Topic: Writing romance
Writing romance is hard. The reader has to care about the characters and fall a little bit in love themselves as the story progresses. The obstacles the characters face have to be huge but not totally insurmountable. Besides the romance, there are typically other issues going on. The main character might be adjusting to a new job, or caring for ailing parents, or caring for a small child, or any number of matters that come up in a person's life. The tension has to rise steadily but not fall off too soon. Timing. Is. Everything.
I am by no means an expert on writing romance. I've read plenty of romance. I know what I like and don't like. But making it come to life for my characters is difficult. When I first wrote Shards of History, I had this idea of the main character, Malia, ending up with a particular person. But then somewhere along the way, this other guy popped up and kept waving his hands at me and suggested that maybe Malia should end up with him. And she agreed. How could they? I ignored them at first, cuz hey, didn't they get the game plan? Didn't they realize how things were going to be? Then my first readers let me know it wasn't working, so I did what I should've done before and let the characters determine with whom they'd end up. They know best, after all.
Why even write romance if it's so difficult? I suppose it's because we want somebody to love, and we want to be loved. And what about those feelings when you're falling for somebody? Falling in love means crazy butterflies in your stomach, feeling like you're on a roller coaster, the thrill of seeing that person or hearing their voice or feeling their fingers brush against your skin. Those are all good feelings, and it's nice to live them vicariously through characters.
People fall in love all the time--during wars, from afar, when they're young and when they're old, when they're with someone else, and sometimes when they're least expecting it. Love is wild and passionate and messy and tender. It provides loads of conflict and tension. It shows what your character is made of.
Writing romance in genre fiction provides its own difficulties in addition to all the usual ones that might be encountered. A human might fall in love with a werewolf or vampire or alien or superhero, which could make for some potentially awkward or unique or amazing moments. Somebody might have magical powers that could make love difficult (or more interesting, ahem). Genre romance could provide not only a different type of setting or people or creatures, but also different traditions when it comes to romantic relationships.
There are so many factors that go into writing romance. At least now I know to be more open to letting the characters fall for who they want. We all just want somebody to love, even fictional characters.
Like all Taakwa, Malia fears the fierce winged creatures known as Jeguduns who live in the cliffs surrounding her valley. When the river dries up and Malia is forced to scavenge farther from the village than normal, she discovers a Jegudun, injured and in need of help.
Malia’s existence — her status as clan mother in training, her marriage, her very life in the village — is threatened by her choice to befriend the Jegudun. But she’s the only Taakwa who knows the truth: that the threat to her people is much bigger and much more malicious than the Jeguduns who’ve lived alongside them for decades. Lurking on the edge of the valley is an Outsider army seeking to plunder and destroy the Taakwa, and it’s only a matter of time before the Outsiders find a way through the magic that protects the valley — a magic that can only be created by Taakwa and Jeguduns working together.
Now Malia is in a race against time. She must warn the Jeguduns that the Taakwa march against them and somehow convince the Taakwa that their real enemy isn’t who they think it is before the Outsiders find a way into the valley and destroy everything she holds dear.
Rebecca Roland lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she writes primarily fantasy and horror. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncle John’s Flush Fiction and in Stupefying Stories, and she is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop. When she’s not writing, she’s usually spending time with her family, torturing patients as a physical therapist, or eating way too much chocolate. You can find her online at Spice of Life, her blog, or follow her on Twitter @rebecca_roland.
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