Today begins a new story over on a storytime blog that features different writers. A five-week installment paranormal romance with a twist. There’s always a twist. It’s what makes each romance unique from the myriad of others that are out there.
Let’s face it the basic romance plot is pretty simple. Two people meet, they fall in love, they live happily ever after. Ah, but the twist sets it apart. What if they don’t live happily ever after? What if they are happy for now? Or if it’ a tragedy? What if there’s another man? Or woman? There has to be something that is either keeping them apart, or something that has to be overcome.
Even in other genres, romance prevails. In a good spy thriller there is usually some sort of romance involved. Even if it’s this episodes “Bond” girl, the passion is there. The Spy Who Loved Me wouldn’t be as effective without the romance element. Romance inevitably adds a certain bit of excitement and danger to even the simplest stories.
The idea of letting another person into your personal and intimate space is downright scary. Allowing someone to get close enough that they could seriously hurt you, completely destroy you if they are not trustworthycan be terrifying. When matters of the heart are involved, things can go from good to bad faster than you can flip a switch.
King David lusted after another man’s wife. He saw Bathsheba in the garden bathing, and desired her. He ende up having her husband Uzziah killed in order to have her. Bathsheba and David’s child died, but later she gave him another son, Solomon. There’s nothing picture perfect about that relationship, in fact there’s more twist there than many modern stories.
Romeo and Juliet were fated lovers that in the end couldn’t overcome their families prejudices. This tale ends in tragedy.
Tristan and Isolde; Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot; Frankie and Johnny; Mac and Barrons; the list goes on and on.
In an era that we can reach people across the globe with a click of our Facebook button, we are simultaneously moving into an area of becoming more isolated than ever before. Yet the hope of love prevails. Most of us aren’t so calloused that we have truly given up on the idea of love. There is a small grain of hope within us, that perhaps somewhere, somehow, there is someone out there that will love us and care about us on a deep intimate level that we can share our lives with.
It doesn’t have to be true love, a fated love, love at first sight or any of the cliché things. We have an inner desire for companionship. A small flicker of hope that says we don’t have to be alone. Even for the doggiest dog, at some level they desire closeness.
Matters of the heart dictate how we behave. For young trusting lovers, it’s carefree and joyous. For the once burned twice shy lover it’s a different matter. They become guarded, untrusting, and suspicious of the other’s motives. The multiple burn victim is often calloused, and tries to act like they don’t care. It takes that one in a million person to get through their tough exterior, to get past the self-defense tactics, and beyond the facade of ambivalence.
We read romance because we want to experience the thrill, the joy, the pain, the heartache while not actually experiencing it for ourselves because the bottom line is that it can be terrifying to put yourself on the line, vulnerable to someone else. Reading romance is a safe way to dream, a safe way to experience the roller coaster ride without actually risking our heart. There is the slight drawback that in the end we are in the same place, left dreaming and hoping and still afraid to take the plunge ourselves.
My new story over at Storytime, Valkyrie’s Curse, is about two kinds of guys. The gorgeous bad boy that makes us want to flirt with danger, and the good guy that is sincere, honest and trustworthy. Why is it we think we have to push our boundaries with danger before we can be happy with the good guy? Isn’t it amazing the trouble we can get ourselves into before we appreciate what we could have had all along?
Whether it’s the happily ever after, the happy for now, or the tragedy, we love reading a good romance. At times we’ll even read the cheesy not as good ones. It’s safer than risking our own hearts.
Write on my friends, write on!