Monday, July 25, 2011

Defining Romance

"There wasn't enough romance."

Romance is all about love.  But what is it that shows or represents the romance?  Do each of us as writers or readers have our own expectations, completely different than those of others?  Are there general things that characters do or say that tells us there is a romantic link between these two people or are those things specific to each of us?

As romance writers and readers, we should be able to easily define romance or give examples.  So speak up and share your thoughts on romance.

As a reader, what, for you, shows romance in the making between two characters?

As a writer, how do you show romance between two characters who are in conflict with each other?


Penny Rader said...

Hmmm. Romance, to me, is found in the emotional connections made between the characters. I've got a bit of a headache and the words aren't coming together very well today. I'm hoping this doesn't come out all garbled.

There's a scene in a Jodi Thomas book, The Widows of Wichita County, I think, where, if memory serves, one of the female characters has never been in a loving relationship. But, she needs human contact. I'm not talking about sex, but touch. The guy who will be her hero in the story tells her she can come to him for hugs whenever she wants. And she does. She gets hugs that don't go beyond that...until she reaches the point in the story where she's ready for more. I just love that scene. Going to have to find my copy of that book and re-read that scene. Sometimes a girl just wants a hug, you know, without the expectation of sex. Well, at least this girl does. Please don't tell my dh that I said that out loud.

Oh, just thought of another book. I can't remember the title and I think Curtiss Ann Matlock is the author. Anyway, the heroine of the story is starved for touch. And the hero realizes her need for touch. So, even when he's angry with her, he'll hold his hand to the small of her back so she can feel his touch. I thought it was so cool that he didn't withhold what he knew she needed just because he could. I might not have that quite right, but that's how I remember it. Wish I could remember the title. It's been years since I read it.

My do I create a heroine who needs touch, without it looking like I'm ripping off either of these authors?

Mad Romance Writer aka Rox Delaney said...

That was great, Penny!! Thanks for stopping by and sharing that.

I was watching the movie Regarding Henry, with Harrison Ford and Annette Bening, the other night and a scene from it came to mind when I read your comment. Henry, a lawyer, had been shot and has lost his memory. He's returned home and is trying to adjust to living a life he doesn't remember. He and his wife take a walk in the park, and he takes her hand. She looks at him, and he asks her what's wrong. She says that he never wanted to hold hands or anything like that before. The power of touch at that very point showed the romance (re-)blooming between them.

Thanks for the reminder! From now on, I'll keep an eye out for things like this in movies--and books!

Melissa Robbins said...

My sister always talks about the five love languages and couples succeed in life if you know each other's love language. They are:

1) Words of Affirmation - "You look nice tonight." "Great dinner, hon."

2) Quality Time - undivided attention

3) Gifts - Doesn't have to be big

4) Acts of Service - Planting a garden; done with joy

5) Physical Touch - peck on the cheek

Maybe we should add this to our character sheets. What is your character's love language?

Mad Romance Writer aka Rox Delaney said...

Ooooh, Melissa! Those a great!

I was thinking of a scene in my June book where the hero takes the heroine to a place that was special to him when he was a child. Sharing something personal or a secret is, in my mind, a show of affection and caring. And trust. Can't have romance with trust. Trust me on that. LOL

Mad Romance Writer aka Rox Delaney said...

Let's try that again.

Can't have romance withOUT trust.

Penny Rader said...

My daughter has the book, Five Love Languages. Or at least she did. I better make sure she didn't sell it in this past weekend's garage sale and ask if I can borrow it. :D

Penny Rader said...

I love the movie Regarding Henry. Wish I'd seen it on the big screen when it first came out. I'll have to keep my eyes open and see if I can find an inexpensive DVD of it.

Mad Romance Writer aka Rox Delaney said...

Penny, I caught it on cable a year or so ago and had to have the DVD.

Last Chance Harvey with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson is good. In fact, I just might pull that out and watch it. ;)

Pat Davids said...

I try to show the development of romantic attraction by showing the following growth from physical attraction,(she has great legs and he thinks she's hot) to Emotional attraction(he likes the way he feels when she's near, or when he can make her smile.

Romantic feelings develop when he or she realizes that making the other person happy, showing them affection becomes more important that getting affection.

Passion evolves when they have an overwhelming desire to be with that other person in spite of their difference or their past experinces. It's a crutial step even in an Amish romance where there isn't a physical love scene. It's showing how connected, how complete each character feels when they are with the person they are falling in love with.
Love comes when a character realies he or she is willing to sacrafice their own happiness or desires for that other person.

Romance in books is shown just the way we'd all like to be loved. With a touch, a shared glance that makes us smile, with a soft kiss that leaves us wanting a deeper one. A whisper can send the blood rushing to our skin making it tingle.

I might be old, but I remember what falling in love was like. It was a big ache that only being with him could cure.

Mad Romance Writer aka Rox Delaney said...

Oh, Pat, that's beautiful. I'm going to print that and put it over my computer. My goal will be to do it proud.

Thank you!

Mad Romance Writer aka Rox Delaney said...

And by the way, you aren't old, 'cause I'm older than you. ;)