So, I was sort of blown away by your responses to my last teaser. Wow guys. You really liked it? (And I'm honestly not trying to fish for compliments here. I'm just astounded that you seem to enjoy something I am MAKING UP COMPLETELY. Let me reiterate: when it comes to the romantic scenes, I have NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING.)
I will tell you honestly how I wound up writing that scene. (I swear this has a point.)
Step one: sitting on my friend Anna's floor, writing away for once as she's doing homework. Hit 45k. Also hit that scene. Instant roadblock.
Step two: after rather a while of agonizing over it, write the scene. Inform friend Anna that it is terribly difficult. She offers to lend romance novels for research.
Step three: realize I did it all wrong. Complain to roommate Katrina. She offers to read it over. Go NO NO NO NO NO.
Step four: rewrite it. Stare at it for rather a long time. Fix it again.
Step five: Roommate Katrina reads it, declares it acceptable, and I can keep going. Whew.
A lot of agony went into only about four hundred words. And why? It's only four hundred words. I'll probably tweak it again. It's not even really the most important thing going on. It's a subplot.
And yet at the same time, it IS the most important thing. It's what everybody looks for, what everybody talks about. THE HUNGER GAMES is a completely different genre, but the point still stands: what did people talk about all the time? Not whether Katniss was going to beat the Capitol, but which boy would she choose?
So what is it exactly about the romantic subplot that draws us all in like moths to very bright lights? Is it the "living vicariously through books" element? In genres like fantasy, sci fi, paranormal, and dystopian (I am waiting for spell check to recognize that "dystopian" is in fact a word), is it the necessary human, relatable connection that allows us to enter the rest of the author's world? Both? Neither? What?
Some might argue that in YA that romantic subplot is especially necessary because that's all teenagers care about, but I would beg to differ. There do exist teens who do not give a damn about romantic relationships (*raises hand*). And there are teens who care more about other things, who put their time and effort into other aspects of their lives, even if a romantic relationship is something they have.
Now, don't get me wrong - I'm as much of a sucker for a good romantic subplot or heck, even just a romantic plot sometimes, as anybody else. I was raised on Disney movies, thus I am a hopeless romantic of the worst variety. I'm asking these questions of myself as much as I am anyone else. Why do we place so much importance on these things?
I was having a conversation with said roommate Katrina - I was going into writing another romantic scene and doing some more agonizing about it, because that's what I do. I said "one of these days I'm going to write a book that hasn't got any romance in it at all so I won't have to deal with this nonsense." And she immediately said that no one would read it.
Of course, I instantly thought of two of my favorite books - INKHEART and THE THIEF LORD - that have no romance going on in them, but really, those would probably be classified more on the MG end of the spectrum than the YA end, wouldn't they?
So my question is this - would you read such a book? I doubt I ever will write such a thing, because, as I said, I am a hopeless romantic in spite of all my complaining. But I'm curious. It would probably be a tough sell, but would there be any interest at all? Why or why not?