The Case for Romance in Any Genre of Novel
When you read a mystery, science fiction, bestselling novel or any other fiction novel, whether you are an adult, a teen or a child, do you like some romance in the story?
I ask this for a few reasons. First, when I asked for ideas to blog about for teens, my wonderful friend Amie, who counsels teens and families, said, “Girls want to fall in love and live happily ever after, same as they always have.”
Next, I had a conversation with a writing coaching client about her book idea and whether it should be geared toward young adults or middle-grade readers. I thought the idea sounded more young adult, but when we discussed that, she said, “Yea, but I don’ want to have to write the romance. All young adult has romance.” She’s right about that, but I also think it’s true for middle-grade books (ages 9 to 13)–the dating relationship is just handled differently.
And why is there romance in almost every story? Because of Amie’s statement above–this is a natural part of anybody’s life from pre-teen to adult, and so it should also be in the books we read and write. The romantic element doesn’t have to take over the story, but it needs to be present.
When I wrote my young adult novel, Caught Between Two Curses, this was a no-brainer. I knew from the beginning that one of the problems 17-year-old Julie would deal with, besides her family being cursed, was trying to figure out her love life. Should she stay with her long-time boyfriend who was pressuring her to have sex and telling her that he loved her? Should she be by herself? Should she explore her developing feelings for her friend, Matt?
But in Finding My Place, the main character Anna Green is only 13, and she is in the middle of the Civil War. She’s trying to figure out how to survive and keep her siblings alive, too. Is there any room for romance? When I first wrote the story, there wasn’t. But then I was thinking that in 1863, Anna would be expected to be married in probably about 3 years, and so she needed to at least have a crush on a young man. So, I added a crush in the middle of the cannonballs and armies fighting. I think it makes the book more realistic and when I do school visits, kids who have read the book will ask me if Anna and Albert get married.
So I’m curious if you are a writer, how do you feel about writing romance in your books? If you are a reader, do you like a love story in the middle of your action or mystery?
http://www.margoldill.com. Sign up for her WOW! Women On Writing novel course here.
A portion of this post appeared on The Lit Ladies blog in 2014.
Photo of the feet by Oteo on flickr.com