The Wattpad content team is here to talk more about our newest endeavor: verticals. As a reminder, verticals are our new way of publishing stories that help improve both the writer and reader experience by branding them through clearly defined categories. Today, we're here to go more in-depth about a vertical that we are super excited about: LGBTQ+ romance.
With LGBTQ+ romance, readers are looking for stories that resonate with them and that explore themes or relationship dynamics, even if they are different from their own experiences. The romance, sexual relationships, and character personalities are what will draw readers in. There are certain expectations that a reader will likely have when starting an LGBTQ+ romance story, so be aware of the following when writing a story in this vertical.
LGBTQ+ characters with agency
Of course an LGBTQ+ romance will need to have LGBTQ+ characters, but it is also important to ensure that these characters have agency. Readers want to see characters that feel real and are capable of making their own choices in their story.
Allow your characters to embrace imperfect decisions, as they can be crucial in introducing conflict to your story. Readers look for characters that feel human, which entails making occasional mistakes that align with their circumstances and instincts.
With LGBTQ+ stories, it is important to consider all aspects of your characters' identities and how that will affect their interactions with one another and the story arc. For example, a white cisgender gay man is going to have a much different lived experience than an indigenous two-spirit person. Of course, their experiences should be accurately reflected in the story.
Readers of the LGBTQ+ romance vertical are expecting a story that can reflect the various lived experiences of those in the LGBTQ+ community. To captivate readers, be sure to incorporate themes that allow you to explore the complexities within each character. A few themes to consider exploring include coming out, transitioning, and/or coming to terms with the character's own sexuality and gender identity.
Creating well-developed intersectional characters will make your story feel more genuine and engaging to your readers.
A story with stakes
Engaging stories need to have a good mix of internal and external conflicts in order to maintain a reader's interest. It is important to ensure the conflicts you introduce, and the frequency with which they occur, match the tone of a romance story. When it comes to romance, be sure to balance any conflicts your leads have with moments that remind your readers how much the characters care for one another. Always make them believe that a happy ending is still possible.
To learn more about incorporating conflict into your story, learn about the Storycoaster.
A happy ending
While it is important to have conflicts in your story, an LGBTQ+ romance will still need a happy ending; it's a requirement of any romance genre!
Remember: This happy ending does not have to be solidified too quickly, especially if you're writing a serialized story. It is, however, important that every season of your story ends with a clear hint that a happy ending will come for your characters.
Now that you're aware of reader expectations for the LGBTQ+ romance vertical, explore these stories that Wattpad readers are loving:
- When Mary Met Halley by FairlyLocalTreehouse
- For The Camera by writing00introvert
- The Moonlight Cafe by rebeccarightnow
- Running From the Past by hudsonmillerr
- Painting the Bad Girl's Portrait by uvonnewrites
Want to learn about how a story is chosen for an opportunity? Visit our help center to learn about Wattpad Paid Stories Verticals.