Learning how to write your first romance novel is not as easy as one may think. Romance novels are some of the most popular fiction genres on the market, with readers of both genders eager to get their hands on the next book in their favorite series. With so many authors looking to become published, it can be difficult knowing where to start. But I’m going to provide you with a detailed how-to so you can start right here!
How To Write Romance
Identify your sub-genre
You’re going to need to identify the sub-genre of your book if you want to become a romance novel author. There are many different sub-genres of romance novels. Some titles are set in contemporary times, some are set in the past, some are set in the future, and some can be set anywhere.
This list is far from comprehensive but what you must first decide is… what are you going to write? What kind of setting are you going to be writing in?
Once you find the setting you can begin to decide on what genre would best fit that setting.
Another way to figure out what sub-genre you want to write in is to look at what you often read or watch on TV. You are more likely to know how to write what you have already seen modeled to you many times before. For your first romance novel, choose something you are already familiar with.
If, however, you want to write fantasy but have never read one before then you should start there first. Read lots of fantasy, then try your hand at writing one. If you go into a genre and haven’t read one then you won’t know what the current reader expectations are and that is likely to make your book one that readers will harshly critique in their reader reviews.
Introducing the hero and heroine
After you have decided the sub-genre you want to write in, you need to decide who are going to be your characters.
Women are the star of every romance novel (with the exception of most of the LGBTQ+ category and/or when writing about aliens, because aliens aren’t classified as ‘women’, are they?) and you need to make sure you give her life.
Some things you want to consider for your female character are:
What is her goal in life outside of falling in love?
What are her hobbies?
What is something uniquely her? (a phrase she uses, something she wears or carries around, etc)
How would her partner make her life better?
The romantic lead also needs careful crafting. You need to consider many things in regards to him too. Princes are not perfect and neither should your romantic lead be. The problems and faults and quirks of the romantic lead are what constitute drama and drama is what is entertaining.
Obstacles to their love
After you’ve decided who is going to star in your book you’ll want to jot down a few ideas on how you’re going to keep them from falling in love. As you probably know from reading many romance novels as soon as two characters fall in love and they live happily ever after the story is complete! In order to keep the pages turning from your future reader you need to place obstacles in the couple’s way.
These obstacles can be things they face together or obstacles that they tackle separate from each other. For example if there is a serial killer who is on the loose and they are working together to take him down, that’s going to put a pause on the romance. Perhaps she is the one being stalked and they each want to ensure she doesn’t become the next victim but aren’t always working together on it, though they have the same goal. Maybe she thinks that he’ll be in danger if he tries to protect her and so she keeps secrets from him. Maybe…
Maybe is a great way to get ideas out about what could happen in your story.
The climax involving the obstacle
Now that you have established the obstacle you can brainstorm your climax. How does the conflict get resolved? Why can’t it just happen? I know it seems like you have no idea what the ending is going to be, but that’s far from the case. You may have only a rough idea of how the obstacle is going to get resolved but once you’ve got your idea, you’ll be more organized in the rest of your story.
Here is a really basic example of the obstacle and then how it is resolved. An obstacle: The couple is in love and want to get married, but the woman’s ex-boyfriend has stolen the ring. The hero gets the ring back and they are married.
The magic of writing a book is how you take those two sentences and craft it into something that is breathe life when it’s read.
You can’t just make a book. You have to be able to listen to the characters and their story. You have to open your ears, your heart, and your mind. And when you do, you will find that the book you were looking for is right there in front of you.
This may seem like the easiest part of the romance novel – they get together in the end, but often this is the hardest part to write. Why? Because you’ve spent so much time with this couple and you want their ending to be special and meaningful. If you’re anything like me you want to make your reader cry happy tears that the journey is complete. So I suggest you take a few moments to think about the ending of your romance novel. Think about the obstacles, the resolution, the ending and the “why.” This could lead to a great ending for YOUR novel.
Tools for Writing Romance
There are a few basic things that you need when sitting down to write your romance.
Word Processor –
There are many available on the market and I suggest you use the one that you already have or that is already familiar to you. When I started writing in 2015 Scrivener was very popular for authors because you could use notecards and easily shift chapters and scenes around. Over the years I have moved from Scrivener to Ulysses and finally to just plain Google Docs because Google Docs makes it very easy to collaborate with beta readers and editors.
Books on How to Write Romance –
The books below are all available on Amazon and are ones that I personally have in my library and highly recommend for newer authors:
Writing a book is not for the faint of heart. It’s probably not something you will be able to finish in a week despite what some authors, bloggers and books might tell you. Writing a book, especially your first book, can take weeks, months and sometimes even more than a year. My first book took more than two years from start to publication.
This one kind of goes hand in hand with motivation. Sometimes you’re going to need some support in order to keep going with your writing journey. If you can’t get that support from someone at home then you have the whole of the internet to help you! There are lots of Facebook groups available to you as well as places like Nanowrimo.org where writers from all over the world come together to try to write 50,000 words in the month of November. They offer Camp NaNoWriMo during the year to help you stay sharp with your writing and it’s an excellent way to find other writer members in your community.
For Romance Authors specifically you can join Romance Writers of America and find a local chapter or an online chapter and get support there too. RWA is not just for published authors, but also for unpublished authors just like you!
There are four types of editing that are frequently used to improve the quality of books. First, developmental editing is when the editor does a birds eye critique of your manuscript. What is missing from your book? Were the characters fully developed? Did you drop a plot line somewhere? After that comes the line editing which is the process of reviewing the manuscript for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, word usage, consistency, and style. Second, copy editing reviews spelling and grammar with a focus on the mechanics of language. Third, proofreading reviews typographical errors and inconsistencies in layout. The last three can usually be done together for a discounted fee.
Professional Editing: What to look for in an editor
I have had a handful of editors in my writing career and the ones I’ve liked the most are the ones who thoroughly look over my story, have a good understanding of where I want my story to go, are timely in getting their work back to me, and are great communicators.
One thing you might not know is that editors will usually do a free sample of their editing skills prior to you booking their services completely. This is a great opportunity to see what an editor can do, what kind of feedback they offer and how quickly they’re able to turn their work around.
After editing your work you’ll move on to publishing. Publishing can mean trying to get it in the hands of a traditional publisher (think Harlequin) or self-publishing. If you are going into the realm of self-publishing there are two schools of thought: Kindle Unlimited Exclusive or Wide.
I personally have had most of my royalties come from Amazon but I know other authors, especially the big name ones, who do not limit themselves exclusively to Amazon’s platform.
And if you want to publish wide (ibook, Barnes and Noble, etc) then you should register on draft2digital.com. They are a one-stop shop for all things digital publishing and can even do audio and print books.
I’ve got five free printable character sheets for you today! Keep reading/scrolling to find them and their download links!
I was working on a new book with my co-author this past week and I was filling in a generic Google Doc with character information.
It wasn’t going well.
I needed to describe the guy without using lots of words.
I needed it to be short and graphic. I wanted it to be printable so that I could write on it. (I work better with paper and pencil. I know I can’t be the only one…)
I closed the Google Doc and went off to do something else to let my brain simmer on the characters a little bit.
Later that night when I was snuggling in bed with my cat I had an idea for a new character sheet. It had all the things I was looking for, I just needed to create it!
And today I’m going to give these printable character sheets to you for free!
Printable Character Sheets: Male Female Couple
Printable Character Sheets: Female Female Couple
Printable Character Sheets: Male Male Couple
Printable Character Sheets: Female Bio Sheet
Printable Character Sheets: Male Bio Sheet
Did you find these character sheets helpful? Do you want more content like this? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below or you can email me directly!
Thanks for stopping by the blog today! If you’re in the writing mood and haven’t already checked out my brand new book The Kdrama Cure then you might be missing out!
Here is what other authors are saying:
Love kdramas? Love writing love but your romance is falling flat? Then this is for you!
This is a good sort of craft book for romance but not for your story beats or outlines if that’s what you’re looking for this is more like the nuts and bolts of relationships like the touching and you know looking at each other or subtle cues that tell your readers that these two people are falling in love whether it’s huge characters strange qurks or secrets to their favorite dating spot or their favorite food this really gives you an inside look on how to make a flat romance more of a 3-D one LOL I absolutely loved it too was a very easy read and I knew all the kdrama so I was able to understand all her references really easily and the outline at the end was a huge help!
This book was useful in terms of building well rounded characters. Characters that not only have motives and wounds… but fears, hobbies, secrets, and well rounded family members/friends. This book gave plenty of examples using popular Kdramas.
A great book! I totally recommend it to any romance writers. It will give you a new way to look at your craft and to build your characters and romance arcs. I have started a new story and applying the advice from this book and it has helped me to plan the outline of my next romance more easily than usual. It looks me 3 days to plan the volume 1 of my 2 books series. Normally, it takes me around two weeks to be able to “see” the story in my mind. It definitely gives me the missing clue in my writing process.
Over the past month I’ve been avoiding doing my work. I love my work, I’m passionate about Kdramas and helping writers to unlock the secrets that they hold, and yet… I’m avoiding doing it. Has this happened to you? I had a good think and realized I have a writer mindset problem. Maybe you have a writer mindset problem too.
