September 8, 2014

When You're Single & Writing Romance

I will be the first to tell you I'm a hopeless romantic. The Bachelorette, Hallmark movies, romance novels--all of these can be scoffed at as unrealistic and silly. And that is true to a point--it's all fiction. Real-life love doesn't look like movies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days or The Wedding Planner. I'll make the argument though that The Notebook--the beginning and end where an elderly Noah is reading to Allie who's suffering from dementia--that is a testament to a love that lasts. And real-life love looks like my parents who've been married for twenty-five years, came to Christ during their marriage at different times, had four kids and four job changes. Their's is a love marked with true redemption.
When I write fiction, I normally focus on the history. I interweave it into the fictional lives of characters who very well could have lived through the Great Depression or the Civil War. I try my best to make it all jump off the page--the dialogue, the character arcs, and especially the history. I want people to not only believe the story could have happened, but I want readers to believe in the story. While I am not able to time travel and actually get to know the setting or time of my story, I am able to research till I'm happily dizzy all the big and little details that make an authentic historical novel. So on that hand--I write what I know. I figure out what I need to learn, read countless pages on it and then I write.

So the question is, being single--is it right that I do write romance into my novels? I've never walked through a relationship personally nor does that appear to be on the horizon in the near future. And I'm great with that--I have too many books to write beforehand! I don't want to write perfect, cute love stories, nor make romance the focal point of any novel. I know from witnessing my parents' marriage, other friends' relationships and engagements, that love is hard. Even when you're together with The One, oftentimes you have to wait awhile before life together can begin. There is and always will be sin in a relationship--but also sanctification. There are families to juggle, activities to balance and friends to still make time for. Love is hard. But it is also beautiful because the best real-life love stories have God-fingerprints all over them.

Therein is the key to writing romance in spite of being single: interweaving a sweet, believable love story amidst the very real history and pointing it all back to the Most High God Who holds time and history in His ever-capable hands. I said my parents' love story is one of redemption--but aren't we all stories of redemption? Therefore, in writing my novels, I can only write as the Lord leads and pray each and every word--of the history retold and the romance--be pointing to Him as the great Author and Perfecter of my faith and lover of my soul.