Sunday, February 24, 2008

Romance.... or Love Story?

Like most females, I love a good romance. Boy Meets Girl. Girl Hates Boy. Boy Hates Girl. Girl Falls in Love With Boy. They Fight. They get married. Good romance follows a formula. Writing to a formula does not make something inherently bad. Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys are based on a formula, and a very successful formula at that. How many other teen detectives are still sleuthing after nearly 80+ years? None!

But I've never been comfortable applying the romance label to my own stuff. For one thing, I rarely start at the beginning of the relationship with Boy Meets Girl. More often than not, the story begins in the middle of the relationship and is usually centered on some sort of tragic event that drives a wedge between them, and they have to work through the tragedy in order to stay together. Even though my life has had very little tragedy in it, that's just the way my brain works.

Yesterday, I read that Nicholas Sparks' refers to his romances as Love Stories. The reason for this is that he doesn't end with a Happily Ever After. The HEA is crucial to a successful romance formula. His books end happily, usually with some sort of tragic element that leaves you happy and satisfied, but reaching for the Kleenexes. The end of The Notebook gets me every time.

So that got me to thinking, and I've pretty much come to the conclusion that this particular romance sub-genre is what fits a lot of my romance. Contemporary and historical. I usually have some sort of tragic element, and I rarely have a HEA. They're happy at the end of the story, but you get the feeling the troubles aren't over. But you do know that the couple can survive whatever life may throw at them, because they have God and each other.

So that's what I write. Historical and contemporary love stories. And the more tragic the setting, the better I like it!

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