What draws us time and again to this trope? Hate-to-love is surprisingly tricky to write, and you have to be carefully toeing the line, but we keep coming back? Why? The tension. Ooh baby, we love that tension.
Contemporary stories wiggled around in my head until I gave them life, and soon I found that I was writing in several genres, erotic and more traditional romance in both the historical and modern age. I wrote BDSM novellas and menage novels and pirates stories and everything in between. And along the way, I’ve come to favor certain elements of writing both then and now.
Girl on girl hate has become a ubiquitous theme in romantic comedies, novels, television shows and nearly anything catering to the pre-teen, thus creating a never ending cycle of vicious gossip, bullying and tormenting. Modern romance fights that tide.
As an author, I think it’s important to read books that aren’t perfect so we can perform more effectively in our own stories. That said, there are a few things that will make me put a book down.
I cannot say I’ve ever read a romance novel where the heroine sat around twiddling her thumbs waiting for a two-dimensional character with no name, (looking you, Prince Charming... ) to give her a new life.
If romance makes the changes that should have been made centuries ago, if romance opens its publishing houses and agencies and offers the same opportunity to authors of color as it does to white authors right now, we take away the excuse that it won’t work.
Whether there are only seven stories to honestly be told or a vast amount more, the reality is that when you—or any other author—puts those stories to the page, it is the very first time they have been done that way.
External conflict on its own rarely stands up as being big enough, emotional enough or important enough. Yes, external factors are important in keeping a story moving, but internal factors are the driving force behind character arc and development, and our pathways to making two-dimensional, imaginary characters human. Real.
Why aren’t these books marketed as romance novels and why do so many stories have love-story plots or subplots but scoff at the ones that do so intentionally?
Sometimes I write about important things. This isn’t one of those times. This is one of those times where I stomp my feet and beat my chest and demand that our alpha He-Men are also capable polyglots with an eye for Baroque art and a surprisingly vast knowledge of the erotic language in the Decameron.