As I’m sure most aspiring writers do, I like to read around on the internet for advice and opinions and one of the most surprising opinions that I have read is that every story must have romance of some description. It was not the first time I had read something akin to this either, many of the blogs that I read have said that one of the most essential elements of a story’s plot is a romantic element. Romance, they say, is a part of everyone’s life and as such is an intriguing and relatable part of any tale. I have even read that to not include it in a story would be downright unrealistic. (If you are sat there lamenting your lonely teenage years – don’t worry. I don’t believe it either.)
If you are lucky enough to have romantic interests follow you where ever you go then good for you! Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite pan out like that for everyone. And, in my honest opinion, in some stories a romantic element just does not fit. At all.
Take my story Through The Black, for instance (while I try not to include any spoilers). In my opinion trying to squeeze a romantic sub plot in there would be forced and implausible. The entire story spans a grand total of three days. Not much space for the development of a believable romance, if you ask me. Especially considering that during this time, our lovely heroes are pretty much constantly travelling, embroiled in action or in serious trouble. Even less time to get to know someone and decide they are the love of your life. Even a ‘hook up’ would seem a little silly in the circumstances. The three main characters are all dealing with multiple personal issues, a constant stream of danger and very little sleep. Irritable, battle-torn and fatigued just scream “take me now”, don’t they?
Don’t get me wrong, some stories (well, LOTS of stories) have important, relevant and enjoyable romances. As personal taste though, my interest rarely falls there. A love story is the last thing I look for in a novel. I’m not special and as such I know I can’t be the only one. One of my favourite series of books has to be Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (most specifically the Guards books) and the relationship talk in those is minimal to say the least. So if you are like me and are out there panicking because you’ve written a particular story which doesn’t have any love-interest either, my advice would be to just not worry about it. If the rest of your story has a good plot and good characters, then why worry about adding in something for someone else?
Anyway, the whole romance issue has been playing on my mind as not only has it been something I’ve read frequently recently but also because CampNaNoWriMo is rapidly approaching. Now, I have written two full novels and neither has any real romance at all. April’s novel? Well, that’s a different story. And I have to say I am nervous about it. It’s stepping outside of my comfort zone, despite the fact that it will be a very minor point in the story (if you blink at the wrong points you might miss it). Though, leaving the safe space is supposed to be a good thing, right? It will help me grow and develop as a writer. I have already identified my weakness and now it is time to act upon it! Yes, this will be good for me!
So, you know my opinions on it but what are yours? Do you think romance is essential to a good story? And do you find writing romance difficult (or perhaps maybe easier) than the rest of the story?