Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Adding Romance

One part of character development is the romance angle. Let's face it, a story is always a little more exciting when there's a bit of romance involved. Do you agree or disagree?

And do we handle this differently in fantasy?

Of course, it depends on what age you are writing for and the audience you're aiming at. But I have a suspicion even boys don't mind romance if it's handled properly. I'm writing YA fantasy and I do have a love interest for Akeela. I've had to tread carefully, though, showing their attraction to each other. I want it to be real, but I don't want to stray too far.

My friend, MaryAnn Diorio, is talking about romance right now on her blog, The Write Power (the link is to the right on my blog list,) and she's breaking it down nicely. Check it out.

But let's talk fantasy romance here. If you've included it, how are you handling it? And don't worry if you don't have romance. It's not necessary for every story. But I'd like to hear from you anyway, because you've probably read books with romance in them. How do you feel about adding romance to fantasy?


  1. I have romance in many of my novels. For the younger ones it's humorous, and for the teen ones it's realistic. One thing I really don't like is the mushy-mushy :p Like Twilight, for instance. I understand that I'm considered a very weird girl for not being the mushy-mushy type, but bletch! Can't we have REAL guys minus six-pack who care but are not perfect? Please... :)

  2. i started with a fantasy that ended up being a romance with fantasy elements, or a fantasy with romance elements. whatever. i loved being able to add something that could only happen in a fantasy - a heart connection that makes them hear each other's thoughts and share each other's dreams. probably not that original, but i like it.

  3. I saw your post on Rachelle's blog. My WIP has faeries in danger of death, but the villain is a faerie herself. I'm also a homeschooling mom.

    My current novel has romance, but it appears that the male love interest is no longer alive, so their love story is told through letters he's left for her. So it's not mushy, but definitely heart-wrenching!

    Enjoyed reading your blog!

  4. hi Debbie ~ welcome! I'm excited to have another homeschooling mom who writes fantasy. Danielle is a homeschooling student and I value her input, too.

    Danielle, I agree with you. I'm not real mushy and I'd rather see a "real" guy or girl I can relate to myself. But we do have to keep in mind there are "real" guys out there with six-pack abs and "real" girls who are stunningly beautiful. What we need to do is not be predictable. We need to stay interesting and fresh.

    Michelle, your idea is not totally new, but I like it anyway. As with all things, it depends on how we handle it.

    I was going to kill off Akeela's love interest, but was convinced to let him live. He was going to die protecting her. However, I have found the perfect solution to keep him alive. :)

    Love is important to everyone's life, so I think it adds realness and dimension to our writing.

  5. Thanks for the plug, Pam! That was so kind of you. :) I was wondering about the use of romance in fantasy. In your opinion, how does using romance in fantasy differ from using romance in other genres of writing? Is there a difference?



  6. I think romance is romance, no matter the genre. The emotions and patterns are the same. But with fantasy you can add dimension, like in Michelle's book, lovers can hear each other's thoughts.

  7. Hey ladies... followed a link from a friend's blog over here. I write fantasy--usually with faeries or some other such fae creature, and I'm a huge sucker for romance.

    I think the difference between traditional romance and romance within a fantasy is usually linked to the stakes involved. Fantasy tends to be BIG and wide and deadly (90% of the time, anyway)--i.e. the world might end if they don't make it to Mordor to toss the ring, or a curse has to be broken on a girl turned into a swan, or you might get eaten by your boy friend. LOL... these tend to ratchet tension and build stakes higher. It's not just the ranch or a job at stake, it's your soul or the whole of creation.


    In responce to Danelle, I have to say: I wholey and fully agree. It has urked me for some time now that teen fantasy out there is so shallow and plastic. How can they be in love when they barely know each other? And it's not even love--it's obssession, or fuzzy teddy kisses and rainbows--hello, that's not life, people. Love is sacrifice not mush. Don't even get me

  8. In my story, the romance is closely tied with the main plot, rather like one of Shakespeare's plays. It is the love interest, or lack thereof, which drives the characters to make choices that affect not just their own future, but the future of the world they live in.

    I think that since fantasy tends to be a world in which everything stands for something else, the stakes of the romantic outcome are as important as the stakes of the main conflict. In contemporary novels, the stakes usually just matter to the individuals, and are more an expression of people trying to find love and meaning in an impersonal society. In fantasy, everything has an exaggerated importance because of the symbolic underpinnings. At least, that's the way it seems to me.

    By the way, ever since I saw the LOTR movies I've found it rather amusing that the "one ring to rule them all... and in the darkness bind them" looks exactly like the plain wedding ring I have in my jewelry box.

  9. Welcome, Rachel! We're glad you found us.

    Christine, I think you nailed it. Romance in fantasy is more significant then regular romance. The stakes are important. In Fairyeater, the line of the Fairy Guardians needs to go on, so Akeela must marry and have children. She doesn't find that out until the near the end and at one point, we believe her love has been killed. I'm working on writing it so it's not cheesy and predictable.

    Hmmmm ... the One Ring ... a wedding band. Interesting.

  10. I mean, seriously, has no one ever seen that parallel? A wedding ring... the symbol of total domination and control? LOL!!!

    Totally outstrips the "ball and chain" metaphor.