the-right-writing:

  • Less danger of writing awful purple prose
  • Friends can survive without constantly being around each other
  • Friendships are really cute
  • It’s easier to write healthy friendships
  • Somebody can be friends with two people without it turning into an annoying “friendship triangle”
  • Positive female-female friendships are underrepresented
  • Female-male friendships without romantic undertones are underrepresented outside of children’s books
  • Most people don’t collapse into irrational heaps of strong emotions whenever they see their friends, which makes it way easier to fight off attacking ninjas
  • More stories about online friends would be nice
  • Friends don’t have to be conventionally attractive in order to sell books
  • Did I mention the cuteness factor?

Source: the-right-writing

yaflash:

As I mentioned earlier, I have a lot of feels about dismissal and derisive attitudes directed toward romance as a genre, or any romantic elements present in novels, particularly when those novels are written by women. Malinda Lo gave some important and insightful commentary about it in this post. I have some thoughts I wanted to share, as well.

Before I start, I just want to recognize that asexual and aromantic are legitimate ways for people to define their sexuality or attractions, and this post is not intended to crap on people who identify as such. I do not intend any belittling of those identities here, but if you feel like I’m screwing up in that regard, know that this blog is a safe space for you to call me on it.

So. Romance.

On my long-form blog, I recently posted something about how people are often “embarrassed” that they’ve read certain books, and those “embarrassing” books are far-and-away romances or erotica written by ladies that became bestsellers. If you want to read the whole post, it’s here, but in a nutshell it’s just me saying “why are you embarrassed to read a romance novel, but not embarrassed to read pulp thrillers or crime or whatever?”

Over and over again, I feel like I have this argument with people where I’m saying that there are about a million (probably literally) books written by men that feature romantic entanglements and sex, but very few people ever complain about it. Now, a lot of people will argue with me that it’s because the romance doesn’t “take over” the story, whereas books written by ladies always put the romance first to the detriment of the plot. Or something.

And what’s weird about that is that no one ever makes the connection that… a lot of hetero-romantic subplots in male-centric stories don’t take up much room because the women themselves don’t take up much room in the story. The love interest is there to be a pretty prop before she’s stolen away (or raped/murdered/vanished) to forward the “action” of the story. And if by some chance she actually ends up NOT murdered/vanished, the male MC often doesn’t think of her much unless they’re in a direct romantic/sexual encounter.

When the tables are turned, we have women and girls who actually think about their male love interest when they’re not with him; who consider what he thinks; the context of their relationship; how he makes them feel. We have male characters who are actually present in the story. Because dudes take up space in women’s minds. They are more than props. And it feels like we blame women for that.

The point regarding the lack of stories without romantic elements compared to male-centered stories and how that relates to patriarchy isn’t lost on me. There’s certainly a hesitancy for people to create (or rather, people to publish/buy) female-centered stories with sisters, friends, family, confidants. We’ll watch a “bromance” about 2+ men being friends/brothers, but when it’s women, it becomes too niche (“niche” being half the population). But again, I feel like we blame women for that, rather than a system that pushes the idea that our stories are nothing without male involvement or approval. Who kick such tales into the “chick lit/women’s fiction” section and wrap them in pink lace and illustrated coffee cups.

It’s almost like we feed women a constant narrative of needing a man in their life to feel whole, and then we sneer at them when their stories reflect that. Huh. Sounds kind of familiar.

Now, I’m not arguing that I haven’t read many books where I felt a romantic storyline was poorly handled, or that it felt like someone added in the rest of the plot as an afterthought, or whatever. It happens. But it sure does feel like people are SUPER quick to roll their eyes and cry foul the second a romantic storyline starts to poke its head out of the water. After a while, it starts to feel very much like a kneejerk reaction to girl cooties.

Before people hop on the “SO ANY CRITICISM OF YA/ROMANCE BY LADIES IS AUTOMATIC MISOGYNY AND THEREFORE NOT ALLOWED, IS THAT IT?” bandwagon, the answer is “obviously not.” Women can be and often are complicit in misogyny, rape culture, racism, cissexism, et cetera, ad nauseum, and those elements should abso-fucking-lutely by criticized and explored. I can talk about the misogyny present in the blanket criticism of romance while ALSO agreeing that many romance novels are problematic. Such things are possible!

I am not saying that everybody should like romance novels/plots and that if you don’t, it makes you sexist or a bad feminist or whatever. That’s ridiculous, though it’s a counter-argument I hear so often that it blows my mind. I absolutely agree that there should be more stories about WOMEN DOING THINGS, rather than one woman doing a thing until she meets a guy.

But I do think that many of us have developed an automatic aversion to lady-written romantic anything, and we think of it as stupid or boring or shameful or empty entertainment. I think that we’re too quick to go UGH NO THERE’S A ROMANTIC SUBPLOT, THE STORY IS *RUINED*.

A lot of romance tropes have problems. This is true, and it’s not a secret. We should talk about them. I just think we also need to explore deeper into why we have such visceral reactions to anything with even a whiff of “romance,” and we blame women for its existence/stupidity.


