That Loving Feeling

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The trouble with love is… I can’t seem to write it. Whilst there’s usually a romantic sub-plot in my stories, it is either a story that has already happened (i.e. the couple are together) or it isn’t the story you think it is. The first book that I finished seemed to be based around a spy falling for an heiress; in actual fact he was pretending to fall for her to throw his enemies off the scent, whilst secretly he was in love with his best friend. Because the central love affair was fake I found it easy to write. It wasn’t a love affair, it was a manipulation, and the interaction between the real lovers was only ever seen on the surface as friendship.

But a genuine, simple ‘falling in love’ story? Turns out I struggle with those something chronic. Doubtless that says something deep and unpleasant about my psyche. But the thing is, there’s no logical reason for people to fall in love, or the way they do it. It just happens. And how do you write something that just… happens?

People do. The shelves of airport bookshops are rammed full of chick lit, Mills & Boon, etc. And, going on the theory that authors write best what they know, I ought to be home and dry. I’m very fortunate to have a wonderful, loving boyfriend; if even that weren’t enough, I have been involved in more than one LARP love story. But it still doesn’t seem to be helping right now.

Perhaps this is testing how good a writer I am. Perhaps the trouble is that it’s outside my writing comfort zone. Perhaps it’s the characters (although that feels like blaming one’s tools). Either way, it’s very frustrating. I think the best solution for the moment is to go and read some Georgette Heyer, which is as close to chick lit as my library gets. And maybe talk to a psychiatrist.

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3 responses »

  1. I’m going to have to argue and assure you simultaneously on the question you raise here. The majority (not all granted) of stories that are about the love-story alone fall far flat as stories. Those that work are those that sneak in the challenges, obstacles and outside conflicts the romance must surmount, survive or actually be sparked by to let the characters make it through.

  2. I’m somewhat surprised, as I seem to remember in past imaginary lives you seeing love stories where the characters didn’t even see it themselves (I’m thinking ittimin and Ciro here). I thought you’d be good at it. Then again, is the overall story easy and the actual writing of the detail not?

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