Saturday, June 6, 2009

Blog Chain - Isn't It Romantic?

This round it was Sandra's turn to pick the topic, and she chose one that, as someone who writes a lot of romance, should have been easy for me. For some reason, it wasn't :) Be sure to head to Sandra's blog if you want to start the chain from the beginning. Christine posted before me and Elana is up next! Here are my thoughts on Sandra's question:

Do you write romantic relationships in your books? If so, what do you do to show the attraction between your characters? What problems do your characters encounter? What qualities do you think make a romantic relationship work in fiction? If you wish, feel free to include examples of your favorite couples.

I'm going to break it down and take each question one at a time....

Do you write romantic relationships in your books?

Yep, can’t help myself. Honestly, I’ve never tried to write a book that didn’t have romance in it – everything I’ve done so far has been specifically written as a romance something (a couple historical romances, a YA paranormal romance, a YA Urban Fantasy with strong romance elements). But I have a feeling anything I will write is going to have some romance in there somewhere.

If so, what do you do to show the attraction between your characters?

I try to just show the things we all experience when we are attracted to someone. I write YAs, and Christine pointed out how teenagers have that sort of obsessive/intense sort of romance. I may be getting older :D but I can still remember what it felt like when I was 16 and in love for the first time. That pounding heart, the total head rush when your love interest smiles at you or touches your hand. Even simple things like that, especially when you are in the first rush of a new love, can cause sparks to fly. I try to show that between my characters.

What problems do your characters encounter?

Well, for the paranormals and fantasies, they get to experience more interesting problems than just the normal, everyday type thing – so it can get fun. My couples also tend to be the good girl/bad boy type – so there are always problems when you have that kind of thing going on. I also try to just show real life type of issues that everyone can relate to. Maybe their families don’t get along, or the friends don’t approve, they come from opposite sides of the track, or maybe one of them is already attached.

The odd misunderstanding is always handy, though I try not to do that too often, because, really, while this does happen a lot in real life, it drives me a little nuts sometimes if the “misunderstanding” is too obviously contrived or just…well…stupid. I’m all for something like seeing your significant other locking lips with their ex (anyone watch Ugly Betty? The scene with Betty and Henry on the season finale that Betty’s boyfriend Matt witnesses. For those of you that didn’t see it, Betty meets up with her old boyfriend, her first love – they still love each other and always will, but she is in love with Matt and is happy with him. So they say goodbye – and they do kiss, but they are saying goodbye to each other forever…that kind of thing. But Matt sees it…and Betty chooses not to tell him about it. So, he understandably feels betrayed and that he can’t trust her and he breaks up with her.) That is a great conflict starter, a good misunderstanding where you can see both sides of what happened.

What qualities do you think make a romantic relationship work in fiction?

I think the same types of qualities that make a romantic relationship work in real life. Genuine love, understanding, compromise, the willingness to work on your relationship, to give in when you need to or stay firm when necessary, the true desire to see your partner happy and healthy, attraction for each other, laughter, at least one common interest :) You can stretch things sometimes in fiction, but at the end of the day, if it isn’t believable, it’s not going to work, no matter how odd or strange your storyworld or characters are. Your readers have to be able to connect to your characters and their relationships on some level.

If you wish, feel free to include examples of your favorite couples.

Oooo, there are so, so many – here are a few of mine:

Jamie and Claire Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.

Jocelyn and Trent from one of my favorite historical romances, The Braeswood Tapestry by Robyn Carr

Alex and Raine from the Wild Swan series by Celeste de Blasis

Westley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride

How about you? How do you add romance to your books? Or do you? And who are your favorite couples?


Anonymous said...

Nice post Michelle. I love the whole misunderstanding thing...that always works well in ficiton!

Elana Johnson said...

You should try writing something without romance. I did, once It sucked and I added some romance and then it was awesome! LOL. I agree that I just have to do it.

Unknown said...

Write something without romance? OMG, Elana, what were you thinking?

Great post Michelle.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Communication is important for relationships, so it's not surprising that misunderstandings can lead to big problems.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Oooh, The Princess Bride. I think I am the only person on the planet who loves the book and thinks the movie is just okay. But they are a great couple either way.

I've never tried writing without romance either, and have no intentions to.

Kathryn Hupp-Harris said...

Wesley and Buttercup! I forgot all about them.

I liked the book too Kate. Cary Elwes (Wesley) drives me crazy and not in a good way.


Great post, Michelle.

Annie Louden said...

I need to read the books you mentioned at the end. I'm not sure I've read a book that was specifically written as a romance something, and now, after the passionate way most of you talked about this subject, I want to see what I'm missing out on.