BACK TO ROMANCE by Syndi Powell
The edits on my July 2018 book, Finding Her Family, was brutal. And not because my editor was wrong, but because she was so right. Her biggest complaint was that there was no romance in a novel that was supposed to be one. Sure, I had some romantic moments, but I hadn't seeded the romance through the beginning of the story to see the bloom of love by the end.
So this got me thinking. About romance. Love. And Life with the big L. What is it about romance that makes us seek it in our books and our lives? Passion is part of it. Who doesn't like feeling that thrill of a first kiss or touch? The anticipation leading up to that moment is both agony and pleasure. But I believe it is the innate need for connection in relationships that makes us pursue romance.
We crave connection with others. The psychologist, Abraham Maslow, but the need for belonging and love just after those of physical safety and security. As humans, we need to belong to a family or group, to give and receive love, to be accepted and understood. Romance is part of all that.
Since my divorce, I'll admit that I've looked at romance with a skeptical eye. I enjoyed the idea of marriage while I was in the relationship, but the thought of meeting men and pursuing something with them gives me pause. A lot of pause. As in, not only am I not looking, but I'm avoiding situations that might put someone in my path.
Has that affected my writing romance? Based on my editor's recent comments, it probably has at least in a small part. Knowing that my writing career depends on romance, I've started a re-education on love. I'm reading a variety of romance novels (some by my writer friends *waving*). I'm watching romance films as well as romantic comedies. I'm observing the relationships of friends and families. And then analyzing what I read and see.
What have I discovered? Romance isn't always hearts and flowers. Sometimes, it's holding the hand of the person you love because they are hurting and words can't heal at that moment. Other times, it's giving up something you want so that they can have what they need. It's holding hands in the car while you drive, buying their favorite chocolate, and sharing your day over dinner.Yes, romance can be big gestures; but to keep a relationship going, you need those small moments on a regular basis. It's about those basic needs: connection, acceptance, and love. It's about being there and present. And romance can be found everywhere if you're looking for it.
I'm still not looking for my own romance, but I'm more open to the idea than I was. When the timing is right, I'll be ready. In the meantime, I'm continuing my romance re-education.
What have you discovered about romance? What things in a romance novel or film make you sigh and swoon?
On a side note, for those who have read my recent novel, Healing Hearts, you might recall that my heroine April purchases a orange sherbet- colored bike. At work the other idea, I saw the bike below and thought of her. Life sometimes imitates art.