Friday, June 26, 2015

The Awkwardness of Writing Romance

Storyboard for The Queen Animated Trailer
"How do you write romance?"

I often get asked this question by people who know me, because they simply don't understand how it's possible. Now, I'm not too offended, because it's easy to see how there's a mystery.

I've been raised in a traditional family, my father is a pastor, and I have taken an oath to remain a virgin until marriage. I don't dabble in anything half way or get too physically close and try to shortcut. As a matter of fact, I've actually never been kissed and I may wait until my wedding day for it. I'm undecided on the matter. Now, it's not that I'm an old maid. I am very welcome to romance, marriage, and especially having a family. If the right man comes along, I say let's not waste time!

So it's not really so much about writing the romance. The question is really how is it possible that I write kissing scenes and so on.

But if you read Sunrise Sunset, The Queen, or Almost Alive, you wouldn't suspect that the plot was the only thing I was making up. 

Of course I have sources that I can ask, or questions I can google, or I can re-watch a scene from The Vampire Diaries or another show. But I never get too deep into describing something physical, because that's a personal choice. I would rather let someone's imagination wander or stop, because it's sort of a private matter to me, I suppose.

However, my characters are deeply connected and rather intimate at times. I do this by focusing on the emotional development of the situation rather than the physical manifestation. I could choose to write something vulgar, but I instead choose to write how the two characters are feeling in the moment so it can evolve their relationship instead of being general smut. There's still enough explanation as to what's going on so you know it's a make out scene or leading into sex, but no more than that. 

I don't want to feel guilty about a young lady reading my books. I don't want parents to feel like I've gone too far and they can't trust me with the innocence of their child

As far as the very cute and endearing relationship between Roxy and Adam from Sunrise Sunset, or the sarcastic and dramatic relationship between Michelle and Julian from Almost Alive, I let these voices speak uniquely to each other. When I begin a story, I don't know how it's gonna end, but I know my characters and how they would react. They have their own voices, and I don't have to really think too much on how they would react. It sort of just flows together, as well as their dialogue and actions with one another. I let them live and breathe through my fingertips. 

I suppose it's nothing different than a relationship in real life. If you want a stable relationship, you have to come to terms with who you are first before you can learn who you are with someone else. Recognize the voice of your characters and when they are thrown in together, it should be easy to see how they interact with one another.

I think the dialogue between characters are so much more powerful than just making two people hump to death or suck face all the time. Obviously, we're talking about books. From a visual standpoint, I remember when I saw The Watchmen and I was so grossed out how Nite Owl and Silk Spectre continuously kept having sex, even though they really didn't seem to care for each other. They even left out one final sex scene that was in the comic book. If the point was that they were sluty, I got that. If they were supposed to connect on a deeper level because they had sex, it didn't happen for me. When I compare that to a Dove deodorant commercial with a groom tenderly nuzzling his bride's arm while they both blissfully smiled, I got so much more of a reaction from the sexy subtleness of that commercial than that Rated R film, or even most television shows that I watch. It was tender, very intimate, and left a lot up to imagination before it got too much deeper. I admire that, and I suppose that's the approach that I prefer to take.

Readers need to be engaged and invested in the journey of two people. One reason why so many women like the two opposites or the two people that are the same and clash because they're so stubborn is because they are bantering back and forth all the time (hopefully it's witty and entertaining) and sexual chemistry is evident. I enjoy the sexual chemistry between my characters Lyla and Adam and the no slack attitude between Rose and Austin from The Queen.

Characters that are sweet need to play greatly to the imagination of a woman. Too many women fantasize about a bad boy turning good, but there are women that like to root for a sweet boy like Austin's rival, Noah, or Edward Cullen. Of course, if your heroine does anything wrong, she won't deserve this perfect guy.

In conclusion, I would say never write something that you would be uncomfortable with. Make a relationship moment monumental to the plot and not a throwaway fluff piece because of the heck of it. Make sure that your characters are being true to what you've established them to be.

That's what works for me.

1 comment:

  1. You're right. The best writing evokes imagination and imagery, and elicits an emotion. It's often best to give just enough for the reader to imbue the imagery with their own experiences and imagination to make it real enough to elicit emotion. Too much of the wrong details can distance the reader from the image. :-\