Monday, April 21, 2014

Writing Romance Is About Falling In Love

I saw over the weekend an article in the local news about a couple who, after so many years of being married together (I don't remember the years but let me say it was a lot), ended up dying within 15 minutes of each other. The wife was sick and died and sure enough, the husband knew it was time for him to go too and he followed her. This got me thinking about, what I believe, is a huge misconception of many of the plot lines I see in romance novels and certainly submissions.

Now, first of all, we have to understand what the romance genre is about. This is a genre where the central story arc is the coming together of a couple. We watch how they move through their relationship to that point of a happily ever after. When we read a romance, we need to see not only the relationship building, but truly watching the couple move to a point of falling in love with one another.

What I see, far too often, is a story of essentially a couple dating. We throw in some sex scenes and then, by about 3/4 of the way through the book, one of the characters declares to the other, "I love you!" and during the rest of the book, the characters do nothing more than to mop up the other plot issues the author used to get that one character to say those three words. This is not romance.

Your goal as a romance author is to tap into all of those raw emotions that people feel when they fall in love.

  • We need to see the awkwardness of being around the other person. This is not because it is the boss, or their is an external plot issue that makes the character not comfortable being there. We need to see the awkwardness because there are unclear emotions running through the characters' heads. 
  • We need to see the realization (that probably does not happen on the first meeting) that this person is an amazing person for whatever they do. We need to see that realization of something special the character, up until now did not see.
  • We need to see the feeling of loss when that person leaves and the room is empty. The character needs to have a sense of a vacuum and a void when the other person is not around. 
  • We need to see the characters just want to "BE" with each other. No, this does not mean the desire to hop into the sack and go for it! They would be happy just doing crossword puzzles in a kitchen.
I do believe that far too many authors today are so obsessed with writing this in-depth plot line that the romance truly is falling to the sidelines. Maybe this is a reason why I have always been against the genre that was "created" a while ago of "a novel with romantic elements". sorry but I have to disagree with this one. Just throwing a couple into a story or giving them a chance to have sex every now and then does not make it a romance, nor for that matter mean you have included romantic elements. You have simply put in sex.

I challenge all of you romance authors to take some time this week to really look around you. Find those couples that are truly "in love" and watch them. Take the time to listen to their stories. Use that as your inspiration for you romance.

1 comment:

  1. Scrolling through your blog this morning over my cup of coffee, and I just wanted to say I LOVE this post.

    I am privileged enough to see what you're talking about on a weekly basis. In my day job, I am a Hairdresser, and I see these little old couples coming into the shop, week after week. The husband who brings and helps his wife in the door, and waits for her to get her shampoo and set always makes my heart swell. It is so sweet and beautiful to see that kind of love.

    And because I write romances, I love to ask the ladies how long they have been married and how they met. Of course they love to share how they were high school sweethearts or met when he was home from the war.

    These couples are a wonderful reminder of what romance is--for real.