Writer Mindset Secret 1
Don’t compare yourself to others.
As an author it’s very easy to “see” how our peers are doing. We can go to Amazon and look them up and see their ranking. This number can easily give us a gauge of how “well” we’re doing. But what does this number do to our writer mindset?
Imagine Nora Roberts went to sit down and write her next book. Before she did so, though she went to Facebook and saw Diana Gabaldon’s book sitting at number one. She went down the list of top 100 Romances and she couldn’t find her books anywhere.
If Nora Roberts had the mindset I find myself in most of the time her “inner mean girl” would think these things:
Am I writing in the wrong niche?
Do I need to take more craft classes?
What is Diana doing for her marketing? How much does she spend on her ads?
How man fans does she have?
What do her readers not like about her book?
Do I do these things that her readers don’t like?
It would go on and on and guess what happens next? You’ve spent countless minutes worrying about your sales and comparing yourself to Diana Gabaldon. You’re not Diana Gabaldon and you don’t have to be!
Mindset Secret #1: Stop comparing yourself to others. You are on your own path surrounded by your own set of circumstances. You have a backstory unlike anyone else’s. You see the world differently than anyone else. You are not #InsertNameHere and that’s GREAT!
How boring would the world be if we only had one romance author voice? Your voice counts too. Use it!
How to Do It: (Simple, not easy)
Take note of when you’re comparing yourself to someone else.
Reframe your mindset. Instead of saying, “I wish I had as many sales as she does.” Think: “Wow, Diana G is rocking it today! Good for her!”
Accept your feelings. If that comparison has already come in and made you feel crappy, accept it. “I accept that comparing myself to Diana G made me feel sad.” Feel the feeling and then move on to something on your to-do list.
The only one you should be competing with is yourself. Can you do better than you did with your last word count? Your last book release? Can you improve your characters on this next draft?
Writer Mindset Secret 2
Do not insist on perfection.
Perfectionism. Do you suffer from it?
How many of these do you answer yes to?
When you release a book, do you focus solely on your sales numbers more than the fact that you spent months to create a glorious piece of art?
If you try something new and you’re not good at it, do you give up?
When your editor tells you that something needs fixing does that feel like a personal attack?
When you finish a book and a reader points out a typo does it make you feel like a complete failure?
Do you struggle to finish your book because you’re afraid it isn’t perfect and ready to be shared?
If you answered yes to more than one of these it’s very likely you have some perfectionism mindset issues. No judgements! And if you’re a woman it’s very likely you do! Why? Society.
We women are expected to do everything and look magazine-ready while doing it. You “should” be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect housekeeper, the perfect daughter, the perfect friend and have a perfect career to boot. And on top of that you should have the perfect diet, the perfect fitness routine and look perfectly put together at all times.
This bleeds over into our writing work as well. Should you slap a book together and release it without a care? I mean, you can. Maybe it would be freeing for you. But you cannot expect your books to be perfect. Nothing – and I mean nothing – in this world is perfect. You included. (Me too!)
So how do you overcome this mindset issue?
Identify what perfectionism is costing you. How many more stories could you get out there to your readers if you could get past your perfectionism editing time? How much more time would you have for writing if you delegated your household duties to someone else? Or (*gasp*) let the house stay a little dirtier for longer?
Play the “What would it mean?”game. Original Thought: My book sucks. What would it mean if your book sucks? If my book sucks then that means I won’t get many sales. What would it mean if don’t get many sales? It would mean that I’m not good enough to be publishing my work. (The underlined phrase is the root of the issue. This is your fear.)
Identify and own your flaws. Your characters have flaws, so why do you think you shouldn’t? Do you hate your characters because of their flaws? No! In fact it’s usually the opposite. Flaws humanize our characters and we can then sympathize with them. No one is perfect. Once you have your list mark which ones are changeable flaws and which ones aren’t. Stop expending energy wishing away flaws that cannot (or will not) be changed.
Write yourself a kind letter. This one is my favorite and I do it on a smaller scale every day. I’ll write myself little love notes. The things I want others to say about me. Why does it mean less if it comes from me? Write words of encouragement to yourself on post-its and hang them all around. Send emails to yourself and schedule them for your release day, or when you know it’s going to be tough for you.
Writer Mindset Secret 3
Don’t let self doubt keep you stuck.
This one is very firmly me. Self doubt is a huge monster. I self doubt myself all the time. Should I wear this or this? Should I write this or this? Am I doing the right thing? Is this a mistake?
What happens when you doubt your own thoughts all the time?
A 2002 study found that self doubt can lead to a greater need for approval from external sources, lower self-esteem, higher rates of anxiety and depression and procrastination.
How can you fix it?
Be Aware of Your Emotions Emotions can influence your thoughts. Be aware and begin to label your thoughts if you notice self-doubt taking control. Practice saying, “Okay I’m feeling ______ right now so I might be ________.” Emotions are not bad or good. They just are. Recognize them and accept them first. Then try to separate them from reality.
Become a Detective When you feel you have a self-doubt statement coming out, (I am a failure as an author), write down a two column list of evidence. Column One: Evidence I am a failure as an author & Column Two: Evidence I am NOT a failure as an author. When you are finished look at the lists and figure out if that self-doubt statement is valid or not.
Play Worst-Case Scenario When you’re stuck writing your book or you aren’t sure if you should publish it or (like me) you feel that putting yourself on Youtube is a huge mistake play the worst-case scenario game. “What’s the worst case scenario if I ____?” For me the worst case scenario if I put myself on Youtube is that no one will watch the channel. Or some trolls are mean. Then ask yourself, is that something you can deal with? Will it kill you? You can handle a lot. Don’t be afraid of rejection, criticism or failure. Just keep trying!
Know that a little Self-Doubt is Okay If you’re 100% confident all the time that can be worse. Having some self-doubt is perfectly normal. Accept and embrace that BUT keep moving forward. “I’m feeling some self-doubt around writing today, but I’m going to set a timer and try to write for fifteen minutes anyway. Progress, not perfection.”
Putting It All Together
The beauty of writer mindset is that it’s all within your power to control. There are things that you can actively do to switch it from one that is hindering you to one that is helping you.
I’ve been working with my mindset for nearly three years now and it’s still a battle – why wouldn’t it be? I’ve learned and been practicing negative mindset for thirty plus years! Remember that your life is a journey, not a destination. Any time you’re unhappy with the direction you are headed you have the power to change it. Am I promising that it will be easy and happy and rainbows? Nope, but it is your choice. That is your power.
I hope this article was helpful! If you want more ideas on how to get past your writer’s block you can find them in my latest book: The Kdrama Cure. Want to read more writing tips? Check out my other blog posts.
What happens in the first episode of a K-Drama…Um… a lot! Just like when writing a novel there is a lot of character setup within the first episode of K-Dramas too. This week I’m looking at the K-drama Her Private Life.
Table of Contents (Just in case you’re in a hurry!)
A dedicated professional, Sung Deok Mi lives for her work as an art gallery curator. Devoting herself to her work, she is exceptional in every way, save one. Beneath that cool, professional facade, Deok Mi carries a dark secret. A secret she desperately wants to keep from the world. A secret that has driven lovers away. A secret that rules every moment of her personal life… Sung Deok Mi is the ultimate Cha Shi An fangirl. The devoted manager of a Shi An fansite, Deok Mi eats, breathes, and sleeps for Shi An. He is her sun, her moon. Her entire universe revolves around him. This is the secret Deok Mi must hide from the world. And hide it she does. At least until Ryan Gold, the art gallery’s new director, saunters into her life. A once famous painter, the former artist turned director considers himself an indifferent being, unconcerned with the lives of others. But when he uncovers Deok Mi’s secret, everything changes.
Just by reading the synopsis we learn some things about these characters.
Deok Mi’s career. Her dark secret: being a fan girl. We also know what Ryan Gold does and that eventually he will discover her secret.
Here is what I also learned from episode one:
K-drama Character One: Heroine, Seong Deok Mi
Art gallery curator (ep 1)
Kpop Fan Girl (ep 1)
Overlooked at work (ep 1)
Problems: Her boss wants only the best artists while she wants new artists (similarly the hero looks for new art as well).
Secret From Family – Her fangirling apartment. She hasn’t let her mom see how bad her obsession is.
As soon as she returns from China Her boss is being indicted for embezzlement. She and her boss are taken to the police station for questioning.
When she goes to tell her boss she’s going to quit, her boss lets her know that Seong is being promoted to director and the boss is resigning.
Seong discovers that she is NOT the new director. She also discovers the new job was already taken by someone else. She’s stuck.
K-drama Character Two; Hero (Ryan Gold)
Art collector/critic (ep 1)
Artist with block (ep 1)
Seeing a therapist (ep 1)
Problems: He cannot paint, he has a block. The idol loves art and has the painting Ryan needs in his collection.
MISUNDERSTANDING Ep 1 – He thinks that the BFF is at the hotel to meet with her lover (a woman) and that’s why it’s hard for them to meet up. He sees the BFF cuddling up and giggling with Seong not knowing the two of them are fangirling over Si An, the idol.
