I’ve got something on my chest. That means it’s time to ramble!
Happy Valentine’s Day, folks! This is the day for heart-shaped balloons, bouquets of roses, and the thoughts of all that chocolate that’s about to be on sale tomorrow. It’s also the perfect time of the year to talk about romance.
Don’t get me wrong, I love romance and shipping as much as the next girl. When you’re a bookwyrm who reads primarily YA fantasy, you know there’s going to be a fair amount of romance between characters.
But I’ve never been a fan of romance as a genre. It’s a fine genre, but I’m far more interested in adventures involving dragons, heart-stopping chase scenes, and out-of-this-world plots. When I compare all that excitement to a story based entirely around the question of will they/won’t they (and it’s typically unsurprising when it turns out that they will), romance seems a little bit low-stakes.
In fact, I’ve drafted an entire fantasy trilogy. The main love interests kissed, sure: in the last scene of the last book.
Fantasy Character (Male): I feel zero kisses toward you.
Fantasy Character (Female): I also feel zero kisses toward you.
Yeah, I might need to do some revisions.
Because I’ve come to realize that romance is an important part of a story. Not every story needs it, but I’ve read a few books that keep their stories interesting by maintaining high stakes.
What finally grabbed my attention? Well, when the plot is important to a reader, that usually means it’s important to some, if not most, of the prominent characters. When the plot revolves around romance, it’s no different. If a character cares enough about finding love, then I care too.
But love isn’t all there is to a person. The same should go for characters. I become invested if a character has more going on in their life, more struggles to overcome and demons to battle (and they don’t even have to be literal demons).
Through reading more romance, I realized that it wasn’t the romance itself that started to grab my attention: it was the way the authors managed to keep the stakes high by maintaining emotional investment. And that’s the exact ability I intend to practice!
Fantasy Character (Male): Oh no, I am starting to feel kisses toward you.
Fantasy Character (Female): Oh no, I also feel kisses toward you.
And there were kisses.
So, let this be a lesson to you, kids: You might think that writing romance into your story will give you cooties, but there’s always something more to learn. The risk of cooties is well worth the reward of learning new literary techniques.
Have a good weekend, my fellow bookwyrms! (And enjoy that discount chocolate.)