So can we just stop with the meaningless romance that seems to have invaded every sub-genre of fiction now in existence?
What? Who doesn’t love a good love story? I’m glad you asked, because the truth of the matter is (and it might be a little hard to swallow) a surprising amount of people don’t like love stories! These peculiar individuals live among us, going about their day-to-day lives, yet becoming increasingly frustrated with the worthless cuddles and feels that so many writers feel the need to inject into an otherwise decent (unless, of course, it was already bad) story! (Before we go any further, it must here be stated that I neither claim to be nor deny to be one of these individuals. And I will furthermore say that I liked the story of Aragorn and Arwen, didn’t mind the puppy love of Meg Murry and Calvin O’Keefe (FROM THE BOOK, NOT THE MOVIE), and am quite fond of a certain short-story titled “They Met Under the Glinting Stars” (ahem). Now then…)
There is a set of people who are tired of the stupid, senseless, and totally unrelatable “love” that has managed to seep into almost every story—books and movies alike. It’s no secret that this is basically all that the YA genre is now. (To those worthy authors out there who still write good YA, I mean you no disrespect, but know that you are in a minority.) From the idiotic half-crush half-WHAT? of books like “Uglies” (good gosh!), to the sudden and absolutely unformulaic “romance” found in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” to the literal eye-burning attempted cliché-bender in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” and “The Battle of Five Armies.” What is wrong with the world?? What happened to romance that built naturally between the characters, that was understandable, that was relatable? What good is a cliché bender if it’s rubbish? What good is a kiss snatched under the moonlight if the readers or audience are just left rolling their eyes?
I fear that we, as a society, have lost touch—or perhaps patience—with true love. Wow. That sounds really bad, but humor me. How many books or movies that were written or produced within the last five years do you remember to have told a true, a natural, and really relatable love story? Lots of folks are tired of the same old, “hateful-and-petulant-and-selfish-and-under-eighteen-year-old-girl catches the eye of dark-or-green-eyed-muscle-bound-but-quiet-and-secretive-probably-troubled-and-also-under-eighteen-years-old-guy, they both meet in an academy or something, exchange a couple sentences, and three chapters down the road they both just totally neeeeed each other.” Enough!
Now in the interest of ensuring that this post is informative—instead of just, I don’t know, some kind of unhinged rant—I would like to list a couple (or maybe three) things that matter, ACTUALLY MATTER, when putting romance into a story.
#1. Romance can’t be forced.
Sounds like a no-brainer. But seriously, people need to stop thinking that it’s daring to just shove two characters who have no chemistry whatsoever together because…plot. It’s not daring, it’s annoying and unbelievable.
#2. It has to be both relatable and realistic.
Do you remember the names of all those lovers and such that the Greek and Roman gods had? Of course you don’t, because who cares about the love-lives of the Greek and Roman gods?! In order to appreciate romance between your characters, your audience/readers must first feel for the characters themselves, and then be able to imagine themselves or someone they know in the situation you’re presenting, or at least believe in total absolution that your characters really are in love and not just smooching because…plot.
#3. A hateful character, or a character that doesn’t belong where they are, always ruins the feels. Always.
I don’t think I really need to go into this one all that much. Suffice it to say that there is a certain red-headed elf that appeared in a certain movie concerning a certain hobbit whose presence therein—and lack thereof in later installments—can never be either explained, nor forgiven. I mean it.
And that’s all I have to say on that for now. Maybe somebody will actually briefly consider what I had to say (ha!), or maybe not. But I said it, and even as true love doesn’t repent over its existence, neither shall I repent over these words. But I’d like to know what you guys think. Let me know!