I love love stories. I used to be ashamed of this fact because it seemed cheesy to admit. I used to disguise my preference under the guise of “good stories have a little romance”. But, if you get down to it, whether it’s part of an epic adventure, or a quiet character driven tale, I love me that good smooshy lovey human interaction.
Back in my college days when I was a wide-eyed wannabe novelist, I had the inkling that romance may be “my” genre. I had written all across the board, but had been mainly focused on YA urban fantasy. However, in my screenwriting class I first noticed this was the genre I may do well. When I took this class I had never written a script before, but as part of the class we had to pitch short film ideas to a board who would chose six scripts: three to fully fund and three to partially fund. These script would be used by the producing and directing classes. And, lo! What happened here? My silly little romance script was chosen as one of the top three. I’d like to think it was my amazing script writing and pitch abilities, but in the end I can only guess. My script, called “Just Shy of Romance” featured a very shy girl who had increasingly romantic daydreams about a popular boy she had a crush on until, the climax of the film, when it looks like he is about to approach her. She says something dumb, he seems not to notice, but then, instead of following her, the camera stays on him and *bam* he’s holding a locket she dropped in the beginning of the story. Pretty simple and maybe not crazy original, but it was well received.
Why was it? Again, I can only guess, but my thoughts are:
1. The struggle is universal. We’ve all had those crushes that are seemingly unrequited. It’s easy to remember a time when we’ve “been there”. When sitting an pining is easier than actually pursing.
2. Every voice is different. So, we all know the themes, but the way it’s told is unique to the writer. Telling a story in an authentic way, tapping into all the messy emotions and sharing the tale from a different perspective is a fun way to relive a relatable theme.
3. The promise of Happily Ever After (HEA). Raise your hand if you’ve experienced romantic disappointment? Romance as genre provides an escape from that past heartache. It’s nice and warm and fuzzy. The promise of HEA without going to over the top provides just enough yearning for the audience that it’s satisfying but not sickening. The fine balance.
I wish I would have admitted to myself earlier in my writing that romance was the best direction for me. Instead, I spent years shoe-horning romance into bigger stories of failed novels. While I’ll always be character driven and teach my little puppets all sorts of lessons, romance will always be central to my stories.
Is romance your favorite genre? Why or why not?