Thursday, February 12, 2009

How do I write thee? Let me count the ways...

Tip of the Day: Check out Shadowed Summer, released this week. We interviewed the author here late last year.

I've been thinking about this topic all week-- trying to figure out what my method is for writing romance. And I think my blog partners here ROCK with all the awesome details of how they write. This is seriously good stuff that I think people will be able to use. Me included. My thing, I guess, is that I never think about any of this stuff. I just sit down and write and see what happens. But now I think I'll compile a checklist of these ideas that the other Misses posted and check my writing after I'm done. So helpful-- thanks ladies!

But as for me and my romance writing? Well, I guess I depend heavily on reflecting back to when I was a teen. What it felt like to be crushing SO hard on someone and wondering if he even knew you were alive (9 out of 10 times that was a big ol' no-- crushee was generally busy doing boy stuff). Doing incredibly silly things like putting a heart sticker on a boy's locker everyday for a week, certain that by Friday said boy would have figured out that it was me giving him the stickers and be so moved that he'd instantly fell in love with me (Um, yeah, I did that in 7th grade. He didn't fall in love with me. He got pissy about the sticky stuff on his locker everyday.)

Back then so much of life consisted of of analyzing, WAY over analyzing every word uttered, every motion made, and every look. Telling someone that I really like Johnny over there and I think he might like me because he totally stopped to get the door for me and said "hey", not just "hey-I-don't-know-you're-alive-and-I-say-hey-a-hundred-times-a-day-to-every-girl-I-pass" but "heeeeeeeey", like your butt looks good in those jeans "hey". And then I said "hey, thanks" and he licked his bottom lip and gave a small nod. He's into me right? Right?

I think a lot of times there is some obstruction-- something keeping you from your love and he from you. Could be a friend or parent etc. Or just, again, him not knowing you exist. People want to see the struggle for happiness (love). And it might be boring if it happens too easily. Like, in Twilight if it was just cool for Edward and Bella to hook-up and there were no problems there the story would end really quickly right? If Archie wasn't eternally trying to decide between Betty and Veronica we'd stop reading the comic wouldn't we? In fact, didn't Dawson's Creek (yes, please flash back in time with me for a moment) start to tank when Joey and Dawson DID start dating? Viewers were like well then there's that. OVER. If I'm remembering my Dawson trivia correctly the show had to quickly up the stakes by throwing Pacey into a love triangle with Dawson and Joey to save the show.

So I guess what a lot of my babbling is coming to is that writing romance is a lot about writing about struggle-- the struggle to have this great relationship-- whatever the obstacles be. And I guess that is something that carries outside of romance too and into other areas. Like, take American Idol. You've got all these kids that can sing. So how do we differentiate between them? We want to hear more, feel more, for the kids who struggle. (the singer who is blind, the guy who recently lost his wife, the girl who was homeless). If someone got on stage and sang great but was also like hey world, I have this awesome care-free life and I've never known a day of pain, he'd be voted off next week, no? Well, maybe not next week but he wouldn't be pulling at our heart strings like the others.

So those are my thoughts on romance writing for now. Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments. I wish you all a wonderful Valentine's Day on Saturday, whether that is buying candy for your husband of twenty years or being set up on a blind date and hoping for that romantic spark, or whether you spend the day analyzing what it meant when the super cute guy at the mall bumped into you (he's SO into you!! I swear!), I hope it rocks.

Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut


DeenaML said...

Yes yes yes! I remember the over-analyzing of every little thing a boy did!

Kate Fall said...

Definitely, Tina, struggle and obstacle. The star-crossed lovers rule!

When I was a teenager, I covered my walls with Lucy and Schroeder cartoons. Something about her longing for him while all he cared about was his music resonated with me.

Lisa Schroeder said...

I didn't make a list for my blog either, Tina, because I'm a lot like you. I just write it, all the while trying to tap into those teen oh-my-god-does-he-like-me-or-does-he-not-like-me feelings.

Kate - that is the cutest thing - Lucy and Schroeder!! A perfect example of young love struggle.:)

Emily Marshall said...

Tina, I don't really think about this stuff till after the fact either. That's actually why I like doing these How I Write things, they do get you to think about your process.

I love this post. I remember all those teens times of longer for the cute boy to notice me to no avail.

Christina Farley said...

I love the struggle that is between two people and the push and pull.