Thursday, May 16, 2013

Romance in Fantasy

Do you want to see romance in fantasy? More so than action? A fair bit of both? More one than the other? All solid questions that need to be answered, eh? At least for me.

Most folks that I speak with about fantasy novels don’t seem to place an import on romance (at least openly) and want to see good action scenes. Admittedly, these people happen to be male.

I certainly believe in romance in novels as long as it happens organically. When I mean is that the romance happens over time, naturally. As characters get to know one another, perhaps they begin to develop feelings for one another and keep them hidden, or suppress them, explore them or nature them along. I have read some posts, reviews, and some novels recently that reminded me that romance is an essential part of maturing your characters emotionally.

Specifically I bring up one review I received where the reader did not appreciate the lack of romance. I say: I am working on it! I believe that characters need to develop feelings over time and that ‘love at first sight’ is not something I can write about without making it appear fake. It seems contrived and a bit forced when I've read it and when I try to write something along those lines. Not that it is unheard of, mind you, but I believe it would seem out of place to a more sophisticated reader that has been around the block. Just my opinion on the subject.

Powerful emotions such as strife, grief, shock and especially Romance, are the ultimate feelings that convey a genuine realism. I received one review early on where the reader wanted to see more romance and could have done less with the combat/action scenes.

This got me to thinking and plotting a little more with that in mind. And so, in Secrets of the Ebonite Mines, I started to develop a relationship and may have planted the seed in Covenant of the Faceless Knights. My latest novel—rough draft finished BTW!—takes the romance of a certain pair of characters to a satisfying level. As a matter of fact, this book has some surprising twists and turns. It takes the reader on a non-stop emotional ride with serious ramifications and deadly consequences, some genuine emotion, and major loss that sets it apart from anything I have written to date. I am quite surprised and pleased by it if truth be told. I am excited to get it released (hopefully before summer begins) and see what you guys think. But I digress...

As always, I’d love to hear from you folks as to what exactly you look for from your fantasy tales! Is there room for romance? Fire away…

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  1. First off, I'm a female reader, and I read a lot of romance and fantasy (but not much romantic fantasy, go-figure).

    I like romance in fantasy, but I don't require it. I think sometimes I would prefer that it had less. I read fantasy for the action. I read romance for the lovey-dovey stuff.

    When the protagonist has a minor character for a love interest, it comes across that they are specifically there to characterize the main character. The sort of person they're "with," how they treat them, etc, says a lot about the protag. They're cardboard.

    When A is dodging/fighting baddies with B, and they can actually work together--or have to learn to work together--they're going to come out with some sort of new relationship, whether it's a romantic relationship or not. Those sorts work, so I second the slow development, but as I said, it's not a requirement.

  2. Jadi, thanks for stopping by please do so again. Also, thanks for giving me a female point of view. I appreciate your separation of subjects/genres and 'sidekick relationships' as well as the point in your last paragraph.

    The fact that you rationalize and understand the lengthy relationships and how they might develop lends credence to what my initial thought was: slow development. Again ,thanks for sharing your wisdom with me!

  3. I don't particularly require romantic elements in a story, but I do tend to enjoy them. They make characters seem more like real people. In a fantasy with many characters I find it quite lacking if no one ever hooks up with anyone, or no one has a spouse, or a tough wandering mercenary or outlaw does not have women through themselves at him for the fun of it. I mean these things happen every day all over the world. It may seem old fashioned, but I still find the theme of men protecting their families or lovers very compelling. It's primal and appealing and exciting. I don't see action and romance competing at all. They can both be there and complement each other quite nicely.

  4. Hey, Tracy! Thanks for stopping by to comment.

    I agree with your whole take actually. I do believe that it gives a human element, something we can relate to and adds depth to the characters. The protecting families idea actually is incorporated in the next book I am finishing right now oddly enough. And as I have said, I have spurred on a relationship between two of the characters that comes to a head in this next book, too. It happens at a good pace I believe and hope the readers see it too. Thanks so much for the comments; all the best!