Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"We could talk about your feelings while we walk."

 For some reason this week has flopped. I am behind in writing, I've not edited. I have a ton of emails to answer, am behind on comments, and barely read anything. Also, I am behind on a secret project. I'm not even sure what happened. Nothing out of the ordinary accrued this week, it just decided to flop on me.
 But, that happens. I think it is just a reminder that life likes to do unpredictable things. Keeps us from getting board I suppose.

 I haven't got too behind though, which is nice. I am just one chapter off, which I might be able to make up for on Saturday. 

 I have been doing some research though so that might count as book work. A long time ago I wrote a book which two of my friends thought was the best thing since buttered bread. They convinced me it had to have romance in it. (Only I don't write romance, mostly because I have fond almost every romantic book I've ever read boring. Also, being the unromantic person I am, it makes things tricky.)

 But I told these two friends I'd do this one book romantic, just for them. Right now this book is sitting in a back document, waiting for it's turn to be re-re-re-re-re-re-re-written. But until I begin I've been pondering what makes a good romantic story, and what kind makes the reader roll their eyes and go, "Yeah right."

 I've not made it very far. I know one thing though, I don't like the romantic stories where the fellow loves the girl, and the whole world knows it, but he decides he fancies another girl instead. And you are left sitting there saying, in the words of Flynn Ryder, "Oh, come on!"

 And now I am curious. What do all of you think makes a good romance story? Do you like romantic books, or do you run from them as if they had the common cold? If you do like them, what kinds do you enjoy?

 That is all I have for now. So...quote is taken from Merlin. The one where Arthur goes off to save Gwen and he and Merlin are almost eaten by rats.




  1. I don't really read romantic stories. I like stories that have the romantic element in it, so long as it's done tastefully and not in a "Oh my gosh, could you be MORE painfully obvious about this romance?!?!" way. My kind of "romantic" books would be things like MIXED BLESSINGS by Marian Cockrell, or SORCERY AND CECILIA by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Just simple, nice romance intermixed lightly with action and crazy day-to-day life. Also, HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE, and FIRE AND HEMLOCK, both by Diana Wynne Jones. :D

  2. I like it when romance is not the point. Jane Austen wrote Pride and Predjudice as satire of the social structure of that time. Northanger Abbey was a spoof of a gothic story. I would love to read a modern Jane Austen-style book.

    ~Robyn Hoode

    1. I need to read Northanger Abbey. I think I would like it, and my friend said I'm a lot like the main character.

      I hate it when romance is the stories plot. I always give up on books like those. It is more fun when it is just on the side or in the back.

  3. Romance is a tricky thing. I have a story that I keep telling myself isn't a's about tons of other things--exciting, spying things! But my boy and girl characters sort of fall in love. And I just can't write it! I don't know what it is, but I'm pretty rubish at setting a good romantic scene.
    But what I look for in something romantic? Er...usually humor. I like it when the characters have good chemistry and the romance just sort of happens. I don't like overly dramatic romance. I like almost side-line romance. Does that even make sense?


  4. Hmmm...romance? There is most certainly a place for it in literature. But advice from me really wouldn't work well in this situation =P (not that it ever does).
    If I were to spew a romance idea out, it might look something like this: *ahem*

    Guy likes girl
    Girl is hesitant to like guy back
    Girl plays racket ball with guy's heart
    Guy mopes (because having someone play racket ball with your heart is painful)
    Girl mopes (out of confusion, because girls cry when they're confused)
    Girl suddenly falls deeply in love with poor, moping, and very distraught guy


    Haha. No. Don't do this Jack. Make it real, but make it confusing. Because that kind of romance is.
    ---confusing, I mean.
    (and awkward)

  5. "What is it going to take to get my satchel back?!" (frying pan) "I will use this."

  6. I used to be a die-hard-I-hate-romance kind of person. But I got converted *totally sheepish look here* I like it now. ;) So, what really makes me like a romance aspect in a book? If the couple stays together! I know things will break them up (and it better, or it's not a good romance). But I really appreciate and love it when they argue and fight and go spastic...but no other love interests come between them. Yeah? Good luck! :P I totally added romance in one of my novels just because my friend told me I should. Now I'm rethinking how badly I did it.

  7. You're asking the wrong person about romance! I guess as long as it's not over the top.

  8. I thought a long time about all the romances I've enjoyed and what made them enjoyable. (There weren't many, I'll tell you). But what I've decided is that the key to a romance is sincerity.

    What I like about Jane Austen's Emma is that Mr. Knightley loves Emma so much that he is willing to rebuke her when she makes a mistake, even if it hurts her feelings. He'd rather she be a better person than a spoiled girl that likes him because he flatters her. Also, Austen is not overly descriptive ("she stared longingly into his deep, expressive blue eyes, and a tiny sigh escaped her lips..."). She doesn't use adjectives to describe Mr. Knightley's feelings for Emma, and she doesn't even really talk about his emotions. Instead, she lets his actions be the evidence for how much he loves her.

