Readers probably don’t know I’m a sucker for romance. It likely stems from my solitary life before I went to college and the fact I was incredibly lucky in finding my soulmate.
I don’t gush on about my wife because that is a private thing, but I won’t hesitate confirming she is the most important thing in my life. Our meeting each other, deciding to share the rest of our lives, and continuing to discover and cherish each other . . . That is what I draw on; that is the stuff of romance.
BUT . . . I don’t write traditional romance novels. Or, maybe I do but I don’t know it. Let me check:
~ ~ oo ~ ~
The wind kept Bafio’s hair from blinding him as they rode the black stallion. Unfortunately, the hair lashed at Iofna’s face as she tried to hold on for dear life while sitting behind him. Her arms barely encircling his sculpted torso, she wished he had not shaved his chest hair. At least that way she could grab onto something. Iofna buried her face in the crevices formed by his sculpted back muscles and pleaded for him to please stop.
“Stop! I can’t take any more!” she yelled as the Bafio’s hair snapped at her like a jealous lover. Sensitive to her predicament, Bafio slowed to a gentler pace, letting Iofna catch her breath and get a better grip.
“Ouch!” he yelled. “Not the underarm hair!”
She let go and promptly fell off PileDriver, who kept on galloping. Luckily, Iofna fell atop one of the stallions massive dumps, which cushioned her fall.
With amazing agility and speed, Bafio dismounted the still galloping stallion, rolled, and ended up next to her in the tall grass, but clear of the dump.
“He never gets any shit on him!” Iofna breathlessly thought.
Bafio stared into her eyes as he sought to remove her soiled clothes. He kept staring into her eyes as he fumbled with the knot securing the lacing of her bodice.
After a half a minute or so he lowered his gaze down to the knot. On the way, Bafio’s eyes feasted upon her heaving bosom. He would have gotten lost in the moment had he not remembered his own pectoral muscles dwarfed hers. He looked down at his own open shirt cleavage and got lost in the moment.
“Hey!” Iofna yelled, “Eyes down here!”
“Sorry,” Bafio replied as he resumed his attack on the knot, now with renewed vigor.
“It’s no use,” he said after a few minutes of trying to get the thing undone.
“You have to use your teeth,” Iofna reminded him.
Bafio dug into the suede material, bit down hard, and pulled with all his might.
The bodice came off and flew above their heads where the wind caught it and flung it at PileDriver’s rump. The stallion, startled as it grazed, kicked hard and by sheer bad luck caught both Bafio and Iofna on the side of their heads.
Dead, they were finally together and would now spend eternity in each other’s company . . . unless passing scavengers made off with their various body parts. Damn scavengers!
~ ~ oo ~ ~
Yeah . . . probably not traditional.
Let me try and expand what I mean. I may inadvertently use some of the romance tropes, but my goal with romance is to address the intellectual side of it. Any romantic partnerships I include in my writing deal with people who like, respect, admire, and see each other as equal partners in their lifelong journey.
With rare exceptions, I don’t write much about angst, infatuation, sexual attraction, and I definitely do not write about the . . . ah . . . more private aspects of relationships (A Good Night Sleep was as close as I ever got). There is plenty of that available in other places; places not my blog.
Side note: if ever the 50 Shades of Gray crowd gets tired of that kind of thing (not likely), boy, am I going to be rich!
I’ve written very little without the coming together of two people being a part of the plot (Torin and Different come to mind). I have written about characters losing a soulmate, sometimes to set up the story and other times as a motivator for the character’s involvement in the plot (Fall of Angels, The Hunter).
This is 2015 . . . that means that my writing career is roughly ten years old.
Side note 2: that’s right, you read that correctly; I’ve been at this writing thing for ten years, and I’ve not published a thing.
2005 found us as new residents of Colorado, the company I had just closed and the automotive industry life it was tied to now 1,900 miles away and fading from memory. I had written short stuff before, but the two Guardians short stories were the first effort I made at a plot, at sustained dialogue, at multiple threads (two), and so on.
As I re-read The Guardians (I & II) I can see just how far I’ve come as a writer. Yes, lots of punctuation errors and poorly written, but I still like the concept. Not knowing any better, I did submit the first part, and now I can better understand why it was rejected. The form letter said the concept was overdone, but I wish they would have said a bit more.
