Friday, June 5, 2009

Blog Chain: Love is in the air

Sandra picked a series of difficult questions this time around.

Mary posted before me.

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.

It's probably just me, but I've always maintained "Long Road" is a love story. Not a romance.

And there's a difference. (I hope.)

It's in the definition of the romance genre. In a romance novel, some force -- whether internal (I hate you, you hate me) or external (our parents hate each other) -- keeps the hero and heroine from falling into each others arms until the last page of the book.
That doesn't happen in Long Road.

Heather's love for Nick does, however, drive her to the depths of despair and eventually leads her to . . .hmm, let's just say, equanimity. And there is definitely attraction between them.

The erotic attraction is not really evident through physical motion. The eros of their relationship is mostly backstory, which is sprinkled modestly throughout.

While there is steam in their relationship, it's also clear that the eros of Nick and Heather's relationship has evolved into agape. Each character selflessly sacrifices something huge for the benefit of the other.

Their sacrifices, however, bring about conflict that push the story forward.

It took me a long time to get over the idea that a love story didn't have to include bodice-ripping, face-sucking, tonsil-tickling scenes. For the longest time, I'd shunned the idea of starting the story with the two of them already married.

I mean, what's hot about that?

But then again, who said it shouldn't be hot?

As long as the hero and heroine are willing -- but struggling -- to make a sacrifice for their love, the story should work. I think watching the characters struggle through conflict is what makes any story with romance work.

My favorite fictional couples?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but Meggie and Ralph from The Thorn Birds.

Or how about Maggie and Eric in LaVeryle Spencer's "Bitter Sweet." (Talk about hot romance . . . someone call 911!)

If we're allowed to venture into romantic couples in movies, I'd have to be sure to mention Maria and Capt. Von Trapp in "The Sound of Music."

Now, head on over to Christine's blog to check out what she has to say.

And be sure to come back on June 15, when yours truly gets to pick the topic.


ElanaJ said...

Very good points. Romance is different from being romantic. And I don't know any of those couples. *hangs head* I really need to branch out in my reading.

Sandra said...

I agree that a love story and a romance are two different things. I also like the idea of starting the story while the characters are married. Most love stories focus on the early, falling-head-over-heels stage of a relationship; I think it's important to look at long-term relationships as well.

Anonymous said...

Nicely said Kat. What on earth an I going to say on seriously WHAT??? I had better go and RIGHT NOW....

gzusfreek said...

Kat, I can't wait to read this story! I heard a "technical" definition between love and romance stories - They said the romance had a happy ending.
Who knows.

I don't write romance, but there is attraction between characters for sure.

Great post!

Michelle McLean said...

yep, a romance has to have a happily ever after ending - which is probably why I like romances so much...I just like everyone to end up happy even if (or perhaps even more so when) they were endlessly tortured to get there.

And Maria and Captain von Trapp *le sigh* - and even better because it was a true story :D

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

It's funny I never thought of Sound of Music as a romantic story until I watched it when I got older. Probably because I was too busy singing along with Do-Re-Mi and wishing my mom would make me clothes out of the curtains;)

Annie Louden said...

Ah, love stories vs. romances. I think I'm more the love story type. I don't always want a happy ending.