How I Made Myself Romantic
Didn’t think I was ever going to talk about that, huh? Well, the truth is, writing about romantic stuff does make me feel sort of icky. I’m the type of person who is downright cynical about true love and rolls my eyes at cheesy chick flicks. That being said, there is a little bit of romance in my book. I kind of want to shoot myself for admitting that, but it’s true.
So how did I get warped up into the “romantic fiction” category? First off, I’d have to defend that my style of writing isn’t exactly “romantic”. At least not in the usual sense of the word. It’s sweet and is tinged with a dose of sentimentality, but you’ll never see my characters wrapped up in each other’s arms defying the rest of the world for the sake of their ever pure love. Um, no. I don’t think so.
I knew when I started writing “Interrupted” that people reading it were looking for a love story. They cared about Allie and ultimately wanted to see her along her spiritual and emotional journey but, let’s face it, they wanted a diamond ring in the end. Or at least some kind of romantic tie that would leave them feeling satisfied.
I fought the idea of having a romantic lead for a long time when I was first developed the story. I was thirteen years old at the time and I just wanted it to be just about a girl, and her mom, and her spiritual journey. But then I started thinking about the benefits of having a male around in the book. He would add interest. Give the reader someone to root for. And serve as another obstacle for Allie to overcome. So, I did it. I turned romantic.
Gosh, it was hard! The scenes between Allie and Sam were so difficult to write at first. I mean, I was a thirteen year old kid when I first started out the story, for starters. But more than that, I think it was because I was coming at it from the wrong angle. I was trying to make their relationship into some great romance, when in reality, it was just a simple, everyday sort of attraction. Once I stopped thinking of them as a couple in a block-buster romance film and started thinking of them as just two young people trying to figure love out, it was a lot easier to write. A lot easier to believe, too… At least for me.
So how did I do it? Well, first I listened to Edit Piaf’s “La Vie En Rose”. That made me feel kind of sentimental. Then I watched critically acclaimed love story movies. And laughed at pretty much all of them. (Because there is nothing funnier than a crying couple gripping each other in the rain. Seriously.) Then I just sat back and let the natural conversations between Allie and Sam take place. It was all very innocent and clean. Very realistic, just like two teens in the 1940’s would have behaved toward each other. They were two people who, through circumstances and divine intervention, were brought together. They were teasing and supportive and pushed each other into being better people. In short, they were a great couple.
In the end, did writing a few romantic scenes make me a more romantic person, though? Um, probably not. I’m still the cynic who doesn’t believe in love at first sight and thinks flowery speeches are ridiculous. But I’m slowly getting better. With every book I write, I believe in love a little more. And who knows? Maybe by the time I’m ready to get married, I’ll meet the human incarnation of one of my leading males (or maybe an Antonio) and get swept off my feet and carried into the sunset on a wild stallion.
Or maybe not. Let’s be realistic. The stallion would have to be tamed to let me ride on it, obviously. 😉
[Image via tumblr]