Thursday, February 9, 2012

Adventures With You - Love Stories

(Because it's not one without you)

First off, I'd like to say: Holy cow, I have 70 followers, wow! Thanks to everyone who has read and commented on this blog! You all make me so happy! ^_^

I usually don't do Thursday blog posts, but I might not post tomorrow, so I thought I'd leave you all with this for the weekend:

LOVE



You knew I'd weigh in on it eventually - love and romance in books. I've ranted a bit about how I'm not big into romance as a main plot. Like Miss Cole, I must be 'dead inside' because I avoid romance novels like the plague.

It goes sort of like this: (as illustrated on the right)

I enter a bookstore, I begin browsing, 
I see the 'pink aisle' as I like to call it. 
I make a nasty face and veer far away from it, seeking refuge in the science fiction/fantasy aisle or the manga. 
(Sometimes I think my inner child is a six-year-old boy.)

I need to clarify that I don't hate love in books! I've read a few novels where romance is a key element, but I don't seek out romance as the primary element.

I think there should be a place for romance in a novel, but like real life, it isn't  a central focus. There are often bigger things that demand our attention and time. And to me, that just makes the romance even more precious.

I like romance to be something that happens organically in the story, that grows like a seed and doesn't just force its way into the protagonist's life. Also, I'm not going to get invested in a romance between characters I know very little about. An author needs to take time to develop the characters before the romance, in my opinion. To woo the reader before the protagonist woos her love interest. Get us invested. Once I know them, then I'll care more about what happens to them, including who they fall in love with. Only then can I decide "He's totally her type!" or "I can see why he fell for her."

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 I like sweet love stories between friends who become more. I like unexpected love stories where a couple is thrown together and then realize they're falling for each other. I like epic "I'll change the world for you" love stories. (Yes, I'd love a guy to walk up to a girl with an "I have reordered time" speech, but only if it makes sense.) I like love as a great and driving force in a character's life, but only after I know why the character feels that love.

I liked the developing relationships in The Hunger Games. They felt real and believable, but I didn't like the crazy-making love triangle that consumed Katniss' mind in the second book Catching Fire. The characters still need to remember the bigger picture. Love is a great catalyst, but it has to lead to something. It becomes a selfish thing when the protagonist wants to keep her love interest at all costs, but doesn't want to help make a world in which he can be safe, doesn't want to save anyone else but him.

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Love isn't stagnant. It doesn't stand still. It motivates. It drives. It makes a character strive to be better than they are.

It also doesn't die. 
How many of us have lost loved ones and stop loving them because they're gone? None. In fact, sometimes the death of our loved one only makes us love them more, and remember them more fondly. Then they become immortal in a way, and love transcends into that driving force I mentioned. We carry it with us and it continues to inspire and motivate us years after the loved one has left this world.

And if a love interest dies in a story, pining for him makes sense. But eventually I'd like to see the protagonist continue on in memory of him. To keep going because that's what he would've wanted. Nothing brings tears to my eyes more than the protagonist making a grand gesture in memory of her lost lover who died in their struggle for a better world.

That's the kind of love I like to read about - love that's bigger than life and death. And when the characters express it, the expression can be as simple as a touch or as profound as saving the world.

One of my favorite love songs


What about you? What's your favorite love story?

7 comments:

  1. It's true, I am completely dead inside ;)

    Romantic subplots are definitely my thing.

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  2. I do the exact same thing when I enter a bookstore. :D

    I, apparently, write the love story where two people are desperately needy and find some answer to their need in each other, but inevitably, push their love aside to do what they think they ought to do rather than what they want to. It gets depressing after a while.

    And I have given you a blog award. The Dragon Tea Award. :)

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  3. As I recall my teenage years, the whole dating thing is important for teens. Especially teenage girls. In fact my own teen girls talk about friends who are "boy crazy." So I don't think it's a bad thing for YA novels (especially YA Contemporary) to have major love story themes. That's just being true-to-life.

    But, on the other hand, I too tend toward preferring the romantic sub-plot. The couple that get together romantically in the course of the story, not as whole point of the story.

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  4. I don't think i could write without romance as a subplot but often if it's too front a center the characters seem weak and that bit less easy to adore from a reader point of view...

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  5. Pink aisle! Haha, I thought I was the only one who thought that! :) I'm the same way, honestly. I see the romance section, have an instinctual revulsion to the overdrawn emotional content, and then head for the Scifi/fantasy section of the store. Although, it's funny because a lot of the fantasy is romance based, but it's more "guy romance" than anything else. Which, romance for guys is different from romance fiction for the ladies.

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I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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