    As for creating tension and suspense, I think as long as the two love interests have sufficiently differing opinions about something, then there's plenty of material for misunderstandings, arguments, and miscommunication. In Emma, Mr. Knightley and Emma disagree very strongly about what's best for Harriet Smith. Emma thinks she should be brought into higher society and marry a rich but rather ungentlemanly man, but Mr. Knightley knows that the honest, hardworking farmer is better for her. So he and Emma argue about this a lot throughout the book.

    On the other hand, they shouldn't be too sensitive. If they get mad at each other or have their feelings hurt over every little thing, it's unbelievable and annoying.

    I don't really know anything beyond that. I hope it helped and that it made sense!

    Oh, and one more thing about Mr. Knightley. He's not totally obsessed with Emma. He is still courteous and takes an interest in everyone around him, whether it's Emma's hypochondriac father or the lonely girl in the corner with no one to dance with. So I think, even if the book is mainly romantic, the characters should have other aspects of their lives that they deal with.

    Okay, I'm done!

  9. Ok. Read the book "Catriona" (also named "David Balfour"). Seriously! That book is more of a "romantic" book, but since it was written from a guy's perspective (I love RLS!) it's not boring or lame like a lot are.

    Actually, that book is my favorite 'romantic' book, but like I said it's written SOOOOOOO well!! Unfortunately, school is glaring at me, so I can't comment any longer -- just wanted to suggest that!

    Sorry for the abruptness of this comment. :(


    P.S. "You didn't know?? Oh! What's that wilderan eating - oh, it doesn't matter, it's only Merlin!" *giggle*

  10. Okay, here's another thing that I would love... a Sherlock style romance... and by that, I mean a man who thought that he could never be in love, was 'divorced' from his feelings (even though real love is an action in someone's best interest and not a feeling at all), and it's completely unbelieveable that he was even capable of love... until she showed up... someone who stole his heart.

    ~Robyn Hoode

    1. *Whistles innocently.* Actually, I've sort of done that, and it was a great deal of fun. Kind of like torturing the character, but he gets something nice out of it in the end.

  11. Me likey Robyn Hoode's idea (except that I'm using it at the moment already...heeehee.) Even though I wouldn't say I write "Romance" or, I didn't set out to, anyway- my books always end up so because I have some weird impulse to marry off all my characters. Half the time it's completely unintentional. I always create two different secondary characters somewhere, and then halfway through the book they meet (even when I didn't intend them to) and they realize they're perfect for each other about the same time I do.
    But I like books when Romance is more of an add-on, where there's a bigger plot and the characters just happen to fall in love along the way. One thing I DON'T like is where there are two guys vying for one girl. I either like both of them and feel bad for the guy who doesn't get her, or I dislike one of them and become annoyed that the girl is even considering that one. So I usually avoid books with *that* type of romance (I've only read one or two of those that I actually like)

    I used to hate romance books, actually...I'm totally a romance convert now, though. ;)

  12. Dear Jack,

    I would never read a book for romance alone. I like my romance best when it is so well hidden that it cannot possibly be awkward. I like it when it is pushed to one side in favor of adventure and swashbuckling deeds. So, if you must put romance in your story, then try to let it take second or tenth place to other, more important elements.

    By the way, I have friends like yours, and I usually just put a dash of non-important romance in to please them.

    Also, I like your new blog background.

  13. Very cool blog. Interesting posts. ;)
    Nice atmosphere guests with you here on the blog. ;]
    Yours. Have a nice day. !

    Follow me on facebook fanpage and blog
    I'm very concerned about this, please. :)

  14. I'm sorry you've had one of those weeks. (said 'those' in dire and disgusted tones) As it is, I've been lagging in school, which is a pain, because I need to be done by May so I can go to Idaho and graduate. Growl.

    I'm a romantic. I love romances. BUT they have to be GOOD romances. Not like the creepy and rather immature ones that people think teenagers should have these days. No no no. I like more old-fashioned romances.... My ideals are the ones that are cute and come slowly. (This comment is starting to stop making sense.) But you wrote a good romance between Isadore and Lisbeth: it was subtle.

    Ummm... My favorite books with a touch of relationships in them are these. They're all brilliant.

    Lark- By Sally Watson (it's kind of hard to get a hold of, but definitely worth it. Everyone in my family love it. :)

    The Sherwood Ring- Elisabeth Marie Pope (Same thing... you ought to love Peaceable. And Pat.)

    Sorcery and Cecilia: or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot- By Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

    Dragon Slippers- Jessica Day George.... Also, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, by the same person. The only problem I have with those is she doesn't go quite far enough developing it. (though I'd rather that than going too far.)