Writing a Romance Novel For Dummies

From Writing a Romance Novel For Dummies by Leslie Wainger

Source: dummies.com

writing-questions-answered:


theprettyhelpers:


CLASSIC ROMANCE PLOTS
(from Patricia Ryan’s “Pat’s Premises: Popular Plots, Conflicts and Elements in Romance Novels,” Romance Writers’ Report, 17(4), April 1997)

Enforced Intimacy
Marriage of convenience
Hero as protector
Arranged or forced marriage
Pretend marriage or relationship
Stranded together on an island
Snowbound
Matchmaker contrives to throw lovers together
Must share office or home
Love Conquers All
The healing power of love
Redemption through love
One Lover Rehabilitates or Cures the Other
Amnesia
Physical disabilities
Emotional problems
Disfigurement
Mental illness
Alcoholism
Emotional Baggage or Internal Forces Keep Lovers Apart
Inability to trust, especially opposite sex
Fear of commitment
“I am a rock;” emotional detachment
Some past incident, e.g., abuse, has left emotional scars
Lover blames other for some hurt to self or loved one
Lover harbors a secret that threatens love
Lover must find self or solve problem before committing
One lover has lied to other about something important
Lover can’t forgive other for some flaw
Fear of abandonment
Sense of unworthiness
Feeling that one doesn’t belong or fit
The Lovers’ Differences Keep Them Apart
Lovers from different social, religious or ethnic worlds
A difference of opinion on critical matter
Bad boy, good girl; or vice versa
Lovers have opposing loyalties
Lovers are business competitors
Lovers personalities are too different
A large age difference
Unrequited love
The Lovers’ Similarities Keep Them Apart
Lovers engage in a battle of wills
Lovers share goal, but only once can achieve it
Babies and Children
Secret baby
Arranged pregnancy
Accidental pregnancy
Reunited with child given up for adoption
Child play matchmaker or otherwise brings lovers together
Child lost or threatened
Heroine plays nanny
Comedy of Errors
Heroine pretends to be male
Mistaken identity
Misunderstandings
Masquerade
Twins
Evolving Relationships
Platonic friends fall in love
Ex-sweethearts are reunited
Divorced spouses rediscover their love
Mythic or Fairy Tale Elements
Kidnapping (Persephone)
Taming of the savage male (Beauty and the Beast)
Transformation (Pygmalion)
Rags to Riches (Cinderella)
Awakening, emotional rebirth (Sleeping Beauty)

theprettyhelpers:

CLASSIC ROMANCE PLOTS

(from Patricia Ryan’s “Pat’s Premises: Popular Plots, Conflicts and Elements in Romance Novels,” Romance Writers’ Report, 17(4), April 1997)

Enforced Intimacy

  • Marriage of convenience
  • Hero as protector
  • Arranged or forced marriage
  • Pretend marriage or relationship
  • Stranded together on an island
  • Snowbound
  • Matchmaker contrives to throw lovers together
  • Must share office or home

Love Conquers All

  • The healing power of love
  • Redemption through love

One Lover Rehabilitates or Cures the Other

  • Amnesia
  • Physical disabilities
  • Emotional problems
  • Disfigurement
  • Mental illness
  • Alcoholism

Emotional Baggage or Internal Forces Keep Lovers Apart

  • Inability to trust, especially opposite sex
  • Fear of commitment
  • “I am a rock;” emotional detachment
  • Some past incident, e.g., abuse, has left emotional scars
  • Lover blames other for some hurt to self or loved one
  • Lover harbors a secret that threatens love
  • Lover must find self or solve problem before committing
  • One lover has lied to other about something important
  • Lover can’t forgive other for some flaw
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Sense of unworthiness
  • Feeling that one doesn’t belong or fit

The Lovers’ Differences Keep Them Apart

  • Lovers from different social, religious or ethnic worlds
  • A difference of opinion on critical matter
  • Bad boy, good girl; or vice versa
  • Lovers have opposing loyalties
  • Lovers are business competitors
  • Lovers personalities are too different
  • A large age difference
  • Unrequited love

The Lovers’ Similarities Keep Them Apart

  • Lovers engage in a battle of wills
  • Lovers share goal, but only once can achieve it

Babies and Children

  • Secret baby
  • Arranged pregnancy
  • Accidental pregnancy
  • Reunited with child given up for adoption
  • Child play matchmaker or otherwise brings lovers together
  • Child lost or threatened
  • Heroine plays nanny

Comedy of Errors

  • Heroine pretends to be male
  • Mistaken identity
  • Misunderstandings
  • Masquerade
  • Twins

Evolving Relationships

  • Platonic friends fall in love
  • Ex-sweethearts are reunited
  • Divorced spouses rediscover their love

Mythic or Fairy Tale Elements

  • Kidnapping (Persephone)
  • Taming of the savage male (Beauty and the Beast)
  • Transformation (Pygmalion)
  • Rags to Riches (Cinderella)
  • Awakening, emotional rebirth (Sleeping Beauty)

Anonymous asked you: Hello! Ok, so I might have a somewhat off the wall idea of a book I might like. Here are some things I’m looking for: Antagonist/villain as a main character, preferably one that’s in a twisted romance (like maybe he’s obsessive or something or they’re just a messed up pair), teen characters, well written, emotional, perhaps that evokes sympathy for the antagonist?… Does such a book exist? I thought the best way to find out is to ask a team of well-read experts. Doesn’t hurt to ask, right?

