Romance. (And what the crap is my problem?)

I'm frustrated with myself. This last week has been horrible (and not in a complain-y kind of way, it's been my own fault). I feel like my life has been falling apart, and I've been letting it. I don't want to repeat too much from previous posts, but Writer's Depression and plain-old laziness have been beating me over the head. I've spent entirely too much time with our new computer and video games, or watching Netflix mindlessly. I haven't followed through with my goals, and it feels awful.

It's hard to shake off the shackles of self-doubt and complacency. I need to remember what I really want in life, and do what needs to be done to attain it. I will never get a book published if I don't stick to it. I won't succeed in college if I don't work at it. Both school and writing are hard, and I'll admit that I don't like to do hard things, but the end-result is well worth the journey. I just need to keep reminding myself of that. Enough on that. I think I may write a little bit about romance today.

Too young for romance?
Romance is something that you will find in most books on some level. I don't mind reading romantic sub-plots within a larger vessel, but when it overwhelms the rest of the story, that's when I gag just a little. I think many fantasy books strike a good balance with some exceptions. (I'm looking at you Terry Goodkind. And no, I don't consider Twilight to be fantasy, so let's just ignore that completely.)

When I first decided to write, I knew there would have to be some kind of romance, though I didn't relish the thought of actually writing it. My first book was to feature a female protagonist, and I was a little wary of writing romance from a girl's perspective. As you might know, that book never made it past the first third, and the actual romance was never written. In "The Sometimes Sword" I also knew I had to have some kind of love story (Becky was quick to remind me how much she liked that sort of thing), but I didn't want to have anything mushy. I was going to be writing young teen protagonists after all. So from the get-go, I knew I had to find that balance in a way that would seem natural, satisfy my readers, and at the same time, not make me want to puke while I was writing it. (You may begin to see a pattern here. I don't like the mushy stuff.)

The first order of business was easy: who is going to be romantic with who? My male and female protagonists were the obvious answer. However, their ages were slightly problematic. Though I started out with my male protagonist as age 12, he quickly moved to age 17, and so did my female protagonist. 17 is a better age to introduce love, but still quite young. So I thought back to when I was in high school, and realized that kids that age do "fall in love", it's just different from adult love, almost... unpracticed.

From there I decided to keep things light, maybe highlighting some of the awkward things two kids shoved together think about as they realize they like each other. I had so many books to use as bad examples (see: Twilight) and several as good examples, such as Fablehaven and Harry Potter. Young people can fall in love, but they don't need to be obvious about it, they don't need to have sex, they don't even need to kiss their love interest right off the bat.

It was important to me at the very beginning to have potential readers of the target age have realistic and healthy relationships displayed to them. Now, I have no delusions that anything I write will ever be read by anyone, just hopes that it will. If not this book, then one in the future, and it makes sense to start good writing habits now.

I'll admit, since the start of the book, the importance of the "love story" within has grown, but it's still muted, and stays within proper age limits. The goal is to remain well-rounded, and just like with character and plot, romance is an important focus as well.


  1. Anonymous5:28 PM

    I hate love triangles...Novels need some kind of love, but I really hate love triangles.

  2. I agree. Love triangles are overused. When it comes to love or romance, I prefer less drama, and more realism. Triangles have neither.