  15. I like romance in stories but it has to be handled well. I hate it when the character HATE each other and then suddenly "We are in love" I also hate unrealistic love (Twilight for example) and its annoying when Love is thrown into a story because ALL STORIES MUST HAVE ROMANCE!!! I have trouble with Love Triangles - (Such as Arthur, Gwen, Lancelot or John, Amy, Arthur)because someone is always disappointed. I liked Tangled's love story and I like The Ponds love story. I have a soft spot for love story "The Sherwood Ring" it is brilliant- so go for it! I trust you with love.

    God Bless

    PS - I love that part in Merlin. Arthur looks so upset - and then he says "Shut up Merlin." And Merlin rolls his eyes :-)

  16. Getting behind on editing...I am way too familiar with the feeling.

    Hmmm...I don't go out of my way to read romance, but when I do read something that is blatantly slapped with romance, it typically falls into one of these categories:
    A. Retelling of old fairy tale- Ella Enchanted, Fairest, or the movie Ever After come to mind
    B. Someone made me read it- The Summoning (eurgh)
    C. I didn't realize it was romance until after getting sucked in- Burn by Ted Dekker and that one lady whose name I forget, Mortal by Ted Dekker/Tosca Lee, et cetera.
    If you can keep a substantial plot outside of Boy and Girl are in Love, then you have, in my mind, made a successful love story. If it can make me smile without making me uncomfortable, bonus points. If they manage to not be all 'AHH SMOOCHEY SMOOCHEY' the majority of the book, even more bonus points.
    And please, No. More. Love. Polygons. (I don't think triangles suffice anymore with the warped things I've seen in some books.)
    I think the reason so many books aren't as good is because they have a strong romantic element. It's hard stuff to write, if I do say so myself.

  17. A romance? I'm not much good at those either. But I do know what I like about them and what I don't. I normally don't like the genre of romance; I prefer it when romance is sprinkled into the plot of a differnet book. But one thing that I love is when it's funny. :) Of course. And it can't have a lot of kissing. Yuck. :P Especially at the beginning, because then they kiss every five pages and it gets so cliched. But if it's hilarious, I will normally like it beyond almost any other 'faults.' Unless it's cheesy, or makes overused jokes. I guess that would be a cliched joke. :P But that's all I have for now. Have fun! And maybe it was an unproductive week, but you got some rest. And you read a book. For me, I can't write stories unless I read/watch/hear stories. Story in story out. So if I'm reading a book, I am too working. It's called, uh, research? ;)

    1. I avoid the romantic genre as well. I'd rather not read then read one of those. (If one wished to torture me, that'd be a good way. I just can't seem to endure them.)

      Oh, funny romance is such fun! I've read some like this and it is very enjoyable.

      And aye, I agree, no kissing first off in the book because that is all they do then 8-P.

      Aye, that is the best part of being an author. Reading counts as work. *Grin*

  18. I'm having a flopped month. I'm supposed to be getting back into schoolwork (math mostly, blah) but instead.... I'm being a lazy bum about it. At least I'm getting all my homework for my classes done (which really isn't too hard... It's the math!).

    Good job on getting some stuff done, though! And a secret project... Ooooo. =D

    What makes a good romance? Hum.... I have no idea. I know what doesn't make a good romance. Maybe that will give me some ideas.
    Love triangles are waaay overdone.
    Also girl-dressed-up-as-boy falls in love with actual boy gets kind of tedious after awhile (although really, I don't mind that one so much... Especially when it's played for laughs).
    I absolutely HATE love stories where the girl is all stuck up and is made to work with a down-to-earth guy who doesn't know the first thing about anything (except that one thing that he's exceptionally good at). Then the girl falls in love with the guy... And has decide between all her stuck-up friends or the guy... Ugh. Basically, avoid any Disney Channel romances. That's pretty much what happens in every stinkin' movie and show from Disney Channel.
    Also, if all the characters have in common is their mutual attration (*cough cough* lust *cough cough*), that makes a pretty stupid story because it's so unrealistic.
    HOWEVER. All that being said... Everything, save the Disney Channel romances, can be great if it is played for laughs. Like, if the person writing the story knows how cliche he/she's being but does it anyway to be an annoying author.
    Kind of like The Princess Bride.
    What do I like in romances? Hmm... Friends first is nice (but not the she's-my-fried-and-I-don't-want-to-break-that-bond-nevermind *start making out* stuff. That's almost as bad as the Disney Channel stuff sometimes). When the guy really loves the girl but is very respectful. When the girl is strong, but not totally "I'm Superwoman! I don't need your help!"
    You have a great story when the lovers are respectful to each other. Take Jane Austin and all those books for example.
    Yup. I don't know what else to say. Because I am totally awful at writing romances and probably end up writing cliche stuff all the time... Heh. Plus I have really strong personal beliefs on dating and marriage and stuff. So I'm not the one to ask, really. Maybe.

  19. I've been focusing more on school than on writing this week, so I don't have much to show, either (though I have done something every day. I just haven't done very much.)

    I frankly find marriage counselling books a great resource for writing believable romance.


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