In the hotel bar bathroom he chastises himself for being a douche and assuming she was lying. To make up for it he gives up the suite.
Side character: Heroine’s Mom
(You could have become an artist if you hadn’t gone to see that idol and broken your arm.) < backstory without flashback
Obsessed with knitting. Her husband was obsessed with rock collecting (therefore their daughter was bound to be obsessed with something too and that something was Kpop bands) SHOWING FAMILY THREADS/GENETICS
Side Character: Her Brother, Eun Gi
Warns her about keeping her fangirling secret from their mom
Brother knows the passcode to her house (Idol’s birthday or Idol’s debut date)
He left his sneakers at her house. (The reason why is his secret)
Side Character: Ryan’s Therapist
(I think the key to you not being able to paint has something to do with that painting. We need to get it back)
Side Character: The idol
Loves art (ep 1)
Collects art (ep 1)
Heroine FanGirls over him (ep 1)
Heroine wants to gift him something for his birthday and on a video he says he really wants the original painting with bubbles. (Ryan has this painting)
Side Characters: Heroine’s Co-worker Girl and Boy
They talk to each other about how heroine is under appreciated. (Mouthpiece – Ep 1)
Side Character: Seon Joo (Seong’s best friend)
Seong drinks soju and unloads on her friend about the work situation. (We learn more about Seong who says she loves hanging paintings that move people)
Shows friendship when Seon Joo cries bc Seong is crying
When Seong is having a job interview another character asks if Seong is on a blind date. Through Seon Joo we learn that Seong doesn’t date.
After bitching about losing the job Seon Joo takes Seong to places her idol has been. (Set up for running into male lead again?)
When they are told the room has already been taken the BFF chases down Ryan Gold to try to convince him to give up the room he was just given.
Meet Cute – Ep 1 – They are both at an art action in Shanghai. They are seated in the same row. He glances at her. When he looks away she is glancing at him. He seems to glow and she says to herself that he looks like her idol, Si An. She continues to stare. He then starts talking about himself as if he were a painting and asks if she wants him. She’s offended and says no. He leans in, arms crossed and tells her he thought she did since she was staring at him so much. She calls him a psycho. (Eye to body, eye to eye, voice to ears)
Tensions Raising – Ep 1 – They begin to bid for the same painting (the bubble painting). Giving each other side eye. He wins out. (Eye to eye)
She chases after him to convince him to give her the painting. She insults him (politely) and he then in turn insults her (politely) (eye to eye, voice to ears)
Meet Cute #2- Ep 1 – She is at the airport waiting for her idol. She is taking pictures and Ryan Gold is blocking her view of her idol who is behind him. Someone spots the idol and he is suddenly bombarded with a stampede of fangirls. He is pushed out of the way and bumps into Seong who grabs onto his coat, rips it and topples on him. She is relieved that her camera is safe but Ryan is really peeved that his coat is ripped and a girl landed on him. When she apologizes he tries to take off her face masks. She flees and leaves behind her planner. (Cinderella moment) (eye to eye, body to body)
Adhesion (End of Ep 1) – She goes to work, ready to resign, fixes a lightbulb (on a ladder) and he comes in and asks “Do you work here?” She comes most of the way down and then stares at him. He asks, “Do you want me?” She falls off the ladder and onto the floor.
As we can see there is so much that happened in this first K-drama episode. And it ended really well with a hook of her running into Ryan Gold again… or rather falling for him – literally.
I cannot wait to see how things play out between Ryan and Deok Mi when he tries to get the painting back from her idol. She’s got a huge obsession and I wonder if she’s going to have to give it up or if Ryan is going to be understanding and accepting in the end.
What do you think? If you can’t wait for my next update you can watch this K-drama on Viki.com with a Standard Viki pass.
Episode Two will be coming soon!
I’m thinking about doing real-time K-drama reactions and breakdowns on a Youtube channel. Is that something you might watch? Let me know in the comments below!
Hold onto your seats, folks! This is a long one! This is my first recap and analysis of a full-length Kdrama episode. I’m going to try to sprinkle it with some pictures to break up the text but if you want to skip to the full analysis at the bottom go ahead and click here now.
Just Between Lovers Recap Episode 1
We are introduced to two little girls. One is younger and is getting her hair and makeup done by her mother. The other one, Moon-Soo, is sitting around pouting and complaining about having to go to the photo shoot for her little sister. Her mom says that she can’t be two places at once. Mom tells the older daughter , Moon-Soo, that she needs to reschedule the meeting with her girl friend. The older daughter texts the boy and the younger sister tattles on her.
(Set up here by the Just Between Lovers writers. Little sister is the favorite. She’s dolled up and given a cellphone to use even though her older sister doesn’t yet have one.)
Mom drops them off at the event. Moon-Soo asks her mom when she’s going to get her own cellphone and her mom brushes the question off, telling her they’ll both be late and then drives away leaving her daughters in front of the mall.
(This reinforces that her mom has a favorite but doesn’t want to admit to it. Mom leaving little sister in Moon-Soo’s care shows that Moon-Soo is responsible and will step up when needed.)
The younger sister tugs on Moon-Soo’s sleeve and points to the sky. “The weather is nice. Look at the sky.” Moon-Soo looks up and then shields her eyes. The sun begins to come through to clouds and she squints.
(I have a feeling this is foreshadowing!)
Cut to the mall where there are glittering stars and moons in the open stair area. The little sister is getting her makeup redone. Moon-Soo is sweating. The makeup is done and the little sister hands the cellphone her mom gave her to Moon-Soo because she received a text from the boy. Moon-Soo goes to meet him, leaving her sister behind. She goes up one flight of stairs and pauses by an ice cream shop to put on lipgloss. The building begins to shake and then collapses. (It was here I had to pause and Google if malls collapsing was a common occurrence. This is like the third one I’ve seen mentioned in a K-drama. The Sampoong Group Mall Collapse happened in Seoul, South Korea in 1995. Very traumatic for the people of South Korea. I see now why it has occurred in so many dramas. Just like we in the States have taken traumatic events and weaved them into our stories, so too have the South Korean Kdrama writers. I’m bracing myself now for what’s to come!)
Moon-Soo, older now, wakes up at 3:59am, one minute before her alarm. It was a dream, she said, that has the same ending no matter what she does.
Moon-Soo works at a Bath house. After opening she looks out at the city, taking a moment to enjoy the view and the breeze.
We cut to lots of men who are standing around asking for their pay. The manager tries to explain and this one guy keeps interrupting. It’s our hero, Gang-Doo and he has a cut on his chin, a bandaid over his left eyebrow and tattered looking clothes. The manager tells him to step forward. The manager punches him and then harasses him some more. Gang-Doo only lets him get in one punch before doing a few of his own, demanding his pay.
(We can get a sense already of Gang-Doo’s character just from these first few minutes.)
Moon-Soo is interested in architecture. She has blueprints on her desk and is making paper models during her spare time at the bath house.
She goes to her mom’s room and wakes her up so that she can do some hair for a customer. When her mom walks out the older daughter finds empty bottles of soju. She recycles them and then heads away.
Gang-Doo is sitting hear the water’s edge, lip bloodied. A guy who seems to have special needs comes up, addresses our hero as Hyung and asks “Did you get in another fight again?” (The hero continues to be developed. He’s a fighter.) He says something along the lines of “If I look this bad, how do you think the other guy looks?” The guy shares his meat on a stick and then our hero gets a phone call and is called off to a job. The two go together after the guy says “You always work and never get paid. Play with me instead.” And he replies “I can’t. Because I don’t have a good mom like you do.”
The young guy follows Gang-Doo to where he’s going to work. The streets are filled with scantily dressed women and foreigners. The guy says that this is a place his mom tells him he shouldn’t ever go because it’s dangerous. Gang-Doo says “Anything you can do making money is dangerous.” The hero tells him he should go home. He saves the guy from being conned by a scantily clad woman and then sends him on his way before ducking into a place called Mary & Club.
Moon-Soo goes into talk to her boss. She explains that the blueprint is wrong and that built the way it is it could collapse and demands he have it redone. The boss says that’s not his job, his job is just to make the models and tells her to go do what she’s getting paid to do. She explains that the spacing on the support beams are too far apart and asks him if he’d want his kids living there. When he frowns she smiles knowing she’s won. She tells him she wants it redone and that no matter what she’ll get it done on time and then turns to leave.
When she’s gone we see another man come out from the office behind the bookshelves and looks at the blueprints. (I’m pretty sure he looks like second male lead material!)
Back at home Moon-Soo is doing something on her laptop and her friend (and roommate?) Wan-Jin, is trying to draw her romance comic and is having writer’s block. (I think we are all about to relate) “How can I make them break up again?” She cries at Moon-Soo’s feet. “I wonder why I have to agonize over these two characters being lovey-dovey with each other.”
Moon-Soo: Aren’t you going to make them get back together anyway?
Wan-Jin: Exactly, that’s what I’m saying. They are going to get back together but why would they break up? Why?? In other cartoons, people say it’s too chaotic since the main character acts as he pleases. But these two, they don’t budge.
