On Love Polygons and the Big Kiss

This post is for the February 2012 edition of the Teens Can Write Too! blog chain. This month’s prompt was:

“What are your thoughts on romance for your typical genre? Do you tend to have a little, a lot, or none at all?”

 

Undoubtedly, my typical and favorite genre in both reading and writing is fantasy/sci-fi and its various derivatives, including but not limited to dystopian, steampunk, paranormal, epic fantasy, and macabre. While it is most certainly possible for these types of storylines to stand on their own merits, I always find them most enjoyable when there’s an element of romance lurking somewhere in the thick of the plot.

In reading these types of stories, I find that a touch of romance in the background–or even a broad brush of it in the foreground–adds that much-needed sense of humanity to the outlandish plot, particularly in YA. Even if a group of teenagers gets involved in a supernatural event of some sort, are they honestly expected to drop all hormones immediately and for all time? Let’s face it–it’s not going to happen. My taste for a bit of romance in reading is also fed by my own secret inner idealist (or hopeless romantic). This is the girl who doesn’t like animated Disney films. And you thought I was soulless!

Writing romance, however, is a whole other evil empire to be overthrown. Reading about love is easy–all you do is soak in someone else’s words. When one has no experience in these matters, as I do as of the posting date, it is decidedly difficult to write about it oneself. How are you expected to write about that fabled Big Kiss when, to yourself, it reminds just that–a myth? It’s like the Forever Alone guy handing out relationship advice. On the other hand, if I could only write just what I know, I would only be writing stories about single high schoolers who are told by their elders that their “intelligence is intimidating” but are probably just awkward weirdos.

So basically what I’m getting at is that the best I can do when writing romance is to take all I’ve read, watched, and heard from others, put them together in a big mental jumble, and use modified versions of the pieces that work best with the rest of the story. In a few years, I’ll probably read back the so-called romantic moments I write now and spray some beverage across the room from laughter.

The one thing I am confident about when writing romance is cliche avoidance. Love triangles featuring two badass guys and a weak-minded central female character have no place in my story, and neither do trouble-free InstaLUV tales. Love polygons of other sorts are acceptable, and two characters can fall in love quickly as long as there’s some amount of conflict later on. I’m chill with it as long as vampires and werewolves don’t both get involved.

Oh no! A Twilight reference! Everyone run for cover before she starts ranting!

All right, I can take a hint, you guys. Why don’t you check out the rest of the blog chain instead?

February 5– http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com –Novel Journeys

February 6– http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com –Lily’s Notes in the Margins

February 7– http://kirstenwrites.wordpress.com –Kirsten Writes!

February 8– http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com — Comfy Sweaters, Writing and Fish

February 9– http://delorfinde.wordpress.com –A Farewell to Sanity

February 10– http://thewordasylum.wordpress.com –The Word Asylum

February 11– http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com –From My Head

February 12– http://estherstar1996.wordpress.com –Esther Victoria1996

February 13– http://alohathemuse.wordpress.com –Embracing Insanity

February 14– http://greatlakessocialist.wordpress.com –Red Herring Online

February 15– http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com –Go Teen Writers (Honorary Participant)

February 16– http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com –This Page Intentionally Left Blank

February 17– http://oyeahwrite.wordpress.com –Oh Yeah, Write!

February 18–http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com –The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer

February 19– http://herestous.wordpress.com –Here’s To Us

February 20– http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com –Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)

 

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5 responses to “On Love Polygons and the Big Kiss

  1. Good post. I can’t say I agree, but I understand your views, especially on the writing part. If we only wrote what we knew, there would be no fiction and no fantasy, and what kind of a world would that be?

  2. I don’t like animated Disney films either. We can hang out together and not watch them. Doctor Who instead?

    I agree on the mental jumble thing. A lot of what I use to write ‘romance’ (heh) is from what I’ve observed of other people, and also what I’ve read and watched and imagined. Yes, I’ve imagined. Don’t we all? Coming back to it two years later, I’ve grown up from the girl who originally tried to write that stuff, and some of it isn’t that bad. Although, I think I underestimated how freaked out Jennie would be after what happens, so I tried to bring that out more in the more recent draft. I also think she wouldn’t be that comfortable around Alex after he kissed her when she wasn’t expecting it.

    It’s things like that that make you realise why often, young writers aren’t published, because they haven’t lived. And I know we all argue against this – we have lived, we can imagine, blah blah blah! However, some things can’t be understood until experienced, and I can say for myself that looking at Watching from two years ago, it would never have had a hope. I think it’s closer now, because I know more what I’m talking about.

  3. Nice post! I wish I was as confident as you about cliche avoidance. After reading all the posts in the blog chain I realized that the romance in my WiP is “perfect”, there are no arguments or anything. Oops.

  4. Writing romance is HARD. Whatever I do, I keep returning to that same, annoying InstaLUV. *shakes head* I agree with you for the most part, especially with the touch of romance adding a sense of humanity. Books without romance can still be good, but the right amount of romance definitely adds zest to any plot.
    Great post! But what else did we expect?
    🙂

  5. Well said! Am looking forward to exploring your archives …J

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