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Must Have Some Romance?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Carl Brothers, Nov 9, 2020.

  1. Carl Brothers

    Carl Brothers Scribe

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    Have you stayed engrossed in a story even when there were zero romantic angles? Or do you think a hint of romance always enhances a story in some fashion.
     
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  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    In my experience people start to look for romantic pairings whether you put them there or not. It's better in most stories to just give those readers what they want. Romance is also very popular, and so having one expands you potential audience. It's also an important part of people's lives, so excluding it can often make a story feel like it has a hole in it.

    As always though, the needs of the story come first, and plenty of good stories have been written without a romance. But I think people sometimes look for an excuse to leave it out when it should be there. People do romance. Don't run from it.
     
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  3. Carl Brothers

    Carl Brothers Scribe

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    Yeah. Fair points. That may be why I've seen a few that feel manufactured. Just there to be there. Not even sure if people mind that much.
     
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  4. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings didn't have any that I can remember and they did alright, so I'mma guess no, it isn't strictly necessary
     
  5. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    If it isn't forced...
    Romance and love can and does come in many forms. It doesn't have to be physical or across genders.
    It could be easy and expected to let the Prince[ss] fall for the Hero[ine]. Personally I love a good Bromance [no gender implied].
    There is a small romance or two in LotR, Aragon/Arwen and Eowyn/Faramir. But the actual on-page romance is little more than a few paragraphs in 1200+ pages. Luckily in The Hobbit, Papa T didn't feel it necessary to cram in a romance.
     
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  6. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

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    It depends on what you mean by romance. If you're going for a narrow "love, get together" romance, then no, it's not necessary. Plenty of books work without them. If you take it broader and go for "relationship" then you'll probably have a hard time writing a book without some kind of relationship and relationship building in it. LotR didn't feature much get together romance, but a major part of the story is the relationship between the members of the fellowship. There's Frodo and Sam in the main story line, there's Gimli and Legolas. Lot's of relationships in there.

    it will probably also depend on how long the time period of your novel is. I wrote one which takes place over a few months. You can get away with no people getting together in such a period of time, especially since the main characters are in the middle of a war. However, if you run longer then it becomes more natural that some people in your story get a love interest at some point.
     
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  7. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Sage

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    Relationships of any sort matter in a story. In any setting there will be a need for some relationships, and whilst quite a lot of these are professional or business related some will be personal. How else does the hero buy food or information, arrange to stay at an inn or get employed to do something? Presumably the hero has friends and relations somewhere too, and if the hero is living somewhere for any length of time they'll have friends, acquaintances and enemies in the immediate area. Friendships grow over time, and can arise during the course of a task or by meeting the same people several times (eg in an inn).

    Romantic relationships will start too, simply because they're a part of life. The key to these in a story, though, is whether they fit the story. Done well they can really increase the depth of the characters, and handled well they provide plenty of opportunity for plot development. I'd never run from having a romance in a story, simply because it is such a natural part of life. But I'd want to make sure it was a natural part of events and didn't come across as forced.
     
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  8. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

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    The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were also tremendous sausage fests in an age when writing about homosexuality could get you thrown in prison. So, yeah, not too many opportunities for romance. And even still, I've been told (I've never read the books myself) that Tolkien incorporated references to romantic stories in his worldbuilding, stories like the Lay of Luthien (sp?) and whatnot.

    Romance is the single biggest (and oldest) genre in the game for a reason: people love it. Devor is absolutely correct when he says that readers will make up romantic ties between characters all on their own. It's why there's so much of it in fanfic. Readers love getting invested in romance. In fact, I have a Sarah's Scribbles calendar on my office wall, and the cartoon for November is about exactly this, how much readers get invested in romance. It's primal stuff.
     
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  9. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Sage

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    Um, no. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings weren't sausage fests. In fact, as those of us who've served in the military could tell you, the group and personal relationships depicted in those books are the sort you get in any military unit. Something Tolkien (and indeed C S Lewis) knew all about from personal experience.

    That said, Tolken did incorprate quite a lot of romance into some of his books. Thats particularly true of the Sillmarillion, where the the story of Beren and Luthien is based on the real life romance between Tolkien and his wife. When you read about his experiences on the Somme you begin to understand something of the thinking behind many of the romances in the Sillmarillion, and why some of them work out the way they do.
     
  10. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Now, me personally, no. I don’t give a damn. If it gets too romancy I’m gone. But! In a novel length tale about humans, to be realistic, there almost has to be a hint of romance, even if its anti-romance. War stories are obvious places for minimum romance, and Lord of the Rings is a war story. But! The romance of Beren and Tunuviel brings out that longing for romance even in war, along with hinting at Aragorn’s longing for Arwen. Romance isn’t dead and gone, it’s just not the focus of the story. Relationships enforce the humanity in a story, so to some degree it’s hard to avoid in long form fiction. As small of a touch as the romance is in LoTR, it still wouldn’t quite be the same without it.
     
  11. S.T. Ockenner

    S.T. Ockenner Auror

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    Did you really call J.R.R. Tolkien "Papa T?"
    :LOL:
     
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  12. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Troubadour

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    It's not required but if you're writing to be as marketable as possible, then you'll probably want one (especially a love triangle!). People will ship anything, including characters that have only ever had 2 lines of dialogue between them, but unless you want to bank your popularity on stirring up fandom stuff then you shouldn't think about that too much. Anyways, if you have characters interacting with other characters, they're probably going to have some thoughts at some point that might be romantically inclined: oh that person is attractive, man I'm jealous of their partner etc.

    As other people have said, you're going to want to have relationships between characters happen in some way, even if they're not romantic love. Love between friends is big, the power of friendship can beat all sorts of bad guys, you know.
     
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  13. Carl Brothers

    Carl Brothers Scribe

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    True. In one of my WIPs where I'm undecided on whether to incorporate some romance, I could just drop some hints, and let the readers do the rest, it seems.
     
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  14. Carl Brothers

    Carl Brothers Scribe

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    Yeah, the interpersonal relationships are a given. The question of romance was geared towards marketability. Sounds like it's worth it to squeeze it in somewhere, purely from a buzz standpoint.
     
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  15. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Yes. I can't speel....
     
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