Moon-Soo: Why do you need reasons? Is there a specific reason why people would get together or break up?
Wan-Jin: Don’t you know logical development? Don’t you know that the story has to make sense or it needs to be justifiable?
Moon-Soo: Forget about all that. You need to draw your main character more beautifully. Your online cartoon is a romance, but you’re being needlessly realistic. Make the main character a drop dead beauty. Then even if it’s not logical, everything makes sense.
Wan-Jin ponders that as she goes back to her computer and drawing tablet. Moon-Soo gets a phone call and it’s her boss. Her boss says there is a good opportunity for her to work on Bio Town and she tells him that if they want a study model she isn’t going to do it. The boss tells her that they’re going to compensate her well.
Cut to Gang-Doo and he’s at the back of a restaurant eating instant ramen. He asks a waiter why “she” isn’t there yet because “she” asked him there. “She” comes to the back, looking angry and asks for a glass of water. After she calms down he asks if she’s okay (character trait: caring) and then she explains that a guy beat up one of her girls. And then she mentions Bio Town is being built. She says the guy who beat up the girl is a manger working on the build. She tells Gang-Doo to go further up the ladder to the director of the company building Bio Town instead. She tells him to pretend that the girl that got beat up is his younger sister. She wants him to get settlement money. He says he’ll take 20% of what he gets.
He stares at the business card: Cheong Yoo Construction – Jeong Yoo Taek
Later that evening Moon-Soo sees her mom grabbing soju and tells her to stop drinking because she has to manage the bath house in the morning. Her mom asks Moon-Soo if she remembers what tomorrow is and takes the soju back and goes to sit down and drink it. The sister grabs some food and asks her mom to eat while drinking. Her mom pushes the food onto the floor. Moon-Soo drinks and eats the food her mom rejected.
Gang-Doo is outside and lights a cigarette. He stares at the business card.
Flashback: His dad is trying to leave with Gang-Doo who is holding a soccer ball. His dad’s boss comes and tells him he needs to do more work before he goes. Gang-Doo is directed to go across the street and eat some ice cream while he waits. He is in the ice cream store when the mall collapses. (Is ice cream going to be significant later on? Second time it’s come up.)
Gang-Doo goes to the director’s office and demands money. He sees Bio Town on the computer when he’s there. “Seeing the world from up here, don’t people seem like people to you?” Gang-Doo asks the Director.
At her interview Moon-Soo is asked whether she knows the CEO personally, Seo Joo Won, the architect because he wants to work with her personally. He tells her she’s going to be working in the office full time. She seems taken aback and unsure until she sees a blueprint on the desk. Seeing the design she asks “When can I start?”
Moon-Soo is walking around the office examining things and then the CEO calls and tells the co-worker he needs a blueprint. The co-worker looks at Moon-Soo, hoping she’ll take it to him.
Joo Won is at a fancy office building trying to get to his appointment but someone has used his name. When he arrives at the Director’s office he sees Gang-Doo standing over him. Joo Won carefully asks if he was too early. Gang-Doo says he’s done and as he’s passing by Joo Won grabs his arm and tells him what his name is. Gang-Doo slaps his hand off and says he didn’t ask. Joo Won says he thought he’d like to know who the name really belonged to since Gang-Doo used it to get in. Gang-Doo warns him not to touch someone he doesn’t know and then leaves.
Moon-Soo arrives at the very tall building as Joo Won texts and tells her to meet him in front of the elevator on the 16th floor. We cut to her in the stairwell, huffing up the flights of stairs, the file in her hand. As she’s almost to the top she runs into Gang-Doo. He scares her, she almost falls back but he grabs onto her and pulls her foward, her cheek lands against his chest as she clutches onto his shirt.
Without looking at her face he says, “Look in front of you when you walk.” After a moment he says, “Are you… going to stay like this?” She quickly steps away and avoids eye contact as he steps around her and continues down the stairs. She catches a glimpse of his face then but he doesn’t look up.
She finally makes it upstairs and introduces herself to Joo Won, through gasps for air. He thanks her and then tells her to take the elevator. She continues to gasp and shakes her head saying that the stairs are more comfortable for her. He stares after her after realizing that she just climbed 16 flights of stairs.
Outside Gang-Doo is walking and stops, flexing his leg. He glances at the sky and then approaches a street vendor, asking if he has an umbrella. When he comes back with one he tells the street vendor to put them out front because it’s going to rain. The street vendor says it’s forecasted to be sunny. Gang-Doo opens his umbrella and walks away.
Moon-Soo is walking with a cake box in her hand. It starts to rain and she runs for cover under a bus station. Joo Won honks as he pulls up to the curb and tells her to get in. She declines and he insists she gets in. Joo Won apologizes for making her run an errand when she isn’t officially employed yet. (Character trait: considerate) And he tells her that it was all for nothing because the meeting was cancelled. He apologizes again and she asks him to stop apologizing because it makes her uncomfortable. He is about to apologize again and then catches himself. He says it’s a habit. She says it’s better than never apologizing. He tells her that he overheard her comments on his blueprints and that’s why he hired her. He also mentions her walking up 16 flights. Why did you skip the elevator? She replies, “Just because it’s a bit stuffy not being able to see outside.” (This is a PTSD side effect from what happened to her at the shopping mall disaster.)
Gang-Doo receives payment for his job and the boss lady asks him to work for her. He says no. Asks him to have a drink. He says no. Why? “There are no windows here. It’s stuffy.” (We can see that these two characters are suffering from similar PTSD symptoms.) Before he goes he asks the boss lady to help him get a job on the construction site of Bio Town. Gang-Doo goes to a lady who runs an underground medical clinic. He gives her money and she gives him painkillers. She warns him not to take too many or he’ll ruin his liver. (Foreshadowing??) She takes what she needs from his money envelope and then hands it back. He says he wants the rest to go to his sister. She scolds him for giving all his money to his younger sister, but he insists and then leaves.
Moon-Soo goes home and her mom isn’t there. She finds her mom arguing with ladies in the neighborhood. One says, “You should be ashamed! If you opened up your bath house with the money you sold out your child for, you should put your head down and live a diligent life. All you ever do is drink and go around all over the neighborhood. Aigoo, you’re shameless.” Blinking back tears, Moon-Soo gathers her mom, pays for her drinks and then brings her home. On the way back her mom asks “Do you also think I’m being unreasonable? Did I seem that way?” Moon-Soo says yes and asks why she did that. Her mom says, “So I won’t forget her. I should get yelled at so that I won’t forget that I had to send off Yeon Soo first. If I don’t, I forget that sometimes.”
Moon-Soo: If you can, forget it. I really can’t remember it either.
Mom: You and I are different. Mom needs to remember because this is all my fault.
Moon-Soo: Why is it your fault?
Mom: It is. It’s the mother’s fault when the child goes first. If I live well, they’ll say I live well. If I destroy myself, they’ll say I couldn’t come to my senses even after letting my child die. If I laugh or cry, people will point fingers at me. So, even if I drink and throw a tantrum, don’t hate me too much.
Moon-soo wipes away her tear and follows after her mom. Later she puts her mom to bed and then sits down with the cake, three candles on it. She starts to light them but hesitates and looks at a picture of her sister: “You don’t age anyway.” She takes out the candles and eats the cake.
Flashback: Her mom is in the ER, she says she’s so relieved that Moon-Soo is alive. Then she realizes that her sister isn’t there and starts to freak out. The fact that Moon-Soo survived is clouded by the loss of her sister. After her dad confirms the body of her little sister her mom turns to her and says, “I told you to be together. I told you to be together!”
The dad then turns to the mom, “What about you? Where were you, leaving your two kids behind? I told you not to go around selling out our daughter!”
Mom: Am I the only one who did wrong? This is my fault? Who’s the one who didn’t even care for the kids because you were so busy outside the home? Where were you when I was going all over the place looking for our daughter? Where were you?
Poor Moon-Soo had to witness all of this. Her dad looks at her and says, “you still don’t remember? What happened at the time of the accident?” She shakes her head. He sighs. “Forget it. It’s not something pretty to remember anyway. It’s a relief that at least you made it alive. Despite everything, it could have been worse.”
There’s no such thing as being relieved because things could have been worse. Being unfortunate is just feeling miserable.
Moon-Soo leaves the cake and goes to get noodles at her dad’s shop. He brings her water and she asks for noodles, spicy. They don’t look at each other. Moon-Soo asks, “aren’t you going to ask if mom is doing well?” He doesn’t answer. He serves her noodles and she tells him that he should’ve stopped by because it was her sister’s birthday. She puts in lots of spice and eats her noddles. He sits at a table nearby and turns on the TV while she eats.
Gang-Doo is at home and he is having a PTSD nightmare about the incident. He wakes up, sweating and has to catch his breath. He goes to his painkillers and takes some, washing them down with beer. He looks at the scar on his leg from the rebar that went through in the mall. The neighbor down the hall is being loud while they have sex. He bangs on the door and tells them to knock off the noise and just do it already. He goes out and sees the construction manager eating noodles in a shop. He stops and stares at him. He knocks on the window. “Is it good? You feel like drinking when you fired me and ripped me off? I get all the suffering and you get all the fun?” When he sees the manager is ignoring him he begins to yell, “These days! Bad guys live well comfortably! What the crap is this?! Right? Old man?!” The manager gets up and comes outside “Why are you pointing at me?” Gang-Doo doesn’t back down, “Are you happy that you ripped me off, but you’re eating pork? If you’re old enough, act your age, you brat. Don’t rip people off, man.” A few big guys approach from behind and Gang-Doo realizes he’s misstepped. He’s outnumbered and they start to encroach on him.
