A. Do you read love stories? YES. Not Harlequins, and most often as part of a bigger story, but if a book does not include a romance, what good is it?
2. What do you think makes a really fine love story? I like it when the two people in question are mismatched. I like it when they are friends first. I like it when they are completely taken by surprise by their feelings. I like it when the man is a hottie stud and the girl is only plain (just being honest here). Not surprisingly, these are the elements of my own life story.
Also, I don’t want sex scenes, but if my heart palpitates a little harder during some scenes, then that’s just fine by me. I am a firm believer that the sweet agony of anticipation is a HUGE part of enjoyment. Furtive sideways glances, quaking realizations, desperate stiflings of emotion…ending with fearful confessions…again, my own story.
III. Must someone die in a story in order for it to be satisfying? Hell no. But Rose’s response was the best. She said “only if it’s done properly. Fred, for instance, was a mistake, while Dumbledore was perfect.” If you’ve read Harry Potter, you know what we’re talking about.
4. What makes you gag, put the love story down, and walk away forever? All of you nailed it for me, and here’s the synopsis: graphic goings-on in the bedroom (or elevator, or beach, or top of the refrigerator, or wherever), shallowness, actions that don’t hold to reality, perfect characters, sappiness, again, characters I can’t relate to, no other plot, and sermonizing.
Also, I must quote Rose here when she said “when the guy apologizes for kissing the girl. be real, dude. you’re not sorry.” and might I add, if you ARE sorry, I don’t like you, you’re a pansy-ass.
E. What’s the best love story you ever read (no fair saying the Bible)? Besides the obvious Mr. Knightley and Emma in the book by Ms. Austen, I have to say I loved the Secret Life of Bees and the sweet tale it told. I was terrified it (the love story part) was going to end badly, and when it didn’t I was just so delighted.
(thought of a sixth): What book did you take with you on your last vacation? Some stupid beach romance. I can’t rememer the name of it. How sad! I fear writing a book that no one can remember the name of.
A few other thoughts: infidelity is not okay. It’s just not. I don’t care what other flaws the characters have, but if they can’t keep it in their pants, you’ve lost me. Tempted is okay, in fact, it might be awesome, come to think of it, but they better walk away or the book is in the fireplace.
Here are my problems: I like my characters too much. I think a writer has to be a little indifferent towards those she has created. Less like God and more like Zeus. Also, the love interest in question is definitely perfect. I mean, aside from being obnoxiously perfect, he has no flaws. How can I change this? I like him. I tell myself that my main character has enough flaws for the both of them. Will that work?
Also, I must confess that the story I’m writing is, at the heart, a love story. There are peripheral events, but essentially, there it is. I was agonizing over this fact and trying to figure out how I could fit in some time travel or a murder investigation, but I had to admit defeat. It is what it is. It is not a world-changer. It is not a NY Times Best Seller. I had to ask myself: if it is only a book someone might take to the beach and get sand all in its dog-eared pages, sigh with pleasure when it’s over and forget all about, then can I live with that?
Yes. I definitely can. And I hope I will.