The Two Questions With… Blog tour is winding down. You will still be able to catch up, or read them from beginning to end on this blog here, and on the blogs of the other writers.
*Every Monday in February we, a small, romantic, group of writers, will tour each other’s blogs and answer questions about writing romance. Stop by often, as the answers are sure to fill you with loving warmth – if not raise your pulse a little…
Who is this lovesick bunch you may ask?
This, last, time around, what I’m going to do is recap all of the previous week’s questions!
Additionally, because we had so many good questions to begin with, I’m going to include a Bonus Two Questions at the end of this post!
Here were the two questions that kicked off the Blog Tour at Janet Walden-West ‘s website:
Q. What is your favorite romance trope to read; frenemies-to-lovers, second-chance romance, fake marriage, or forbidden love?
A. I’m going to say “Forbidden love.” I often find this trope frustrating, but regardless of whether or not it’s done well, frustration is a part of the game, especially when things like class, or social status get in the way.
From my perspective as a reader, these things seem so nebulous, but they aren’t. Not to the characters, not to the society. Those things are pretty important, and it’s an entertainment all in itself to see how the author goes about working around such things.
When it’s done well, there are several payoffs: There’s the point where they overcome their – and I’m going to call it conditioning here.
They overcome their conditioning and admit that there are feelings there.
There’s the point where they start to act on those feelings.
And there’s the point where they come together, either because the ramifications of such a relationship no longer matter, or the characters come together despite them.
Reading that, there’s a damned intense sense of triumph that I feel on behalf of the characters that is hard to match in other tropes.
Q. What opportunities does writing SF/Fantasy give the romance writer to explore romantic relationships?
A. On a trope level, you know that you’ve got the inevitable journey that the characters have to go on that is a common element of Science Fiction/Fantasy stories. This gives you an opportunity to put these two characters into a place where they can’t, really get away from each other. There’ll be good days, bad days, places where you can see where personalities mesh, and where they grind. You can play around with how each character deals with that.
On a higher level, the author can explore “Crunchier” topics, like interracial relationships, same sex relationships, etc. Sci-Fi and Fantasy make it easy to set the stage and then get down and roll around in all of the trials and troubles that can come with such a relationship, without making it seem like you’re trying to force-feed your reader.
These next Two Questions were from my appearance at K Bird Lincoln ‘s site:
Q. What’s the UF romance trope you wish would just go away: fated mates a la shifter romance or December/May a la vampire?
A. Of the two, I think I’m the most done with the “Fated Mates” trope. That kind of thing has a tendency to take agency away from characters. Why would a character decide that they’d rather be with someone else, when this relationship is “Meant to be?”
It also lets your reader off the hook. They don’t need to worry about IF the characters will get together, they only looking for the WHEN.
Worse, it can lead to more problematic situations where one half of the relationship refuses to take “No.” for an answer. They can be ok with unacceptable behavior, because they are “Fated” to be with the object (and at this point, the other half of the “Relationship” ceases to be a person. They become a prize) of their affections. The ends justify the means…
No they don’t. Not ever.
Q. Slow burn or insta-love?
A. I prefer a slow burn. I think that we’re all familiar with the concept of “Love at First Sight,” and I think – on some level – that we’d all like to experience that. But that, necessarily, cuts out great chunks of storytelling opportunity.
With a slow burn, you get to “See” the magic happen. As you read – and, indeed, as you’re writing – you get to experience that first meeting. You can see the relationship grow from strangers, to acquaintances, to friends, to…something more. If you’re real careful, you can look back and find that one moment. The glance, the expression, that touch where friendship turns to love.
Here are the Two Questions from my appearance at Anne Raven ‘s site:
Q. How do you tackle romantic elements in your writing?
A. Whoo. Up until this most recent manuscript, I hadn’t even tried. Recognizing that as an opportunity to add to my writerly toolbox, I sat down to specifically incorporate romantic elements in this next work.
Here’s what I did: I focused on reading stories that had romantic elements. I talked to writers of romance, picked their brains about how they do what they do. As it turns out, for romances, there is an underlying skeletal structure. It’s not the same for every book, just like my skeleton isn’t exactly like yours.
Now I wasn’t setting out to write a full-blown romance, so I didn’t use the entire structure, but it gave me a reference that I could – loosely use.
During the actual writing, I drew heavily on memory. Granted, the lens of memory loses focus the farther away a memory gets, but I don’t need the detail – I need the feelings associated with those memories.
That’s what I try to get on the page. My internal reactions, mixed with sensory input that the characters are experiencing in their environment.
How does that work? I won’t be able to tell you until I get my MS back. I hope I stayed true.
Q. When writing fantasy/UF/paranormal romance or any genre really, how important are the romantic arcs, or how much page time do you dedicate to the romance?
A. For me, they are growing in importance. Stories are, at their most basic level, all about people. People fall in love every day. If you’re not including romance or elements of romance in your story, you’re limiting yourself.
Even if the romance isn’t front and center (that would depend on the kind of story you’re writing), it’s still going to need attention. If you’re three quarters of your way through your book and, suddenly, two characters are in love with one another – without you having set down some kind of groundwork for it – you’re asking your reader to accept quite a bit. Maybe more than they’re willing to. Yes, love at first sight can happen, but that’s reality, not fiction. As a writer, you’ll be doing yourself a favor by giving that relationship some page time even briefly.
And here are this week’s two Bonus Questions!
Q. How important is consent during sex scenes?
A. I think this is very important. In going through my MS, I made sure that for every bit of physical contact, someone asked, and someone answered. At least that was my plan. I did read it three times and I thought I found all the instances, but I was still catching spelling mistakes during that 3rd read too. This is what editing is for.
And don’t let anyone tell you different: Consent can be sexy as hell.
I also made sure to realize that cultures can be different and so the rules around consent can be different and how you navigate that (Hint: ASK if IT’s OK. LISTEN to the ANSWER).
Q. Melding the outer action plot and inner romance arc–fun times or cause for day drinking?
A. Speaking as someone who has only just started doing this, I dug it. Granted, it wasn’t a huge part of the story (I didn’t jump in at the deep end of the pool), but it was good to be able to switch back and forth between arcs. I think it definitely added another dimension to the story and to the characters, and it’s something that I’m going to continue to add in the future.
And that’s going to do it for the Romance Edition of the Two Questions With… Blog Tour!
I want to take a moment to thank Anne Raven, K Bird Lincoln, and Janet Walden-West for participating in the tour. Please go check out their websites, and put their work in your eyeballs. You won’t be disappointed.
And, Reader, I want to thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed the questions and answers.
*Special thanks to Pat Esden for the continued use of the logo she made. The “Romance Edition” changes are my own. Any design brilliance there belongs to Pat. The flaws are my own.
Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for story Excerpts.
If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:
Until next time…