Moon-Soo is passing by as the gang is leaving. She pauses when she spots a lifeless hand in the alley. In the rain she approaches slowly and then sees him bleeding badly, she tries to get him to speak up, She asks him if he’s okay, gently tapping his shoulder. Bleeding, he grabs her arm and doesn’t let go. They meet eyes.
She brings him to her dad, explaining that no hospitals were open and she couldn’t leave him on the street. Her dad gets a first aid kit but before he can help a customer comes, leaving the cleaning up and tending to Moon-Soo. Alone with him she stares at his face. She feels on his body for stuff and then finds his phone and a few dollars. She looks to see if he has contacts but he doesn’t. She stares at his old leg scar and then he begins to groan. She gets to work cleaning him up, starting with his face.
When he wakes up he’s got a band-aid on his head. He groans as he sits up. Her dad comes out and updates Gang-Doo, telling him he briefly cleaned him up but he should get to the hospital and that his phone won’t stop ringing. Then the dad goes back into his room and shuts the door. Gang-Doo hobbles back, he’s in rough shape physically. He runs into his sister who throws the money back at him. She’s dressed nicely and he asks why she’s not at the hospital. She asks him questions about his face. They both ignore the other’s questions. She tells him to come home. He gives her back the money and tells her to go home. She leaves and he goes back to his tiny room. It’s the guy from before, he is a neighbor, it seems. He said a pretty girl came to see Gang-Doo and left crying. “You shouldn’t make girls cry. You’ll get punished,” he says. Gang-Doo looks away, “She’s not my girl, she’s my younger sister.” The younger guy asks, “is it okay to make your sister cry?” “No,” Gang-Doo says, “it’s not.”
Gang-Doo relives the beating from last night. And the memory of a girl with an umbrella. Moon-Soo. He remembers her and then realizes he’s seen the girl before.
Moon-Soo is cleaning out her new work area. (Hard working trait) A coworker asks if she wants coffee. While drinking the coworker coos about the CEO, Joo Won. He remodeled the office all by himself and picked out the materials alone and GEEZ he looks good in any clothes he puts on and he’s from a good family AND he owns his own studio with his name on it at such a young age.
Moon-Soo pipes up to state the obvious: “He must be talented.”
The confuses the co-worker and Moon-Soo explains that he had a hand in his success, it wasn’t just because of his family.
Joo Won is having dinner… with the DIRECTOR (gasp). Turns out Joo Won’s widowed mother married the Director’s father. Joo Won isn’t favored in the sibling dynamic, of course. It’s mentioned that the sister Yoo Jin is coming back to take over Joo Won’s business.
Gang-Doo is heading to the new construction site for his job. While getting a tour of he sees a memorial plaque for the Mall victims.
The coworkers in moon-Soo’s office are talking about the memorial. He says “only 48 people died” and she corrects him “As many as 48 people died.” She realizes the boss was behind her and then she ducks her head and walks away. She’s searching the blueprints and documents. Then she finds a report about the disaster case study and articles about the incident. She collapses to the floor and becomes overwhelmed with tears.
Gang-Doo stares at the memorial plague in the darkness on his shift. He destroys it with his sledgehammer.
Just Between Lovers Analysis
Multiple times in this first episode of Just Between Lovers we have seen Moon-Soo looking up to the sky. The same is true for Gang-Doo who is outside except for the those few moments he’s cramped up in his tiny studio apartment. This, the nightmares, losing a loved one, and the event itself all form this base for our main couple.
Moon-Soo is obviously obsessed with architecture because of what happened to her in the past. If only the architect had done things to code the incident wouldn’t have happened. She doesn’t want to see it repeated. Moon-Soo is also very observant and mature for her age. She speaks wisdom to her friend, her mom and her female co-worker. As I predicted, Moon-Soo is responsible and hard-working. She takes matters into her own hands and doesn’t complain when she has a lot asked of her. Her mother is handling her grief in self-destructive ways as an alcoholic. Her dad has left the family and works nearby in a noodle shop. And an Auntie was mentioned. So it’s obvious that Moon-Soo has supports in place, even if it’s not her mother. Yet there has to be this wound in her from the accident when her mother was yelling at her for not being with her sister because Moon-Soo is the only one who knows that if she had been with her sister that Moon-Soo would have died too because she left her sister downstairs. Heavy stuff!
Now onto Gang-Doo. He’s completely the opposite of Moon-Soo in a a lot of ways. He left his family and struck out on his own. He doesn’t hold in his feelings, they come out in anger and flying fists. He makes money in less than savory ways. He doesn’t take care of himself. He honors his father, however, by doing construction work and sending extra money to his younger sister. He fights back when he feels mistreated by a boss, the way he saw his father being mistreated before his death in the mall disaster. Gang-Doo is also caring. He has befriended a slightly younger poor teen whose mother is doing the best she can for him. He sends his extra money to his sister when he barely has two bucks left in his pocket. And his unsavory business is defending victims. Oh, and I have to mention that I love that he knows when it’s going to rain because of his injury. (#KDramaCharacterQuirk) That’s a great quirk to have added. I hope the writers will use it again later in the series.
I love that the two of them have already had TWO encounters. We saw the “OMG I’m going to fall down the stairs” catch and clutch. And then we had a Band-Aid First Aid as well after Gang-Doo’s fight. The romance arc is already starting off and I hope we continue to see nice growth there.
The Director and the construction manager were set up to be the bad guys. Both representing the upper class and men in positions of power.
The second male lead has also been introduced and he’s talented and a bit broken. He hasn’t had the same romantic moments that Gang-Doo has had with our heroine, Moon-Soo.
The hook at the end of this episode was kind of weak, leaving it off with Gang-Doo destroying the memorial plaque.
But I do have a lot of questions:
Who is the sister?
Were Gang-Doo and Moon-Soo trapped together somehow in the accident since they were in a similar location when it happened?
How are the writers going to get Moon-Soo and Gang-Doo to keep running into each other? Is she going to be present on the construction site a lot? Will she get to boss him around?
What’s the deal with Gang-Doo’s family? Why won’t he go home?
Have you seen the first episode of Just Between Lovers yet? After reading the recap does Just Between Lovers seem like a drama you’d be interested in watching? I’d love to see your comments below! Episode two releases next week! Subscribe to my newsletter and receive a free Character Arc Cheatsheet and be reminded weekly when new blog posts go live!
When I say writing a romance hero that’s “sexier” I don’t mean describing the bumps on his six pack or including some shirtless car washing scenes.
Sexy is attractive. What will make you romance hero super sexy? Keep reading to find out how to write a romance hero that is swoon-worthy.
Writing A Romance Hero: Show His Soft Center
Now you may not want your hero walking around being like Santa Claus but you should definitely seduce your readers with a man who is thoughtful. Your job as the author is to make sure your hero woos his heroine*. (*For ease of reading I’m going to refer to the love interest as the heroine but it could be another hero, an alien, a monster or something else altogether. You do you, boo!)
When I talk about doing I am not talking about love bombing, we don’t need more narcissists in the world, but subtle meaningful acts of “Hey, girl, I care about you enough to inconvenience myself.”
When plotting or as you are writing or revising try to think about how your hero can will your heroine.
From Korean dramas these are some fan favorites:
Retrieving the drunk woman from her company dinner and carrying her on his back to take her home. (He may or may not have put on shoes or changed out of his pajamas before leaving to go rescue her. He wouldn’t want her being taken advantage of.)
seeing a heroin struggle with something and then getting that thing to her. (Like in True Beauty when Su-ho (our hero) sees Joo.-kyung, our heroine, pinning her bangs with a cheap plastic hair salon clip. He purchases her a nice barrette to replace the cheap salon one. She is touched by his thoughtfulness.)
What’s sexier than a man giving you a really great gift without you needing to prompt him???
Writing a Romance Hero: Quirky Can Be Sexy Too
Perfect doesn’t exist in real life and it shouldn’t in your romance either. Prince charming is a fallacy and grown women know the difference. Make your hero more human and give him some quirks.
In What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim Young-joon, the hero, is a bit uptight. He has his reasons but one of his biggest quirks is that he’s never dated or kissed a woman. It’s a really fun time trying to watch a romance unfold with this guy who has healing to do before he can fully give himself to his heroine, Secretary Kim. He wants so desperately to be “normal” but he has to work with what he’s got and when he finally overcomes his issues it makes the audience love him even more.
In Coffee Prince Han Gyeol, the hero, loves legos. Like a lot. This is his unexpected quirk especially for our free-spirited playboy hero. On the outside he’s cool and hot and kind of stuck up, but these legos show that he has a soft center. He has an innocence about him. These legos, which are seemingly toys, are something he is very serious about. (One of my favorite scenes from this 2007 K-drama is when he is in his lego room. He’s adorable!)
