Sunday, June 19, 2011

Romance Endurance Training

I have to admit, the title Enduring Romance always makes me giggle a little bit. Because if you think about it, it can be taken two (or maybe more) ways. First is the straight-forward "romance that lasts forever" sweetness and light. Then there's the "putting up with romance" angle. On any given day, I can alternate between those two meanings like they're on opposing sides of a wildly swinging pendulum.

You see, I consider myself primarily a "strong romantic elements" type of author. I can do straight romance, but I have a much harder time with it. I think the problem is I have a hard time looking at romance and falling in love as the primary part of anyone's story. An important part to be sure, but primary? For me that only works in fairy tales. So when I read or write romance, I always have to put on my princess glasses and see the world in this rainbow of cartoon colors. Sometimes it works...sometimes it doesn't.

Strong romantic elements though? (Happy sigh) That's my sweet spot. It still has all the magic of boy meeting girl (or girl meeting girl or boy meeting boy...whatever match-up the story at hand needs), but like in life it's told within the framework of a bigger picture. Characters get to fall in love while finding the bad guy or running from danger or saving the world. It still happens, but it isn't the primary focus of their lives.

Because whether we like to admit it or not, there's always more than romance going on. There's school and jobs and family and friends, and sometimes falling in love has to take a backseat to those other things. For me, in romance stories, it always wants to be in the front seat--preferably driving.

Oddly enough, the first novel I ever tried to write was a romance. It was an epic love story about these two kids who ran away together as teenagers then were torn apart by life and how they fought to find each other again later. There was war and natural disaster and all sorts of stuff going on, but the focus of the story was the main characters and their emotional journey with each other. It...uh...*cough*...never made it very far. As much as I loved the idea (and still do, as a matter of fact) I couldn't write it.

Romance writers get a lot of grief from people saying how easy it is to write that "fluff". I'm pretty sure the only people who say that are the ones who've never tried writing it. Romance is hard.

Then again, so is falling in love.


Julie Particka is the author of Pretty Souls, book one of the Paranormal Response Team series, and the newest contributing member to Enduring Romance. She'll be posting every third Sunday. In the meantime, you can find her online at her website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter.


Tia said...

I'm so with you. I really need something else in the plot besides the romance. I also think almost any story can be enhanced with a little romance. And when it's missing, I miss it. Even Tom Sawyer has a love story, for crying out loud.

Bring on the romance! But bring on some action, too.

Julie Particka said...

Hi, Tia! Thanks for stopping by :) The more action, the better, IMO. I've done straight romance, but it's soooooo hard for me LOL