No, seriously. So, if that title scares you, move along. I brought GIFs to this pondering post. >:3
Did you think I was joking about the GIFs?
For years, I eschewed any association or affiliation with the dreaded “romance.” Romance was for lonely old wives in books and curious preteens in movies. It was icky, girly, stupid, vapid, etc. It was overrated. If you liked romance, you were instantly barred from ever making my acquaintance.
Then I grew the hell up. And realized the story I worked so hard to make about anything else centered around one simple concept: love. I’ve always written love stories, be they happy or sad, series or standalone, fantasy or contemporary.
The characters I’ve written about have pretty much always been in romantic relationships that evolved into sexual relationships – or vice versa. I’m no stranger to asexual and aromantic orientations (nowadays, anyway), but they typically aren’t my protagonists (at least, not so far). There’s always been at least one “sex scene” in the stories I write. They just progress naturally like that.
But, because my nose was usually buried in books that don’t traditionally focus on relationships, I didn’t know it was “okay” to publish that kind of stuff. I assumed Nora Roberts’ books (and the like – generalizing, again) were all pursuit and happily-ever-afters following a final kiss.
As it turns out, though, there’s a whole community of writers who write romance in a more modern sense. Some of this stuff will downright make you blush. Seriously. But, to me, it reads more realistically. The second a story gets dark or sexy or even a little bit queer, a light goes off in my head like, “Hey! Maybe there’s more – stick around and see!” My favorites combine all three with a sprinkling of strangeness. (Mwahaaha.)
The best part? The writers in these communities are shameless! They write blog posts and caption Instagram photos and narrate Snapchat videos and stuff to the tune of “Writing my latest book – sex is hotter than ever!” in addition to regular rants about characters and world, etc. that other writers often do, too. I honestly admire how almost cavalier they can be about it all. Sex and all that stuff’s only natural, after all. Why be ashamed to discuss it? (I’m a big supporter of sex positivity, already, anyway.)
So why do I bring all this stuff up (and risk making you uncomfortable with all the GIFs hahah)? Because I want a slice of that. I wanna be so comfortable with the stories I write that I don’t have to water the original concept and plot down so much that an emphasis on romantic/sexual relationships is incongruous with the rest of the story line.
But not just for the sheer fuck of it. If you know anything about me and my writing, you’ll know I like to push the envelope. I like to turn tropes on their fuckin’ heads. I like to contest the paradigm. And, in my own way, I definitely intend to do the same in the romance genre.
I have a lot of steps to go until I can get to the place where I can take the notion and the pursuit of it seriously, but I’ve had this in the back of my mind for so long – since I first started writing about sex at all, what? Ten years ago? – that it feels like a natural evolution in the path to my being fully seated, fully comfortable with myself, in the role of being an author.