When writing a romance hero ask yourself: what is this guy’s thing? What is something he does or loves that is special to him and when or how will he share it with the heroine.
Your readers will swoon over these moments where your hero lets down his walls and shows his vulnerability.
Writing A Romance Hero: Put Your Hero On His Knees
I don’t mean in a BDSM kind of way (unless that’s your thing – no judgements) in real life men tend to have a tough time apologizing when they mess up.
In the fantasy world it’s really hot when the hair apologizes. This can look different depending on the hero. For example, an alpha kind of hero is going to have a hard time admitting he’s wrong. He might not get down and grovel until the very end, but it’s that’s the case then you’d better make the grovel really, really good.
The most alpha-est alpha in K-drama that I can think of is Jyun-pyo from Boys Over Flowers, the poor thing has to grovel a lot in order to be initially accepted and then forgiven time and time again by his love interest, Jan-di. He’s not a jerk intentionally –it’s just how he is– until he learns and matures. By the end of this classic drama (which is based on a Japanese shojo manga series and has been adapted into a Chinese version (Meteor Garden) and an upcoming Thai version (The F4)) Jyun-pyo is a worthy hero for our heroine, Jan-di.
Another type of American hero, like a cowboy, might not need to grovel but might instead glance down, shuffle his feet and mumble his apology after having some think time. Perhaps he puts his foot in his mouth a little bit and makes the heroine angry, but doesn’t thoroughly offend her.
But either way don’t underestimate the power of a good apology.
In Shopaholic Louis, Louis, the hero, delivers something to the heroine, Bok-shil, which she thought she’d lost forever. He doesn’t ship it to her but instead gathers all his friends to help recreate their meet cute to remind her how much they mean to each other and when she thinks she’s so close to finding the thing she’s lost forever she discovers it’s there where she is. She then sees an apology video from Louis before being reconnected with him.
When writing a romance hero, make your hero vulnerable. Show him as a human, not a God.
Again, as a human, when writing a romance hero give him something uniquely him. He’s not perfect. Give him some kind of “flaw” or “quirk” that makes him relatable.
Lastly, when writing a romance hero bring him to his knees and apologize when he’s done something wrong. Who doesn’t love a person who can communicate and accept their part?
What do you think makes a good hero? If you’re a K-drama/C-drama/J-drama/T-drama fan, can you name any other good examples of these characteristics? I’d love to hear from you! Drop your comments below!
Looking for more writing tips? Check out more blog posts about writing here!
This is the very last episode of Kiss Goblin. If you missed any of the recaps you can find them here.
Let’s get to it!
The Goblin appears and apparently, he had the magical power hidden within him the whole time. Exorcist drops our heroine, the goblin’s power surrounds the Exorcist with this green blob of can’t move and then he punches The Exorcist and knocks him out.
In the restaurant where they were working part-time together, Goblin asked her if she believed in fate and she tells him she does but she doesn’t want to rely on fate. She wants to rely on them. So she grabs him and pulls him in for a kiss and says “I want the future you and the future me to worry about finding each other again. We’re not going to leave it up to something else outside of us like fate.” He says he knows why he fell for her because she’s so cool and she says “it better be because I’m pretty” and he says “the future me will fall for you again for sure because you’re so cool.”
They kiss. A lot.
Time Hops One Year
He’s at university and she passes right by him. She takes a seat in class. And then he comes in and sits down. The teacher assigns a group project with two team members. The Goblin Queen comes by and swaps names so that they are paired together for the project.
Their relationship begins, they meet in front of the library and she pulls him out of the way of a bicyclist, saving him. She says she knows immediately that she’s going to date him. He says she’s cool and thanks her for saving him. She asks if they’ve met before and he says he’s not sure. Maybe…
So super cute ending where both fate AND Goblin magic come into play. If this were a full length drama perhaps we would have gotten a more solidified ending where we could watch their romance unfold for a second time.
Below is the outline for the whole series where we can see the progression of the romance, the breakdown of our characters.
Kdrama Cure Outline – Kiss Goblin
• Quirks – She speaks her mind, hits people on the face a lot
• Hobbies – None. She works and goes to school.
• Problems – needs to earn money, get good grades at school, recovering from a break-up
We are almost done with this Kdrama! if you missed the analysis for the majority of the season and you want to start over you can find that here.
Let’s get to it!
Why does the Goblin choose to keep his memories? Goblin gives away his motivation and he tells her that the reason why he wanted to be human was so that he wouldn’t be alone. He said this is the first time in a hundred and sixty years that he’s ever liked someone and not been alone. While he feels bad emotions because of her he’s also happy. And he never wants to forget that. And even if he’s alone for the rest of Eternity as long as he has the memories of her that’s enough for him, because the memories with her are so precious.
Our heroine tells him that thinking about him living forever was just memories of her is pretty darn pressing and she hopes that he’ll be at home in an hour when she gets there.
Goblin goes home and starts erasing the Whiteboard that had their project on it. And he realizes that every single one of the times that he kissed someone she was there during the kiss or very shortly after it. Each of those kisses was intertwined with her in some way. So even though they weren’t shared with her they were still shared with her.
She comes home and expects that he won’t be there but he is there watching TV in the dark. She goes to him and hugs him and she says don’t leave me and then… she wakes up!
She tries to pretend she’s okay, but she mourns him.
The friend brings her a piece of cake because she looks so sad. He asks if she got dumped and reminds her that he said that guy was no good for her. She asked if he still likes her and he says no because she’s not interested in him and she said that from the first day that she met him she knew she would never date him because she didn’t want to ever lose him as a friend.
The Goblin is having a heart-to-heart with the Goblin Queen and he asked her if she regrets her decision because he’s decided to go back to the Goblin World. She shares with him that she wished she could commit suicide and that even if they didn’t meet in this life perhaps they could have met in the next life or the one after that but starting that journey to become human all those emotions stayed with her and she couldn’t undo them and it was hard for her. The Goblin said she probably made the right choice because there’s no guarantee that you’ll meet the same person in any Lifetime and she tells him about the human world word called fate. (hope restored?)
The heroine is faced with the Exorcist who has come to tell her that he’s so ashamed that the Goblin didn’t die. And he tells her his plan which is to torture her until she almost dies because then the goblin will come looking for her and he can kill the Goblin. He grabs her by the throat (and that’s the hook!)
This episode was all about the break-up. How are these two dealing with it? Yeon Ah, our heroine, is extremely sad and heartbroken meanwhile you can see the anguish on the Goblin’s face as he erased away the white board, reliving all of those memories one by one featuring Yeon Ah.
The writers have effectively torn our couple apart, but! we now need to get them back together. Enter our two side characters: The Goblin Queen, who gives the Goblin a thread of hope that he might find Yeon Ah even if he chooses to be human because of something called fate. And the Exorcist who is still determined to kill the Goblin by baiting him with Yeon Ah’s life.
Ending the episode here with Yeon Ah’s life in danger was an excellent hook. Will the Goblin come for her? Will she die instead? We know the Goblin will come for her but we as humans are curious and so we want to know for sure.
This week we are doing Kiss Goblin episode 10 if you miss the analysis for the majority of the season and you want to start over you can find that here.
With only three episodes left in Kiss Goblin, we should be coming to the big kiss and the last-ditch effort from the writer to keep these two apart and I have a feeling it’s going to revolve around the Exorcist.
Let’s jump in.
We start off with a time jump to the morning so they spent all night laying in bed facing each other holding hands and they fell asleep.
She leaves the love nest first, touches his dimple and gets herself some coffee. When he comes out there is an awkwardness between them for a moment as they try to catch each other’s gazes and then they both giggle. (So 귀여워요 (gwiyeowoyo)!)
Showing thoughtfulness – she made him breakfast. He says he’s happy to be with her like that and after breakfast he offers to do the dishes. There is sexual tension as he comes up behind her and wraps his hand around hers to turn off the water. She leans back against him and tells him that she’ll tolerate him kissing other girls ONLY until the last kiss. And if he kisses someone after that she’ll kill him.
He asks her to clairfy if they’re dating. She says nope, not until he’s human. He smiles and says he can’t wait.
Their happiness won’t last! He gets a text from the Goblin Queen. Kiss number 10, his last kiss: the heroine.
He leaves in a rush, lying to her about where he’s going and leaving his phone behind.
He goes to the Goblin Queen, he’s angry, which is an emotion he can feel now, and he asks why it has to be her. And the Goblin queen says that’s the way it is it has to be someone who loves you. And he says what if I kiss her… she won’t remember me. The Goblin Queen tells him that she told him it wasn’t going to be easy and that no Goblin has ever been able to become a human before, though many have tried. Most problems come to the last kiss and they can’t do it and they choose to keep the memories instead of becoming a human. And if he chooses not to kiss her then he has to leave the human world immediately. (The author raised the stakes. He cannot keep the status quo, a change will happen. Which path will he choose? Also, he now has a big massive secret.)
We finish up the Goblin Queen’s arc, seeing the rest of her past. Her last kiss was with the exorcist and she chose not to kiss him and instead has kept her memories of him.
