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I'm Deborah. I'm a writer, currently seeking representation/publication for my YA Fantasy Fractured Princess

I love to play Final Fantasy games and Shattered Pixel Dungeon. I also enjoy the many ins and outs of music (I'm a chorus geek).

Friday, June 1, 2012

Romance in Non-Romance Novels

I love love stories. (That looks weird.)

I get goosebumps when I read intimate scenes of any level as long as they're written well, and as a teenager, I loved writing those angsty teenagers who couldn't quite come to terms with loving another person right until the very end of the story.

But now I'm an adult (I think), and I don't write angsty teen love stories. That doesn't mean I don't still love a good love story, though. That does, however, mean that since I don't write romance, if there's a love story building within the story, it can't be the focus.

For a good instance, Lord of the Rings. I didn't finish the book (sorry, Tolkien), but I remember someone saying Arwen's character was shown much more in the movies than she was seen in the book. Of course, this was to enhance her love story with Aragorn for Hollywood get-the-girls-in-the-seats purposes (I would've still been in the seats regardless, but some people, maybe not). It doesn't take away from the main story, and what girl didn't like seeing Aragorn shove his tongue down her throat in that concluding scene in Return of the King (he quite literally did. That was a hungry kiss if ever there were one)?? It was a perfect (to me) addition to the story that made sense. He's human, she's the Elf princess, and they can't really be together because she's immortal and he isn't, but she sacrifices herself for him, and thus Elrond grievingly takes the Sword of the King (or whatever, it's been a while) to Aragorn so he can do his job and help slay Sauron's dark forces. Good job, Peter Jackson.

For a bad instance, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. Channing Tatum and Sienna Miller's story was so...WEIRD. He went away to war, and she was so distraught after his friend (her brother, I think) accidentally got blown up and transformed himself into the villain that he kidnaps Sienna, lowjacks her brain, and turns her against Channing. Then, the lowjack starts malfunctioning, so she remembers that she loves him, and she's all weakish and heartbroken again before she dies (did she die? I forget). WHAAAAT? That whole love story could've gone into the trash. It would've been a much better movie. Now Shawn Wayans and (google) Rachel Nichols (she looks best as a red-head) had an adorable love story. She's the genius who can't quantify emotion, and Shawn's the hopeless romantic who thinks she's hot, so he pursues her for most of the movie until she caves. It didn't take away from the story, and it was enjoyable to watch them blossom. We didn't need the Chienna ship; we had the...Shawchel...which was a minor story that wasn't awkward.

Since I used Final Fantasy games as a skeleton for the story, I kept in the back of my mind how love stories were used in FF6 and FF7. In FF6, the love story was between two of the supporting characters: Locke and Celes. For the most part, there was no attention paid to it at all, but in the end I felt like, "Aw, they fell in love. How nice." In FF7, there were two...halves of two love stories? The first was tossed out the window when Sephiroth killed Aeris ( <-- Watch it and get a tissue, because the music WILL break your heart. I still remember the preview for this game calling it "A love that never was," and as GameSpy says, this was how the Playstation era began. The second love story doesn't even really happen, but it was the whole reason Cloud set out to become part of SOLDIER in the first place. Either way, both love stories succeeded in not taking away from the main story.

So, for Save the Queen, when I (had thought I had) finished writing, the final scene resolved a love story. I even had the track for the scene that would play while the credits rolled (Yes, I have a soundtrack prepared for the movie. I'm partially embarrassed)! However, my sister, Masters degree in English that she has, said the most enlightening thing to me one day when I was talking about it: "But it's not a love story." And then the light came on. It's NOT a love story! There's a metal army trying to destroy the world to find a girl whose mind is fractured. Who's watching the love??? So, while it's pretty clear from the introduction of Andyrsn that sparks will fly between him and Ghuli, I had to push them to the side. I not only took out a couple of mushy additives in some scenes, but I added a closing scene better suited to end the novel. I'm proud of myself.

I say all of this to say keep your focus. You can have a Sci-fi Romance or a Fantasy Romance, but if you're just writing non-Romance, make sure that if there is a romance involved, it doesn't take over.


  1. Good point! I felt the same way about GI Joe as you did. I didn't see the point of the romance...

  2. I almost want to write a blog post in response to this (I've been doing that lately lol) looking at the option of how to include romance in a non-romance story.

    Because I think you're right, including romance in a non-romance story can either add a wonderful amount of depth to the characters and the world OR, it can leave everyone scratching their heads. I'm (believe it or not) a die-hard romantic, but I HATED every single scene in LOTR that involved Arwen. All of them. Her big, water eyes and wispy-ness, ugh! To me, it didn't do anything to bolster the story, it felt contrived and thrown in there 'just cause'. But then again, I was one of the people cheering when Aeris died. >.>; I hated that skank lol

    Great post!

  3. Jace, I'm breaking up with you. lol


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