Many months ago I began a series with a post titled, “Fantasy: Good Or Evil”. My intent was to dive into various genres and break them down to define the limitations that make them unique and stand out from the rest. Well, I forgot to continue the series, and though it has been some time since the first post, here is the second.
Today, I’d like to talk about romance, not the thing, the genre.
Actually, the reason I love romance is because it is not a genre but simply moniker given to a genre. Think about it, to call something a Romance novel means that it will be about romance. Whereas, to call something an Action, or Sci-Fi, or Mystery novel simply tells you what it will contain.
An Action novel is not about action, action is not is purpose, it contains action. A Romance novel does not just contain romance, it’s about romance, that’s why they are called “Love Stories”; it’s what they are about, it’s there theme, their goal.
What does it take to be a good romance writer? By good I do not mean skilled at creating imagery or knowing how to describe certain actions, I mean making a good romance. Now, it’s one thing to be able to write a descriptive scene of passion… One deplorable thing. I deem it a waste of talent and a weakness to your story. It’s an entirely different thing to progress a romance throughout a story. I’ll explain.
Creating an intense scene of passion in your story is pointless, the scene itself serves no purpose in the story itself or in developing the characters. What the scene will do is limit your audience, (which is already limited due to the genre label), from all romance readers to only the age-appropriate ones. Also, in the mind of those to whom the scene itself would appeal, you can allude to the event yet never go into detail and your reader will imagine it as he or she sees fit. In that way, you are not responsible for the sinful thoughts that spur from the reading of such passages and you’ve still accomplished the purpose of the scene to those to whom it is directed. Discretion is the better part of valor and earns the respect of the reader.
Now, I don’t want anyone to think that these are my convictions for my own writing; no, mine are far more strict. This is simply my advice to those who intend to write such scenes anyway. I think it’s a watts of valuable time and words to go into detail on love scenes. In fact, in all of my lifetime and every project I’ve ever written, I’ve never once even come near to a, “love scene”.
I’m an action writer myself, but I love a building romance, something that moves with the flow of the story, with conflict and a entirely unique plot of its own.
The art of romance writing transcends the barrier of storyline.
This means that romance in a non-Romance novel, can have a seperate outline and objective of its own apart from the plot and theme of the story. Most often, the romance in the story compliments the objective of the main character and contributes to his/her motive and drive. Nevertheless, it is easy for the romance to overtake the story and become the only thing people see when they read your story; this is what is defined as a Romance novel. Your story, regardless of your intent, is classified by its readers for what they see in it. Thus, Romance novels exist because romance is their predominant theme.
So, how do you write good romance? Well, firstly, a good romance comes from a writers own sense of love and longing. Remember, as a writer, you are an artist, and as an artist, your emotions manipulate your creations. Everything you write derives its power, its skill, and its elloquence from what you know and feel about what it is you are writing about. If you truly desire after something or someone, then you know how to infuse your character with that same desire. Also, since each character is a part of their author and their author a part of them, that longing portion of you is embodied in the character itself. I expounded a bit on that in my “Insanity” post yeasterday.
Romance is best written by someone who has not yet experinced love. Now, stay with me. The mind of a writer, their imagination is their power, their personality, and the source from which all of their ideas flow. Therefore, the mind if their strongest asset. If a writer has never loved, his imagination then has to engage itself to imagine love for him. This way, the romance he creates to get to that love is unflawed and unmarred by past experiences; whether good or bad, those experiences will confine and taint the writer’s imagination, therefore limiting it and the writer.
If you noticed in that last paragraph, I said that romance is a path to get to love. That is a powerful, and rather controversial statement as long as you don’t factor in perspective. Romance is what I like to think of as the path to love, the journey it takes to find and build love, but not love itself. If two people love each other, and are married, the romance is ended, its goal was accomplished, its purpose fulfilled. With that in mind, the journey of romance in a novel is what we need to shoot for, not the passion, the lust, or the love scenes. Let’s purify our terms once again. Shake off the expectations of the world, and fall in love with romance once more.
As always, thanks for reading.
–the anonymous novelist