Heroine gets dressed up and goes out looking for Goblin. She finds him at the park. She’s smiling and happy and sits in the swing next to him. He shares that he is there to think. He notices that she’s dressed up. He flirts with her calling her pretty. Then he tells her that he has to leave, to go back to the Goblin world. He tells her that he’s giving up on being a human. And she asks if he can come back if he leaves. He says nope, never. She asks “What about me?” He looks away. She confronts him. “You don’t like me anymore?” He says quickly that he does like her. She asks if he’s stopping because she’s the last mission… (Her secret: she saw his phone). He says it’s not that easy. She tells him that if he tries it’ll be easy for her to fall for him again. Does he just not want to kiss her? He looks up quickly again to deny. He does. She eggs him on, just do it, man!
He shares the Goblin Queen’s last Rule: not only will the human lose her memories but the Goblin will also lose his memories when he turns human. So he tells her that he’s decided instead of losing her altogether, he’s just going to keep liking her so he can remember her forever because he doesn’t want to risk never finding her again in his life.
In the short little episode A lot happened. We had a plot twist which basically is going to cause The Break-Up of these two because like it seems like a dark night of the Soul, what can he do? He can’t stay in the human world or else he totally forgets her and she forgets him, and if he goes back to the Goblin World they still can’t continue on their relationship because he’ll be in a different world altogether.
In this episode we saw how the secrets moved from one person to another so at the beginning of this episode The Goblin Queen had a secret that the last person he needs to cast with someone that he loved and when he kissed her he would lose his memories as well. That secret done was the Goblin’s secret to keep which he didn’t hold on too long before the heroin showed up and he told her that he needed to leave and she asked him why and he confessed the secret.
Goblin get a call, his 9th kiss target is revealed and he needs to do it before 2AM.
Later he calls heroine and she ignores him. Instead of answering she guzzles down beer with the male friend.
Goblin waits as long as he can and sends her a text to tell her where he’s headed. He kisses girl number 9.
On his way home he experiences his new emotion: happiness. He thinks of the heroine and in his mind he says he’s experienced happiness with her and he wants to keep experiencing that. (is this the beginning of wanting to confess?)
The heroine is drinking and talks about happiness and love. You have that happiness for a moment and then it’s gone and you want to be happier and happier. (She thinks about her wound, trying to reinforce it in her mind, slipping back into her hurt self) She says she protects herself by cutting off the feelings before they get too deep.
The male friend confesses his feelings to her. She’s shocked.
Without heroine around, the exorcist finally has his chance to attack the Goblin. [The Goblin Queen did foreshadow this in the previous episode when she asked the heroine to take good care of the Goblin.] Goblin, while wounded, calls the heroine. Heroine sees the texts and rushes away to find him, a pan in her hand, taken from the restaurant she was at.
The exorcist is about to do the final blow to the Goblin when the heroine comes in and whacks him across the face with the pan. (selfless giving) She sees the Goblin’s blood and freaks out. He asks her why she’s so late. She apologizes for not keeping her promise to keep him safe. He says he’s happy to see her and that he really missed her. And then he passes out. Touching moment with emotion as she confesses to him thinking he’s dying. (One party confesses.)
Goblin Queen arrives and see the exorcist. We flashback to her past. The exorcist is someone from her past.
The Goblin Queen heals the Goblin. They take him back to her place and the Goblin Queen asks if she meant what she said about doing anything and tells her to take care of him. [More foreshadowing?]
The heroine tucks him in and lays beside him. She reaches out and touches his cheek. (hand to face intimacy) He wakes and pulls her hand away. He faces her and holds her hand. He tells her to stay by his side and not drink or talk to any other guys. And he confesses to her that he likes her a lot. She confesses to him too. [Both party confessions!]
Analysis: Here we are with only three episodes left! We are about to go into the dark moment and the final test of their relationship if this writer is following the traditional romance arc.
In this episode we saw more intimacy building. Selfless giving on behalf of the heroine who ran into danger and struck down evil with a pan. There was more jealousy and realization on both parts that when they thought of the other they were happy. It took a near death scenario for the heroine to fully confess but by the end of this episode they both solidified their feelings, announcing them to each other.
Showing kindness, Goblin saves a balloon for a little boy and chats with him.
The heroine’s unrequited love approaches and asks if she would like to have a drink. The goblins sees this gets jealous and goes over to intervene. [These are my favorite scenes where are the two boys are arguing over the girl and saying silly things to show who is better.] Information is revealed through the dialogue, the unrequited love has been her friend for two years. And the Goblin almost lets it slip that they are living together. Our heroine covers the Goblin’s mouth (touch). Goblin is mad that she wants to deny their relationship and walks away.
She follows him home and confronts him. He gets snippy “Why are you home? I thought you were going to go have a drink with that guy.“ (a touch of jealousy)
And then he reveals that it bothers him that she doesn’t want to say that they live together and asks if she’s embarrassed by him. (Talking about feelings) She asks him if he’s jealous and he adamantly denies it and walks away. (He doesn’t want to reveal his feelings yet)
Later at work they are cleaning in silence but exchange glances. The Goblin Queen comes in. Asks heroine if she’s dating anyone or interested in anyone. (The side character is acting as a plot driver!) Heroine glances at Goblin but says no. Goblin Queen shares the next target, and tells the heroine to take care of Goblin and leaves.
There is internal dialogue about how it’s obvious to others about who you like because you always look at the person that you like. (Yes you do! It’s one of the stages of intimacy) The heroine’s male friend talks to the female best friend about how it’s obvious when someone doesn’t like you because they don’t look at you as much as you look at them. (It’s obvious the best friend likes the friend.) She still helps him and encourages his feelings with her friend, our heroine.
Our heroine comes into the restaurant and sees the Goblin kissing another woman. She goes upstairs so that she doesn’t have to watch.
At home she’s drinking and sighing and thinking about him kissing the girl. (Getting hard to deny those romantic feelings, isn’t it? We’re firmly in the denial of feelings in the romance arc.) Goblin comes running out of the bathroom and grabs onto her looking scared. She asked him was wrong and he says that the shower curtain moved by itself and he didn’t touch it. His new emotion is fear. She tries to explain to him that it was only the wind but he insists that he is still scared. He ends up laying his head on her lap and falls asleep (common Kdrama trope). While he is sleeping she puts her hand on his face. He wakes up and she pulls her hand back quickly. He thanks her for the comfort.
(Talking about feelings)
She tells him not to look at her the way that he looks at other girls when he tries to get them to kiss him.
He says he doesn’t like kissing the other girls but he has to.
She leans into him and asked if he feels anything with her.
Visually we see that he does and he turns his face away from her and says that he doesn’t know about those things. (Looking away is lying)
She grabs his face by the cheeks and turns them towards her (hands to face) and gets closer and asks him one more time if he feels anything and he says no nothing at all all.
She loses her temper and tells him that she doesn’t understand why he even came into her life at all because all he’s doing is confusing her. (semi-confession)
She gets a phone call and it’s the friend who asks her to have another drink and while staring at the Goblin she accepts the invitation and heads out.
Goblin is obviously distressed.
Analysis: The romance arc is building, we’re getting to the point where these two are going to have to confess their feelings because the jealousy is getting to be too much. The writer is slowly working their way through the stages of intimacy with touching and direct eye contact. These two are also having intimate discussions that skirt around their true feelings. We also saw how the Goblin Queen was being used as a plot driver and perhaps as a foreshadowing agent.
We are more than halfway through the drama now on episode 7. If you missed the other breakdowns you can find them here.
Goblin finished kissing the girl and our heroine asks him what emotion he got. He said he’s not sure because he doesn’t feel anything yet. Our heroine asked Goblin what he wants to do first when he becomes a human. Our heroine spots the Exorcist and tugs Goblin close in a hug to protect him.
The 7th emotion is infatuation.
The exorcist leaves. Our heroine asks if Exorcist is gone and the Goblin says no he’s not and hugs her closer and she locks her arms around him a little bit tighter too. He answers her while they’re embraced that the first thing that he wants to do when he’s a human is to be friends with her. Formally.
And she knows friends means…. friends , platonic.
Our heroine is eating lunch with her friend but can’t stop thinking about how sexy the goblin is. She keeps this a secret from her friend. (Secrets, secrets)
The next morning the Goblin cooks breakfast for her before her class. (showing thoughtfulness) Homemade, no artificial seasonings because it’s healthier that way. And he grabs the ketchup and puts it over the eggs because that’s how she likes it. (showing thoughtfulness)
He is on the couch, folding laundry while she watches TV next to him. She laughs and leans into him, asking him if he saw that. They both pause, feeling tension between them. (romance arc building)
Later, he comes out of the shower and walks by and she sniffs him and asks him what shampoo he used. He said soap. And in her mind she called him handsome and then she slapped herself. (denying feelings that are trying to surface)
At work she’s watching him while he changes a light bulb. The light shines in her face and he covers her eyes with his hand. She gets flustered and walks away. (more romantic tension shown)
At home they’re together and she says they need rules. She says he’s still a man and he shouldn’t be walking around with his arms and legs exposed. And they should keep distance from each other unless he’s on a mission because if they accidentally touch it would be uncomfortable. He agrees but wants some rules too. He wants her to pick up her hair and clean a little bit sometimes. He then grabs her beer and swigs. He doesn’t drink so she questions him. He opens up and says he’s having a hard time lately. She asks why and he says it’s all the new emotions – he’s so confused. He says he tries to be cool but sometimes he’ll just laugh or cry at the things on TV randomly. And when he’s around her… he gets… “emotional.” He goes and sits next to her and says he keeps wanting to be nice to her and then… he passes out on her shoulder. (kdrama special – lean on me)
Then she’s back with her friend. She asks her how she knows if she likes a guy. Our heroine tries the method her friend suggests and is happy to learn that she doesn’t like him. But then she sees him helping a kid and realizes she does like him.
