I just read an excellent post on writing about romance on Kristen Lamb’s blog, written by Alex Limberg. It got me thinking about writing the bits that are more difficult, that are often done badly. How many times have you read something and rolled your eyes, while privately fearing you could do no better? A couple of things stood out for me.
The point about authenticity speaks to the fear of exposing ourselves on the page. Yet our characters sing when we infuse some of our own essence into them; our own remembered joy and pain. It hurts to dig these things up, to examine and dissect them for an imagined reader. Nobody said that truth was easy.
We have to acknowledge the fear and keep moving.
The other point that resonated with me was about different relationships. The best of them are all based on love, not the narrow definition of the word, but a wide and all encompassing description of the many ways humans care about each other.
We no longer have different shades of love written in our language in the way that the Greeks talked about eros, agape, philia and storge. We recognise them, but we often equate love with eros and are therefore uncomfortable applying the word elsewhere.
Thinking about my characters’ relationships in terms of love is helpful, both in how these connections develop, and how they go wrong and have to be repaired or abandoned. I hope a deeper understanding of writing about romance and love enlivens my characters, and through them, my story.