Writing about Love and Sex Part 1

The question I get asked most often is. “Do you write about your own experiences?” I usually smile and say that my private life is private.

The follow-up question is. “How do you come up with your ideas?” I shrug and say they just pop into my head. I can’t speak for how other writers do it. For me, I can be anywhere, at any place and scenarios will flash in my mind. It’s an automatic thing that can be brought on by any number of things. Too many to list even.

 

Yes, romance stories are supposed to have a Happy Ending or at least a Happy for Now and there is nothing wrong with that. In the real world all that comes after dating, after the honeymoon is generally hard. There are sacrifices, disappointments, anger, fighting and a whole host of other things that don’t feel good or loving. In the writer’s world everything is wonderful.

In real life we look forward to the wedding and can often be disappointed by what happens after. Maybe it takes a year, ten, even twenty but with a 50% divorce rate the odds kind of suck.

I heard someone once say –

“…Happy weddings are a dime a dozen, happy marriages are much more rare…A wedding is easy to make happy. A marriage is hard to make happy.”

Reading romance, writing romance serves as a reminder of that short blissful time when you’re getting to know one another. How amazing things look and feel. The genre has changed over the years though. It’s no longer dominated by the meek heroine and the misogynistic hero. I like to write about strong female characters. Not bitches, but females with a strength that carries them through life no matter what has gone wrong in their world. I think it’s a mistake that to be strong you have to beat the odds. I think true strength lies with the ability to accept your failings but continue to power through. To understand that you are an imperfect being, we all are.

I like heroines who don’t NEED someone to complete who they are. Looking to your mate to make you whole never works. Looking to someone who will somehow show you or guide you to becoming a better person will turn into a painful and never fully realized need. You can fool yourself into believing that you will act differently or think differently but that isn’t who you really are. Do we really want to be someone else because things haven’t gone our way in life. You’re short changing yourself and you end up ignoring or denying who you are. Eventually it will either implode around you or kill everything that made you who you are. It will lead to self-doubt, self-pity, and resentment until finally you give into the fact that you will live the rest of your life missing something. And that will make you nothing more then an empty vessel.  Whatever it is that you are missing isn’t somehow resolved because of another person. That kind of wishful thinking makes for some disappointed, unhappy couples.

I like writing and reading about couples who have flaws, who aren’t perfect and they realize it. What I try to have these couples discover is that love is unconditional…that word has lost its true meaning. Now I’m not talking about anyone putting up with abuse, neglect or any of those things that humiliate or takes someones dignity from them.

Unconditional love may sound easy but I think it’s the most difficult thing about being part of a committed relationship. I’ve heard people get into fights over the small nit picky things…the toilet seat being left up. Dishes left on a table. She keeps her car messy, he doesn’t throw his socks in the hamper. The way they do this or the way they do that. These are some examples of small things that drive people apart and it shouldn’t. In the grand scheme of life, does any of this stuff really change the world? Nope, this is just a symptom of a bad marriage. Often we allow our partners to make us feel less than a human, as though we just don’t cut it or we ourselves may be guilty of do that to our partner. If there is bitching about the small stuff it’s a way of not dealing with the real issues. You should never feel small . As I’ve said before your partner should never, ever make you feel like you’re just “playing a role” I think it kills any love you have for that person. And you don’t live a complete life.

Are things always easy? No. Will there be fighting?  Yes. But unconditional love (I take you exactly as you are kind of love) can and does exist. We all want to feel like that and I think that is why the romance genre is so huge. All things are possible.

In stories it doesn’t matter how the heroine looks because there is always this a hot, beautiful man waiting to love her (and yes I believe all women should and deserved to be loved by any man) She doesn’t have to be perfect. She can be scared and tough. She can be sexually aggressive and enjoy the act as much or more as any man. She can be confident in who she is and what she wants.

There isn’t anything I love more than strong characters who finds the partner they can be vulnerable with, safe with, crazy with, get angry with, can get put in their place without being put down. I like my characters to be respected and to learn to respect themselves. I like them to discover their life is important not what their past has forced them to think they are. I try to show them not only at their best and but also at their worst. I like to break down my characters walls, leave them completely naked and open and accepted in who they are, in all that they are.

Arrogant, bad-tempered, bossy, dominant and sometimes uncompromising are how most hero’s start out. And when they meet their lady-love it’s not as though they change those things about themselves. It’s more that these women won’t put up with their shit. They won’t be treated like a child or as though they are weak in nature.

And the best part is, as these couples discover everything about each other and fall in love they can still be who they are just better. Enhanced, not because they’ve changed everything they feel or who they are but because they are embraced by their lover. Yes, there always kinks (not sexual ones, unless that’s their deal…lol) that need to be worked out but in the end your left satisfied and feeling good about them as a couple.

If the reader is rooting for them as they navigate the barriers they face in a story then I’ve done my job. When the words” The End” show up and a reader says “Oh. My God” or is left breathless or the myriad of other emotions that come along with a love story then I’ve done my job.

Girls are programmed to think that the happily ever after is what we all want to attain. We watch the girl get the prince in movies. As teenagers and our hormones kick in we fall for movie stars, the boys in the band and the captain of the football team. We know exactly how we want our wedding to be like. Our dream man is not only possible but is out there somewhere just waiting for us.

Our later experiences can make us cynical. We settle for less than what we deserve. We might end up where we don’t want to be and a whole host of other things that shape our view of love and what it really means or what it should look like.

As a romance writer I truly believe that what I write is possible and that every couple should have what our characters have. Sure it takes some planning, maybe a little extra work. But the reward is so worth it.

I do like writing love stories and all the wonderful things that can happen when you are truly one, together. I believe in happy endings. I believe you can love someone for exactly who they are-not what you think they can benot what you think they should be-But for who they are , right here, right now. Without condition, without expectations that they will change or things will improve (because if you’re at that point, you shouldn’t be together). That kind of love does exist. It may be hard to find. And sometimes we want it so bad that we end up with the wrong person. But then there are the couples who are with the right person. Who understand what unconditional means and feels it for their partner.

I’m as sure of this as I am that I’ll draw another breath. I’m far from naive, the last person anyone would say is idealistic. I can be pretty damn cynical but beyond the cynicism, deep down there is NO doubt that the kind of love we romance writers try to portray is out there, waiting for everyone. As long as we don’t run away in fear, as long as we grab onto the opportunity and run with it and enjoy the ride-we to can experience what it’s like.

We don’t have to be victims of love, we can be victorious in it. Let go of the fear and realize we are worthy of  unconditional love and unbridled passion! And one of the bravest thing we can do in life is to believe in what we can’t see.

I do realize that what I write is a fantasy. That real life is isn’t so black and white. But it is possible to feel like a heroine in a book (just as you are) and its even more possible to find your hero (just as he is) And that you can( if you choose)have a wonderful and fulfilling romance with the man of your dreams.

 

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