Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back on the Blog Chain: Romancing the Novel

June is named for Juno, Roman goddess of marriage, which is part of the reason why it's such a popular month for weddings. (Then again, we got married in September.) So even though I'm not a romance reader, I thought romance in fiction would be a good topic for this Blog Chain. Romance subplots are common in many types of books, not just the romance genre. However, sometimes when I read romantic subplots, I don't feel any chemistry between the characters; it's as if you could replace one of the characters and not affect the relationship. So, let's talk about romantic relationships in fiction:

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.

Before I continue, let's cue some theme music:

I've included romantic relationships in my books. In my Season Lord books, each of the Season Lords gets married. In my current novel, Across Two Universes, Paul romantically pursues his childhood sweetheart, Yvonne. She's pretty, of course, and she is the only eligible girl his age on the spaceship, but he has other reasons to go after her. He first declared his intent to marry her at five, and she refused by throwing ice cream in his face. Part of him still hasn't lived that down. Paul is straightforward about declaring his feelings for her, but since Yvonne feels that's coming on too strong, he has to learn to woo her more subtly. Yvonne has mixed feelings for Paul, but she is always concerned when he is threatened.

Paul and Yvonne are a typical example of a good girl-bad boy dynamic, and they do affect each other. Yvonne teaches Paul to rein in some of his worst impulses, and she provides a feminine side that he lost when his mother was murdered. In return, Paul's determination to pursue his own dreams helps Yvonne resist the influence of her relatives and figure out what she really wants out of life. But are their core values similar enough for them to succeed long-term as a couple? I'm not telling.

I like to read about couples who can work together as partners and fill the holes in each other's psyches. It's also good if they share a sense of humor. As a parent, I know these qualities are essential for a long-term partnership, especially if there are kids involved. Some books with romances I like include The Misted Cliffs by Catherine Asaro and The Time Traveler's Wife.

That's all I have for the moment. Head on over to Archy's blog for her thoughts on this subject. You can also find other members of the Blog Chain in the links in the sidebar.

P.S. This post is dedicated to my own friend and lover divine, Eugene.


Elana Johnson said...

This is a great question. I like including romance as a subplot in my novels. Even the ones I sternly tell myself that WON'T have romance, have romance. Le sigh. I guess I'm just a sap.

I tried The Time Traveler's Wife and couldn't get into it. Maybe I'm not as romantic as I think I am. ;)

Anonymous said...

What a great topic. I think romance is a nice add to any genre - as it can often help provide an emotional connection that runs deeper than some of the other plot elements - assuming the romance is handled well.

Eugene said...

Awwww, thanks hon ;)

Michelle McLean said...

ooo, great topic! As someone who started out writing historical romances, this should probably be an easy question for me to answer, yet I find myself still sweating bullets. LOL I know how I TRY to put the romance in...whether I succeed or not is a whole different story :D

Michelle McLean said...

p.s. I love that song!!! :D

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Awww, I love the dedication to your hubby!

Love the topic too! Not only do I always want to write romantic plots into my books, but I want them in everything I read as well. For me romance is the salt of good stories, it makes everything taste better!

Kathryn Hupp-Harris said...

oooh, I love a good romance.

Howard Jones . . . not so much, but that song sure takes me back.

Annie Louden said...

Yikes, this topic will be hard for me. I feel like I run away from romantic relationships in my stories.
*off to ponder*

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