Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Great Unknown (ok maybe more of a mediocre unknown)

I’ve been doing something lately that has been, well, agonizing. I’ve been writing outside my genre.

No, I haven’t given up on Science Fantasy (genre of choice, really). Nor have I given up on my current project, but while looking it over, I realized something. My story had a really big subplot: Romance.

Now, I’m not sure why I didn’t see this earlier, but there’s some major romance going on between two of the characters, and without the whole romance thing, there’s really very little motivation for the MC. I sort of brushed that under the rug the last time I tackled this project, but it leaves me in a pretty sticky situation: I have to write romance, at least, a little romance.

And I have no idea what I’m doing.


I have no idea how romance novels keep things going with just a couple trying to get together with a few things between them. I mean really? REALLY? Is that what they do?

Oh yeah, and I’m about as under-qualified to write romance as I am to conduct brain surgery (though I do know more about the brain than I do about romance, so that might not be a fair analogy).

Then, worse, at right around the 1/3 mark, the book goes from being a sweet romance with dabbling in magic to action adventure/sword and sorcery with the MC going off to save the guy she loves (hence the need of the romance section) who’s now working for the bad guy (under duress of magic spell). And here’s where the doubts go from “Well, I don’t really know what I’m doing, but people can be n00bs,” to “My readers are going to hate me for luring them in with a girly girl story, and ending with a Micheal Bay action flick (less boobs more dragon, but a Michael Bay FX budget for sure).”

This really sounds like an IWSG post. Sorry about that. I’m just trying to wrap my brain around the genre bending The advice is that I have to write the book that only I can write. Well, here it is. No one else is going to write a girly girl Michael Bay book.

No one but me.

But will anyone want to read it besides me?

Right, well that’s a question that’s pretty unfair because the book doesn’t exist yet (though you can see it’s marching right along in the sidebar over there). So instead, a fair question. If you were only ever going to read one romance novel EVER, what would you pick? I know a bunch of you write romance, and I’m very interested in your answers because it’s clear I need to do some research (and if you can’t narrow it down to one, go ahead and list your top five, even if one of them is Sailor Moon… hmm, Sailor Moon is almost girly girl Michael Bay; I’ll have to keep that in mind).

Right, back to work.


  1. I contend that nearly every story is a romance, or has some thread of romance as the underlying plot. Star Wars? Han Solo and Princess Leia. Star Wars prequels? Anakin Skywalker and Princess Amidala.
    Lord of the Rings? Aragorn and Arwen.

    I don't think it's such a stretch that a romance would be blooming in sci-fi. The really good stories have a bit of everything in them.

    Okay, you have Predator...it has zero romance. And it's classic, but not at the level the above are...maybe if they had added a bit of the mushy stuff, it might be.

    1. Yeah, but the whole first part of the book is before magic and swords and dragons, that's the part I'm not so good at. That's the part that scares me. That's sort of why I'm writing it, though. I mean, talk about the experience. And I need to pull some of the action from acts II and III into act I... But that's what a rewrite is for.

  2. I love romance, but don't often enjoy the genre because there's not enough going on. However, I love other things with a heavy romance subplot, which is sort of what it sounds like you have. The main plot might be to save the world, but the romance gives your heroine a reason to try.

    Good romance is always about two people coming together, something I find fascinating. Think about people in real life. Think about how different we are--our beliefs, our cleaning habits, our aspirations...it's amazing people stay together. Most people have lots of reasons not to be together; romance is about a couple finding the few reasons they need.

    One thing that helps me is try not to think of it as a ROMANCE. Think of it as conflict. Character A and Character B want to get together, but there are internal/external things stopping them.

    Keep up the great work! It sounds interesting!

  3. Every story has a romance in it somewhere. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, even Steven Segal movies. Go with it and tell the story.

  4. i love a story with a lot going on! smash up those genres! as long as its exciting, it will be great!

  5. I'm a bit late reading this, but my advice is write the story of the two characters, but don't worry if it lives up to the romance genre. This is your story and you can write it anyway you want. If it's a subplot, you'll have lots of other stuff going on that will naturally get in the way of their happy ever after!


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