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Weddings (and my thoughts on romance in writing)

What is it about weddings that gets everyone so worked up?  Is it the romance in the the air?  Is it the idea of a new couple starting a life adventure together?  Is it witnessing young love?  Or is it the free food?  I don’t know.  I am hardly an expert on romantic endeavors, which is why I write Speculative Fiction.

That was was thinking yesterday, as I attended my Aunt and Uncle’s wedding vows renewal.  I didn’t know wedding vows had an expiration date.  I will be checking the back of my marriage license later to make sure.  Anyway, it was good fun with a small ceremony, toasts, lunch, desert, music and dancing.  And while typically I don’t enjoy wedding ceremonies, this one was just how I like them – short.

The celebration of love and a new life together is exactly what weddings are all about.  Whether it is a small wedding in the gardens followed by a backyard reception (like mine was), or a full blown out spectacle, it should be about love.  Try not to get wrapped up in costs and one-uping other weddings.  Weddings should be about the couple and not about money.

Now to tie this into writing…

There is a great running gag that we fans of Speculative Fiction know little about romance, I even made such a joke in my opening paragraph.  It seems to be thought that we are all inept in matters of love and women.  But, I think its just another stereotype that has been circulated out there so much it is accepted as fact.

Some of the most romantic scenes I have read come from Science Fiction and Fantasy novels.  Scenes which truly create the feeling of love between the two characters.  Realistic scenes that evoke emotions I have actually felt.  Perhaps it ties into good character development.  I care about these characters so when I see them in love, I feel it too.  Or perhaps we Sci Fi writers are more refined in the art of love then we are given credit for.  I think it is a little bit of both.

Creating a believable romance scene takes time.  Many confuse romance with sex, and this has to do with the least romantic of all the genres…  Romance.  I recognize that as my opinion, but I don’t find romance novels the least bit romantic.  They are hardly real, believable, and the characterization if often very shallow.  They run from one sex scene to another. They feature bare chested men with unrealistic muscles sweeping young scantly clad women off their feet.  Often rescuing the woman from an evil man who some how hurts her with words or violence.  I don’t find the situations they present realistic and I could care less about their characters.  I realize this is my opinion, but this is also my blog.

So, what makes a believable romance scene?  It is not the scenery, its the characters.  Why do strong characters have better romance scenes?  Because it mimics real life.  I watched a guy on TV propose to his girlfriend during a kitchen renovation.  I can guarantee that was the most romantic experience for that woman, not because of  scene (it was a demolished kitchen) but because it was thought of by him and meant something to her.

Think about all the romance you have experience in your life…. was it ever really the scene?  Even if it was a moonlit beach on white stallions, was it really the scene?  Likely not.  It was romantic to you because it was shared with your romantic partner.

The same is true of books.  Strong characterization will lead to the feeling of romance between your characters simply because I (the reader) know your characters so well.  The romance will come to me because I am sharing this experience with your characters and I care about them.  The scene, the circumstance, and the rest will fall in place.

So you have strong characters, what’s next?  That is really up to the characters, isn’t it?

So as I enjoyed the romantic event of my Aunt and Uncle renewing their vows after 25 years of marriage, I thought of all this.  After all the event was romantic because I knew the characters and I love them.