the environment look like? What sounds and smells are present? By using sensory language, you can create a fully-realised setting that will immerse your readers in the moment.

And what about visceral reactions and sensations? How is your character feeling this breakup on a physical level? Maybe the character is feeling a deep, throbbing pain or tightness in the chest or stomach that’s overwhelming and all-consuming. 

It's important not to shy away from trying out different structures when writing breakup scenes. You can mix up the timeline, change the pacing, and even switch perspectives to make the scene more interesting and unpredictable. By breaking some traditional writing rules, you can generate a sense of excitement and suspense that will capture your readers' attention.

There you have it – the art of writing heart-wrenching breakup scenes. Remember, the key is to tap into your characters’ raw emotions. In doing so, you will also make your readers feel those emotions and your love story will stay with her long after she’s turned the last page. 

But remember, when writing a breakup scene, it’s important to consider certain factors. It isn’t necessary to make every breakup scene overly emotional and dramatic, as it should align with the tone and message of your story. Avoid forcing your characters into a breakup just for the sake of the scene.

Be careful not to rely too heavily on cliches. We've all seen the classic breakup scene where one character says "it's not you, it's me," or the other character dramatically slams the door on their way out. While these can be effective in small doses, overusing cliches can make your scene stale and unoriginal.

Finally, make sure your breakup scene serves a purpose within the larger context of your story. It needs to be a turning point for your characters and it should reveal something new about your hero’s and heroine’s motivations, wants, and needs. By tying your breakup scene into the larger themes of your romance story, you can ensure a lasting impact on your readers.

It is true, writing a heart-wrenching breakup scene can be a challenging, but rewarding, experience. My advice would be to recall your worst breakup and utilize your personal experience of heartbreak to fuel your imagination. Harness those intense emotions and go forth and write compelling breakup scenes that will leave your reader thirsty for more!

Close [x]


  1. This is so useful! Such a lot of information in one post--Copying and pasting--and will definitely be back for more :)

  2. I'm thrilled you got something out of the post, Janet. Thank you so much for visiting :)

  3. Such great advice. You are so good at writing emotional, angsty, passionate romnce. This is fabulous!


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I greatly appreciate it! :) :)