Want to escape from bad romance?

Perhaps I can help. I’m not referring to books! I’m talking about actual romance. We began this discussion in Part 1 (April 29, 2020) and Part 2 (June 24, 2020). Over the next few blog posts, I’m going to share an amazing discovery I made through writing. (I’m Raz Steel—my degree is in Philosophy, I’ve been writing most of my life, and teaching writing for more than ten years.)

Storytelling is a tool. As a professional writer, it’s a tool of habit for me. Applied one way, it entertains an audience. But what if I could show you how storytelling applied another way could break you out of a pattern of failing real-world romance?

You don’t have to be a writer to use this tool. You don’t have to write at all. My process could be just as effective for a non-writer. In Part 1, I suggested that what allowed me to create the perfect story-romance in my recently published romantic comedy PASS THE KRYPTONITE was my understanding of not one character but both romantic characters.

This suggested that the success of real-world romance depends on my understanding of myself and my partner.

Changing your thoughts isn’t enough to change your romantic reality. Understand yourself, change your thoughts, and empathize with your partner.

Most romance writers and readers are women. If you’re a woman reading this essay, you probably already have a firm grasp on who you are, what you want, and why you want it. You already know about change your thoughts, change your reality.

What’s missing is, “How the hell do I empathize with a guy?”

I have a different perspective. I am a guy. It was incredibly difficult for me to learn how to empathize with a woman. But so rewarding!

For me, marriage failed. For one of the characters in PTK, romance failed. That character wallowed in self-pity and the pain of having someone reach down their throat, rip out their heart, throw it on the ground, and then stomp on it.

Mirrored my feelings precisely.

My character escaped. Why couldn’t I? How did my character manage it?

By understanding the only way to achieve the intimate relationship they wanted was to open themselves up again to that same kind of vulnerability.

Another PTK character’s engagement failed. They had reached down someone’s throat . . . Not deliberately trying to hurt anyone. Sometimes, relationships just don’t work out. That character empathized with their ex-partner though.

Part 2 is about realizing the characters in PASS THE KRYPTONITE (as well as my other novels) are emotional risk takers! What an incredible revelation.

Why did the characters find these actions necessary? One character, because they realized they needed to be an emotional risk taker, and the other character, because they realized their partner wasn’t an emotional risk taker.

Flipped a switch for me.

I had to suck it up to do the same. Not only did I need to become and remain an emotional risk taker, but now I understood a fundamental aspect of a potential romantic partner.

Okay. For those of you who also do that, we’re all on a good path. My idea of romance doesn’t need to match your idea of romance. My idea of romance needs to match my partner’s.

That’s the first thing to look for then in a potential partner, isn’t it? An emotional risk taker. I need to understand my idea of romance to recognize it in a partner. I want the ultimate intimacies of emotion and intellect and passion.

Just like you can’t achieve that level of intimacy without the risk, neither can he.

And if he’s not willing/able to take that risk, he ain’t your guy.

What if he has tons of other wonderful qualities? Yeah? Without this essential ingredient, you don’t achieve the romantic intimacy you want.

Can you make chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips? (You can, but then they’re not actually chocolate chip cookies, are they?)

(Part 4 of ESCAPE FROM BAD ROMANCE will appear on August 19, 2020)

Find me at:

Follow me at:


About Raz Steel

Raz Steel was born in a chalet in Frisco, Colorado. His alter-ego was born farther east—or farther west if you go the long way. A storyteller his entire life—his father may not have appreciated that 100% of the time—Raz finally put stories to paper. He’s a pilot, a teacher, a recycler, a dad, and now a granddad! He holds a degree in Philosophy from Lafayette College and currently resides in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His stories are character driven, and many take place in Bucks County. Raz’s writing career began after he became a pilot. Being terrified of heights—anything over the third rung of a ladder—the choice didn’t seem difficult: fly or write. His father always said, “Son, face your fears head-on.” So, Raz tortured himself to earn his pilot’s license to cure his fear. Didn’t work, but Raz now feels qualified to offer advice to other acrophobiacs – “Let me assure you, if there’s anything more terrifying than flying a single engine airplane at 2000 feet, just you and the flight instructor, it’s flying a single engine airplane at 2000 feet—alone.” You have to fly solo to earn your license. What could he have possibly been thinking? Writing is Raz’s passion, and that passion is expressed in his storytelling. His first two novels, Love Without Blood and Blood Between Lovers, are vampire romance. Vampires scare the hell out of Raz, but the romance of life eternal was too compelling, so those stories are psychological thrillers. PASS THE KRYPTONITE is a sweetheart young adult romantic comedy—no vampires! Raz has conducted writing workshops, Heroes With PMS (Phony Male Syndrome), for the Bucks County Romance Writers, Valley Forge Romance Writers, and at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Orlando, FL and hosted a blood drive for the city of Orlando. He’s taught fiction writing for ten years, and he’s currently teaching a unique class: Producing A Novel Instead Of Writing A Manuscript. You can follow him at his website and on Facebook @RAZSTEELAuthor.
This entry was posted in Soul Mate Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Kimments says:

    Hey Raz! Good points – risking is an essential part of emotional intimacy. I think your character has it right. Empathy can be learned (and taught!) and is a worthy goal for all human beings. And I agree, hold out for the chocolate chips if that’s what you love in your cookies.

  2. razsteel says:

    Hey Kimments, if you want emotional intimacy, you have to put emotional intimacy on the line. That requires empathy–and chocolate chips! Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  3. Thanks for your thoughts, analysis, and suggestions about writing romance. I am very familiar with Bucks County as my step-daughter lives there and I’ve spent so much wonderful time in this beautiful Eden. Thank you!

  4. Raz Steel says:

    Bucks County is a beautiful place, Belle. I’ve lived here almost my entire life, and oddly, PTK is my only story that doesn’t take place here. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s