Mar 14, 2012

Authenticity in Love

Here's a secret.  I really don't like chick flicks.  I think the last one I saw was The Proposal, which was just about the right balance for me because most of the movie, the two main characters are just mutually tolerating each other.

My problem with most chick flicks is that the relationships are lightning fast, usually involve a meeting, like, love,  break-up, obligatory time apart to make each other realize they are no longer complete, make-up, kiss and maybe a wedding.  It can come across as cheesy, Hallmarkish, and false. And for me, that just isn't romance, because for me, romance takes much longer.

It may not come as a surprise that I knew my husband for 13 years before he proposed.  We met when I was seven.  No, we weren't high school sweethearts :)

I like the books/movies that really show two characters who are complete, who have a drive or passion in their lives, and that passion can be merged if and when they find someone.  I think romance needs to be shown in a process, because let's face it, most marriages I know don't have two people break up over every fight, didn't happen in a 2-3 week, or even month, time frame, and none of the really amazing romances END at the conclusion of the wedding.

So you may be surprised to find out that I'm writing Women's Lit.  My WIP has a strong romance sub-plot or two, and writing the longer relationship is definitely easier than the newly beginning relationship.  But I have noticed that the trend for these stereotypical new relationships is diminishing in many of the YA that has been coming out lately.  Several that I have recently read, even with love triangles, are developing the relationship deeper, making it happen slower.

What is it about romance that you like in books and movies?  What is it that drives you crazy?  What (if you are writing) is the hardest part about making the relationship feel authentic?

18 comments :

Angeline said...

Oh no, The Proposal was a terrible movie. There are far, far better rom coms than that. But then, we watch those movies because they aren't like real life.

Because real love is messy, it's painful and it's hard. Really hard. But we know it's worth the trouble.

I really struggle with writing romance. I write horror and fantasy and try as much as possible to steer away from it. I cannot right a flirting scene and make it authentic. Sex scenes, no problem. It's just everything that comes before that.

Emily R. King said...

I love romantic comedies. I see every single one that comes out. My books of choice are ones with romance in them. If there's no romance, I'm not interested.
BUT I met my husband young, too. We dated for six years before marrying. I could never understand how people could meet and get married right away. Still, I knew I wanted to marry my husband when I was sixteen. I think it depends on your confidence in your relationship and what else you want to accomplish in life before marrying.
As for you writing Women's Lit, have fun! Trying someone new is good. Stretching ourselves makes us better writers. I say go for it!

Cassie Mae said...

Ew, I hate chick flicks too! The Proposal I did like though, but I think it had more to do with the comedy than the romance.

I write YA romance, and read a lot of it too. And I. Love. It. Maybe it's because I'm not relying on an actor or actress to bring the chemistry, I'm relying solely on the characters and the way the author brought them to life. Can't help but put myself in all the gooey situations. (And fall for the male lead almost every time, lol.)

J. A. Bennett said...

I was engaged after two months of dating my husband and married after six months. We've been married for nine years.

I love chick flicks, and I don't mind a bit of cheese in my romance. I guess my dating experience was proof of that, lol!

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I like chick flicks for the light-hearted escapism - but certainly not for realism :) Like you, I prefer relationships that happen a little slower and seem more believable. But as I write Picture Books, it's not something that comes up much in my stories :)

Leigh Covington said...

Ooh! I loved the Proposal. It had a good deal of humor which made it fun. Plus you got to see the relationship grow.

I think romance is important because relationships make up such a big part of our life. Nobody wants to be lonely. And the emotions are strong and everyone can relate in one way or another.

Joshua said...

I've always wanted to see an epic tale like this. Where it plays out over years, decades even. They meet when they're 6 and play together for two years before one family moves away. They write pen pal letters, and do so for years. Then the letters stop. And they run into each other years later, but the timing's not right. They go separate ways. You know...that kind of thing.

Jessie Humphries said...

I like romance when its possible that they wont end up together. If it seems inevitable, and too few valid conflicts in the way, I can't take it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My wife doesn't like chick flicks either!
There are a few good ones out there, like When Harry Met Sally. But it was good because their relationship took time.

ali cross said...

I totally hear you on this Tasha! I didn't set out to write a romance when I wrote BECOME, so I was surprised that readers thought it was romantic, lol. I'm surprised because the MC pushes and pushes her love interest away--even THOUGH she does love him (though she has trouble reconciling this as well). To me, that is authentic romance.

We rarely know what's good for us even if it smacks us on the face. Romance is almost never perfect. We are human, after all.

Kate Coursey said...

Agree completely. Although I have to admit, I kinda love Mean Girls.....

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I love musical films, but haven't been to the cinema in years but watch dvds or TV.

Yvonne.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Insta-Love is one of my pet peeves in a book, especially a YA book. I especially have trouble with the immortal, all-powerful, paranormal dude falling inexplicably and monogamously in love with the ordinary human gal.

Because, let's face it. A paranormal being with a teenage boy's body is going to be chasing as many skirts across the millennia as he can.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

My hubby and I dated for 4 weeks and got engaged. We got married four months later and we've been married for 9 years. :)

I love chick flicks. I don't like the super cheesy ones, but I do like them. My favorite movies though? The Lord of the Rings, X-Men, Sherlock Holmes... Yep. I like everything. :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Chick flicks are my guilty pleasure. They appeal to my 12-year-old self that wants happy endings and where the good guys are also the sexy guys, and the ugly ducklings are revealed to be pretty with a change of outfit!

But I don't write that kind of story at all.

The adult in me doesn't like chick flicks - we are in battle over what to watch this evening!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I really enjoy reading books where the romance started as friends with lots in common and that friendship grew into love.

Nancy said...

I love romcoms but some do make me wretch. I think what I like in a romance is a good guy being the hero. You know the one we actually want to end up with that treats us well but it is harder to write a conflict in with him, doable and done well in many books but more challenging.

Sarah Pearson said...

I don't write romance because I cannot make it sound believable without making it sound like real life - and dirty laundry and wet towels just aren't romantic!