Books that I (and possibly others) believe fulfill these requirements:

Books that I think are questionable (i.e. they fail to meet at least one requirement):

And here are some external resources for books of this type:

I know there are more. There pretty much have to be more, right? So, fellow writers, what books do you know that fulfill at least five of these requirements?

  1. Antagonist as main character
  2. Twisted romance
  3. Teen characters
  4. Well written
  5. Emotional
  6. Sympathetic antagonist

I’m looking forward to your recommendations, aren’t you?


Anonymous asked you: The difference of fluff and romance

I think I can help you out there!

Fluff (n): A story (usually fan fiction) or part of a story which has no plot or a very simple plot and no or very little character development; humorous and/or conventionally romantic writing; feel-good romance.

As I understand it, Fluff is a sub-genre of Romance. 

Romance (n): A story arc which centers around the romantic relationship of the main characters; a story in which love is a main theme. 

Other sub-genres of Romance include:

And any of those sub-genres can have Fluff-y elements in them just like Suspense, Horror, Fantasy, and just about any other types of stories can have Fluff-y Romance in them, but writing something sweet can be difficult, especially if you don’t normally write feel-good romance. See this post for idea on how to look at Fluff in a new way.

Basically, if the Romance genre is dessert, then Fluff is whipped cream. Fluff is sweet and light and giggle-inducing, and Romance is a major narrative genre with plenty of conventions, tropes, sub-genres, etc. under its umbrella. The two are not synonyms, though they are certainly connected.

Feel-good romantic Fluff isn’t a bad thing to write, but taking a break from carrying a narrative forward to smother the reader in cuteness without substance might not be the most effective choice you could make for your story. The easiest way to avoid doing something like this is to plan so that everything you write contributes to your story goals. For tips on that, you might want to grab a Towel. Remember, while you’re writing your first draft, you’re allowed to write Fluff if you want to. You can always edit it out during the revision process (or not)!

For more on Romance:

And here are a few books on writing Romance:

Thank you for your question!

-C


blacktarzy asked; Im stuck in my story because I need to write a coupple of weeks with nice and romantic things happening, and “fluff” isnt really my best side. Do you have any guide I could seek or any advice? Because this really is getting pathetic as I could only come up with 154 words in 3 months

A large part of your problem probably lies in your word choice. Don’t think of it as fluff, because then it will feel fake and you will be less involved in writing it. If you approach romantic language and action as expressions of human emotion, which they are, then it becomes just like writing anything else: get up in your characters’ heads and hearts, find out what makes them who they are and why they do what they do, and put it on paper. Make every word count.

In other news, this post has tons of exciting resources that you can use to work on your wooing.

Thanks for your question! If you have a comment, concern, quip, query, or question about this post or writing in general, or you just want to say hi, use our ask box!

- O


Here are the first ten odd or clever or not-too-done romantic arcs I (C) thought of. I warn you that the books might not all be romances, but they’ve all got super awesome romantic arcs in them:

  1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  2. Warm Bodies by Issac Marion
  3. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (Special creys for Snape/Lily, Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Lupin/Tonks!)
  4. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
  5. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  6. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  7. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan
  8. The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth (Saints be praised! There’s no love triangle!)
  9. Every Day by David Leviathan
  10. Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley

What books have got your favorite romantic story arcs in them?


thewritershelpers:

Hey, guys! I’m J, and I’ll be helping contribute to The Writers’ Helpers during the onslaught of NaNoWriMo this month!

Right now, I’ll be posting a series of links / helpful advice related to specific GENRES. Today, we’ll be covering ROMANCE. (Wiki article definition)

(REMEMBER: These are suggestions/advice. You’re not required to follow any instructions to the ‘T’ - this is your story and belongs to no one else! Write what you want to write! :D)

Sub-Genres of Romance

Mika Lo’s Formula For Writing A Romance Story

Different Story Structures of Romance

TVTropes Links:

Romance Novel Plots

Romance Arcs

Love Interests

Love Tropes - Plethora of links on the right side of the page (Beware! You may spend a lot of time on here!)

Writing World: Romance

NOTE: This site covers tons of things regarding romance in novels, including Writing Romantic DialogueWriting Emotional Scenes Without Melodrama, Character Professions in Romance, tips on writing Love Scenes, and covers many of the subgenres, including Fantasy, Time-Travel, and Comedy

Also includes interviews!

Seven Tips on How To Start A Romance Novel - Also a good source for novels without romance.

Imagine Your OTP - A good tumblr blog for ideas involving your romantic couple! Involves fluff, NSFW situations, and even sad scenarios. Trigger warnings marked as well.

These are just a few of many more. If anyone wants to share any links / suggestions, do please submit~!

-J