Welcome to the real world, where romance is tough

No, you didn’t ask for it, but I’m about to share my opinion on romance books. Why? Because I have lots of them (opinions, not romance books) (although I have a few of those, too). If you love every romance story out there, this may not be the post for you.

First, as a disclaimer, I have read some amazing romance stories. Also, I am terrible at writing romance. It’s hard work. So if you write romance, good on you for trying! I’m just throwing out some thoughts. Who knows, maybe it will help someone write a better romance next time.

Pet peeve number one: I know by the second paragraph who will end up together, for certain, no doubts about it. Please, can’t we have just a little background and character development? Let’s introduce your main character for a page or two, preferably in an enjoyable little adventure like trying to buy soda with only pocket change. Are they patiently counting the last of their life savings? Too desperate for their cola fix to run home for a credit card? Or just having a terrible day and their wallet got stolen by a rabid monkey?

Number two: the girl acts crazy (usually more than once) and the poor sap who is in love with her just takes it. He usually apologizes after she’s calmed down because it’s obviously all his fault, right? Wrong! Once in a while, I’d like the realistic reaction of a guy running for his life during her meltdown and sending a break up text from the safety of his car. The truth is that crazy girls don’t usually marry sweet guys. (I’m the exception)

And my biggest pet peeve of all: When the girl/guy is madly in love, but they can’t figure it out. Not cool, writers, not cool. It usually sounds like this, “Every time the tall, handsome, rich, kind, generous and otherwise perfect man walked into the room, her hands started sweating and her heart was racing. She couldn’t think about anything but him at night as she tried to sleep. And she just DIDN’T KNOW WHY.”

Really? She didn’t know why? Gosh, my heart is all a-flutter and he fills my dreams, I must want to sell him a used car. Let’s stop this madness. Either he is very annoying and she doesn’t like him at all (until a dark, stormy night when he wins her over) OR she’s secretly in love with him and she knows it. If you’re looking for a middle ground, I will gladly direct you to the friend-zone where many men/women wait patiently, thinking of unrequited love. Or, go check in the she-is-my-sister’s-best-friend area. There are lots of hormones going on over there.

So really, my issues all boil down to one point: let’s keep it real. If we knew the moment we stepped into Chem 201 which boy we’d end up with, life would be sweet. If we could act totally crazy during the dating stage and still snag Liam Heimsworth, he’d be living a very polygamous life. And we all know when we are falling for someone, even if he’s not what we expected.

Now, can someone help me with my love story? My main character can’t find anyone who will put up with her opinions…

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Healing

One of the reasons I love to write is because it is so therapeutic. I enjoy writing the emotions of characters or analyzing my day in my journal. I enjoy composing letters to my sweet husband or a short lunchbox note for my daughter.  The power of words is amazing. A sentence or even a single word can change some one’s outlook for the day or even their life.

I think the most important thing I have written so far was the eulogy for my 2nd daughter, Adria. I woke up in the middle of the night – confined to a bed from breaking my back in the accident that took her life – and the words were just there, in my mind. I know it was her speaking to me. Those words she sent to me were the ones I needed. They spoke of love, faith and eternity.

I had so many people who told me that they were amazed that I would speak at the funeral. I look back now and marvel myself. I was unable to walk, a broken back and 13 other broken bones had necessitated that we push off the funeral for several weeks, but I went up in a wheelchair to share those words. My collapsed lung and subsequent tubes in my throat made speaking painful and my voice was a husky whisper.

But I needed to be up there, sharing those words. To tell all the people who came to support us about my daughter was one of those life-changing moments. The words were healing. To share my knowledge of Heaven and God and eternal life soothed my soul and comforted my broken heart. The words gave power to the emotions we were all feeling. Most importantly, those words gave us direction. As we move on in our day-to-day lives, we know where we are going. Those words reminded everyone that day to take the path through life that can bring us back to Heaven to be with our sweet Adria.

 

Words

I have always loved words. I read The Little House on the Prairie when I was 5 years old and realized how magical it was to visit another time and place. It wasn’t until I had children of my own that I realized how extraordinary it was for a child so young to read that book, without help. 

For the next seven or eight years I read every historical book my mother would bring me. There were several that I loved so much I read them over and over. Especially The Journey Home by Isabelle Holland, Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare and Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

The Journey Home

Then when I was about 12 I came across a book, Talking to Dragons by Patricia Wrede. It’s actually the fourth in her Enchanted Forest Chronicles, but I read it first. I had never been so enthralled by a book. Dragons, swords and the most amazing magic. In fact, I’ve yet to read a fantasy book with magic used so fabulously. If you are a fantasy lover and haven’t read this series, shame on you. It is one of the most unique fantasy worlds out there. This book changed my focus.

I still loved historical fiction, but I began to look for books that would take me to other worlds. I still remember how surprised my mom was (but very supportive) when I became immersed in the Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights series. This, of course, was before the second set of movies came out and before there were thousands of fan fiction novels out there.

I owe my mom so much for teaching me from a young age about the magic of words and the adventures they give us.