Thursday, June 4, 2009

Isn't It Romantic?

Light some candles, scatter some rose petals, and then sit down with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. It's time for another blog chain and this time the topic centers around romance.

Specifically the questions posed by Sandra are:

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.

Wow. That is a lot of questions - so lets break this down so I don't miss any.

Do you write romantic relationships in your books?

My answer to the first question is easy. YES!!!! Of course, I do. I LOVE romance. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.

Just so we're clear.

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

Mostly they argue a lot before giving into a passionate kiss. Okay, not really, but kind of.

I mean, it's not:

HIM: I hate you.
HER: Not as much as I hate you.
Cue the swelling music as they kiss.

Clearly, there are no music cues in novels. Also, I like to believe that my dialogue is a bit more subtle.

No, seriously, I try to show that the characters are drawn to one another despite themselves. Even though there is every reason to be apart, they keep finding a way to come together.

What problems do your characters encounter?

Usually I like to find both internal and external reasons to keep my love interests apart. In the post before mine Carolyn touched on this as well.

For example, in my first novel, which was a contemporary romance, the external problem was that she worked for him. The internal problem was that he was distrusting after being burned before, and she always wanted to play it safe and not take chances.

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

I think tension is the key.

Although the "I hate you" scene I sketched out above is twenty different kinds of lame, even worse would be a scene where the characters were instead declaring their mutual love for one another. There is no conflict in that, unless one of them (or both, I suppose) is holding a knife behind his/her back.

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

I do wish to include them.

So, okay, well besides the hero and heroine in every romance novel I've ever read... let me think.

-Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice

-Buffy and Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Clearly, not a novel, but a BRILLIANT relationship dynamic. If your familiar with the show all I have to say is, end of season 2. Amazing.)

-Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester

-Wall-E and Eve (They have been playing this on Starz since the past weekend, and I have never been so touched by robots in love.)

I know there are more that I am forgetting, but it is late and my brain is denying me access to crucial memory chambers where I have further information stored. Feel free to help me out in the comments by naming some of your favorite romantic couples, or just your thoughts on romance in literature.

And if you want to read more of this blog chain, check out Carolyn who was before me over at Archetype Writing or head on over to Mary's blog because she is up next!


  1. Tension is a must in romance. The more the better!

  2. I love the attraction and tension more than when they actually get together! LOL!

  3. The push/pull of tension and attraction is great. Nice post Kate!

  4. That was some great insight into the way you write! I love the love, too!

  5. I guess I need to argue with my husband more often. We'd make a boring fictional couple! ;)

  6. Every romantic encounter in my book includes large amounts of tension. Either my relationships are forbidden or impossible. I suppose that makes it a bit more exciting :D

  7. Great answers! I love, love, love romance. Sigh. The more conflict and tension, the more fireworks in the kiss. LOL!

  8. HIM: I hate you.
    HER: Not as much as I hate you.
    Cue the swelling music as they kiss.

    I'm not a huge fan of the TV show Frasier, but this reminds me of a rerun I saw of that show. Kelsey Grammar's character had to deal with this economist who was a frigid snit of a woman.

    They ended up in the same room arguing over something stupid, and all of a sudden Frasier says: "Are you as turned on as I am?" He grabs her, kisses her and she slaps him with a sexual harrassment suit.

  9. Jody - I agree, that is what makes most romances so hard for me to put down!

    Jennifer - It is so true, and in some books when the hero and heroine get together too soon I often find myself getting a little bored!

    Christine - Push/Pull is a perfect way to put it!

    Cindy - I wish everyone loved the love too;)

    Sandra - I think most healthy and functional couples would be very boring to write about.

    Marybeth - Impossible of forbidden are the two best things for a relationship to be - just look at Romeo and Juliet!

    Jessica - Your sigh totally sums things up for me - that is exactly how I feel about reading romance.

    Kat - LOL, the sexual harrassment suit is actually a pretty funny twist on that whole cliche. Thanks for sharing!

  10. That's so pretty :)

    Happy blogoversary!

  11. First off, I love your little scene. I think that actually happens in my book... LOL.

    Tension is key, as it exists in almost every relationship.

    Great post! I love reading your blog. :D

  12. I'm reminded of the dialogue from Princess Diaries 2:

    Her: I loathe you.
    Him: Well, I loathe you.
    Her: I loathed you first!
    Grabs her and kisses her.

    Personally, I thought it worked just great! But only because of the backstory and the underlying chemistry between the characters.

  13. so, ummm, do you like romance? ;-D and yep, I agree with your post and the comments everyone has posted...conflict, tension, attraction...I'm seriously going to have to go read a few books - this topic is making me crave some good ol' romance :)

    And WallE and EVE *sigh* so cute :D

  14. Teena - Thanks for happy anniversary wishes - I actually totally forgot that it was happening!

    Elana - Hee hee - yeah, I think we've all written variations of that scene before.

    KM - I've never seen the Princess Diaries, but I actually think when it is done a bit tongue in cheek the "I hate you" scene can actually be quite charming.

    Michelle - Hmmm... so maybe I was a little too obvious about my fondness for romance;)

  15. I'm thinking late night/tired brain posts are the most funny.

    I was a bit annoyed with Wall-E and Eve. Just a lot of synthesized "Wall-Eeeee!" "Eeeeevvvvve!" happening back and forth.

    But, your love of love is a bit contagious, and I have some books to check out.