I wish they would have said something like “you currently suck”. It might have gotten me more motivated to work at writing.
I don’t think the concept is overdone; I think that romance got in the way and I did not write it well.
The original plot was for a science fiction story with an underlining blossoming romance. Those ideas kept flip-flopping during the story, at times becoming a romance story with a slight science fiction story in the background.
I took my eye off the story I wanted to tell.
Shortly thereafter, I started N. E. O.
I had actually started in 2003, both with some research and with the opening paragraph. There it sat for two years, and then I picked it up again in late 2005. By the end of 2006 I had written three chapters; yes, three (3).
I stopped because I went back to work. Oh, I added a few words in 2010 and again in 2011, but it was not until I was no longer working that I picked it up again, in August of 2013.
N. E. O. suffered from the same problem as The Guardians; it did not know what it wanted to be. I know what I had planned it to be; a story about aliens visiting Earth. I envisioned a sweeping story dealing with humanity’s reaction to the presence of the aliens on and near Earth.
Instead, romance again got in the way. The story drifted toward relationships instead of keeping the love interest as a secondary theme. The alien thing became no more than the background for a silly love story, complete with well-established tropes but probably not as well-executed.
For a while, I wondered if I was destined to become a romance writer (they do make a lot of money). No (see above sample).
NaNoWriMo 2013 came along while I was still writing N. E. O.
NaNoWriMo forced me to think in terms of a longer story arc, and that forced me to shift the romance (did I mention there is always romance?) to the background and tell the larger story.
I think that also drove me to writing a “just romance” flash piece just because I was missing it. Rose and Joe is a piece I really enjoy re-reading. It’s a different take on an old internet story I remember reading.
Oh, let’s not forget the older but funnier Movement Propels Destiny, a story dealing with romance in a very unorthodox way.
Rose and Joe is a unique story in one aspect . . . I describe the woman as very beautiful; except I don’t. I let the man say she is beautiful, and that could be a subjective assessment.
I take a lot of crap for not describing my characters. It is specifically because I often deal with romance that I don’t describe the people in my stories.
All my exposures to literary or cinematic romance have taught me the following; looks (beautiful or ugly) and money (poor or rich), or combinations of the two, always have something to do with the romance either happening or not happening.
Even if one of the protagonists starts out as ugly and poor, they eventually end up either beautiful, rich, or both.
You never read this in a romance story:
~ ~ oo ~ ~
She saw him from across the room. The movement of his hand as he adjusted his package drew her eye. Well, it was actually his other hand lifting the lower part of his stomach so he could reach his package that caught her eye.
No; truthfully, it was the whole; the extended beer belly, the remnants of a cheese pizza on his pants leg, the unidentified stain on on his shirt (she hoped it was seepage from the open sore on his chin, and not ketchup), the slack jaw, shifty eyes, and the way his greasy hair stuck to his scalp. She heard him belch and hoped his farts would be as loud.
Immediately drawn to him and hoping her vast inheritance and ample breasts would be enough to make that man hers, she went to him as a moth to a flame. Unlike a moth, she was already consumed; consumed by his intoxicating presence. No, really; he had not showered for at least a week.
~ ~ oo ~ ~
Instead, I purposefully concentrate on character, actions, and emotions tied to both circumstances and how the characters react to same.
Readers tell me they need something to anchor the characters for them, but what if I describe both the hero and heroine and then they get Jim Carrey and an also-talentless female version of Carrey as leads for the movie adaptation? All I’m going to hear about is how the actors don’t match my descriptions.
My way ensures that if the readers are disappointed with getting Tom Cruise instead of a 6′ 4″ actor playing Jack Reacher, they have no one but themselves to blame.
Anyway, this is getting long . . . here’s a poll for them who have read my stuff.
Not exactly a love story, but something I think deserves a few more eyes on it. Three stories covering a long arc in three short flash pieces. Here’s a piece few have read but of which proud I am: Thoughts in the Wind.
Oh, yeah . . . a picture.
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. . . my FP ward . . . chieken shit.