Goblin is working up the courage to confess after his new emotion comes in.
The once “always honest” Goblin lied to her to keep hugging her.
She is waking up to his charms.
The two of them are now clearly liking each other, what next? Will they let themselves fall?
This episode was packing in the romantic tension for these two. Clearly they like each other but they aren’t willing to admit it, not to themselves and definitely not to their friends. We saw another instance of food the couple shares together and two ways the hero showed thoughtfulness for the heroine.
Today we are going to dissect episode 6 of The Kdrama Kiss Goblin. if you missed the other breakdowns you can find them here.
Yet again the writers started the episode off with a teaser of the future where the Goblin is kissing a girl and the heroine is standing back, watching.
Back to the scene at hand, the Exorcist tells the heroine to get out of the way and asks why she’s protecting the Goblin. She asks The Exorcist why he wants to kill the Goblin and the Exorcist explains that killing Goblins and protecting humans is his job. The heroine says “Well I don’t know about other Goblins, but this one helped me today so he’s not harmful. Leave him alone.” The Exorcist reveals that he cannot harm the human.
The heroine smiles, snuggles closer to the Goblin, looks the exorcist in the eyes and eggs him on to try to kill her. There is romantic music as the Goblin looks at the heroine. He must have just fallen for her.
The exorcist relents and leaves.
The heroine is happy and asks if he’s happy too and he just stares at her. Her smile fades as she realizes that look of love in his eyes and she tries to get up. He pulls her back down and asks her to protect him by living together.
#tropealert living together/cohabitation
The heroine agrees to protect him, support his mission of becoming a human, and live together as long as he pays 100% of the rent, and does all the chores, and has to do what she says.
At her apartment, she sets up a whiteboard with the mission objectives and shares it with him. He listens attentively. She says as soon as the GQ identifies the person they’ll go together so she can protect him from the exorcist.
Morning 1 of living together. He gets up off the couch, cooks a very nice breakfast. She gives him a thumbs up and a huge smile. She watches tv while he cleans. He does laundry (including her bra and panties. She snatches that from him, mortified).
Mission 5 comes in. They go together. She watches him kiss the girl… for a long time.
The new emotion is happiness and he’s giggling at everything they see Including the exorcist when he appears. As soon as he does the heroine presses her body against the goblin and smiles in victory. Exorcist frowns and walks away in distress.
Later, it is nighttime and heroine is being followed. She hurries and so does the perp. She stops to huddle in fear and the guy, who is exercising, goes right past her. She pulls out her phone and hesitates to call The Goblin. but that doesn’t matter because when she looks up he’s there. He smiles at her and says he’s there to pick her up. She smiles back and comments on his smile.
Cut to the next kiss. She’s uncomfortable. He gets the emotion desire and tells her he wants something – a friend. Goblin asks her to be his friend. Exorcist shows up and they hug. Exorcist gets mad and goes away.
They’re grocery shopping. Couple activity. They fight over what to buy in a playful way, you know… a cute way. Not like how it happens in real life with your husband or your kids. 😀 She looks around and sees other couples shopping together too.
At home, she’s drinking and he’s cooking. He presents her with dinner and comments that her face has changed. She used to look sad and now she smiles a lot. He stares at her with adoration and says it looks better that way. She tells him to stop flirting with her. She tells him why she hates people (because they are selfish). He tells her he won’t be the kind of human she hates. He reaches out and touches her face and tells her that he likes her smiling face.
Cut to the next kiss… the heroine thinks: she likes being with him and that’s why they can’t be friends because she likes him too much.
Lots of plot moving forward quickly, he only has four more kisses to go. We are halfway through the drama.
They are now sharing moments together as a couple, like grocery shopping, walking home at night together, eating meals together, etc.
He tells her that he likes her smiling face, which is strengthening the intimacy between them. She is feeling it too and we can tell because she can’t watch him kiss other girls anymore.
If you missed any of the Kiss Goblin episodes before this one you can find them here. I am going through each episode of Kiss Goblin and breaking it down so we can see how the screenwriter crafted this delightfully fun mini K-drama.
The screenwriter again teases at a future scene – a kiss between goblin and heroine. (This gives the viewer a taste of what’s to come!)
Then we go back to the present with the exorcist. The exorcist has the goblin pinned against the wall by the neck and the heroine comes over and grabs onto the exorcist. The goblin touches her and magics them out of the situation and then they run. Fleeing together and then there is some sexual tension when they have to hover together and he makes them disappear.
Then they are in the bar together and she is recalling what he said earlier. He is cleaning a wound on her hand (another trope – fixing w a band-aid). She’s realizing what he said was true and is trying to rationalize it. She then leans forward and kisses him, hoping that by kissing him she’ll wake up from the dream.
She grabs him and kisses him. (First kiss)
She pulls away and when he doesn’t disappear she starts freaking out because that means it’s all true. And then she asks him to forget that she kissed him. She asks him details about his kiss mission and discovers that it can’t be any random 10 humans, it has to be the ones that the goblin queen picks for him to kiss and then explains that when he does that the emotions are passed to him.
She asks more questions about his world. (intimacy building – getting to know him better) Goblin answers and then asks her if he’s handsome.
The scene cuts to the morning. She was dreaming about the kiss. She wakes up hoping it was a dream but then sees her bandaid and grumbles.
Goblin is w the queen and asks about the exorcist. Goblin queen explains the origin of goblins. He learns that no goblin has ever been successful in their quest to become a human. (foreshadowing) She warns him again to make sure he leaves right after the kiss. (more foreshadowing) He asks her if she wanted to be a human and we flashback to her a long time ago. She did, at one time, want to be a human.
At work he is sweeping and she arrives. They look at each other for a moment and he seems unaffected by their kiss. As they go about their shift they bump into each other. ++Sexual tension.
Second Male Lead (SML) friend is asking advice from the best friend about the heroine. The best friend urges him to go to the heroine and confess his feelings for her before it’s too late.
The restaurant is closed and the SML comes in, brief glance exchanged between the two studs, and then the heroine comes to greet the SML. He tells her that he’s taking her home because it’s not safe. She calls him out on his weird behavior but he ignores her and they leave together.
Goblin stares after them curiously.
SML on the way home talks about how good-looking Goblin is. The heroine calls the SML out on his weird behavior again and he gears up to say his confession: “I….” (Hook- Scene Cut)
This episode was mostly background and facts gathering. There was a little sexual tension mixed in. Overall, not much revealed in the way of character traits. The couple do connect in this episode, revealing their personal secrets, raising the trust and intimacy levels between them.
The episode opens with a future scene: the goblin and heroine are standing on the sidewalk crying while looking at each other.
Everyday life – second male lead introduced – #tropealert – unrequited love, friend
The best friend can see that the second male lead (SML) likes the heroine. Through dialogue the SML friend points out the heroine’s flaw: she was cheated on and didn’t confront the ex about it. But with anyone else she’d speak up and go off the handle.
Meanwhile, Goblin is on to his third kiss. Speaking with his mentor, the Goblin Queen, we learn about the exorcist whose job it is to stop Goblins from turning into humans by killing them. (Connected the bad guy and giving background to his motivation for wanting to harm the hero) The Goblin Queen warns him to leave immediately after kissing someone in order to stay safe. Also, this emotion will be tough. (Sadness, if the intro was any indication).
The goblin meets with his third kiss girl. He talks to her first and finds out that her fiancee died right before their wedding a couple of years ago. While he kisses her he changes form to look like her dead fiancee, giving her a dream of kissing him and holding him. The goblin says she’ll dream of him often. (Good character trait – compassion).
As the goblin walks away the sadness starts to affect him in his chest.
We cut to the heroine and she runs into her ex at school who hurts her by failing to acknowledge her as an ex-lover to his newest girlfriend.
The Goblin and heroine meet on the sidewalk, crying. She asks him what’s wrong and he says he doesn’t know. They stand there, apart but together, crying. Then he takes her for a drink.
Couple growth: having a drink and talking about emotions. He asks her for advice on how not to be sad. She reveals her thoughts about this topic (he is learning more about her).
The exorcist comes in and tells him he can smell a Goblin. They stand up and the Goblin says “Exorcist?” -Hook
In this Episode:
We had some couple growth as they opened up and shared secrets with each other..
The goblin took one step closer to his goal completion.