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Thursday, February 14, 2008

What's Love Got To Do With It?

I was going to blog on a different subject and then I realized: it's Valentine's Day!

I'm not what you would call overly sentimental. Greg is far more romantic than I am, which makes my women friends jealous. But now that I've been writing for a few years, I've come to realize he's the reason I always put a romance within my stories.

We've been married a long time and it's been a very good marriage. But it doesn't come without work and compromise. I think it's that experience I draw on when I write about the relationships between my characters. And after 33 years, I have a lot of banked knowledge in that department.

I write SFF with a love story at its center. It's the kind of story I like. Too often I read SFF where the author (usually a novice) puts so much work into the alien setting or creatures that they forget about the relationships between characters. After several years of studying the diminishing interest in SF, I'm beginning to suspect that this fatal flaw might be at the core of SF's decline. Note: That's only my opinion as a consumer watcher.

Relationships don't have to be romantic relationships. Great friendships also make for wonderful stories, as do relationships between people working toward a common goal. I happen to like love interests though. I like to see couples work out their differences and reach a conclusion.

I have several crit partners who have terrific stories where a friendship transcends all, or where a young character takes the first tentative step toward first love, or opposing characters join forces for the greater good. Each one of these stories is something I can relate to. The genre is irrelevant. It's the interaction that matters.

This is why I scoff at the notion that romance is not serious writing. What is more serious in our daily lives than relationships?

When people ridicule romance and romance writers I suspect there's a touch of phobia going on. Romance is silly, they'll remark. Yet how many of us (men and women) have never been in love?

You can't tell me men don't get all goofy when they find a woman who floats their boat. I've seen plenty of Romeos that make the characters in a romance novel look staid by comparison.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the reason some people mock romance is because it's a little too close to home. It's too intimate for them. No one wants to admit they can fall in love or that they have a secret wish to be loved. No one wants to admit that they crave the insane intimacy that drives the human race.

Love isn't silly. It's the core of human nature. And denying that IS silly.

So to all you romance naysayers, enjoy your Valentine's Day, and come out of the closet. We won't judge you.

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