I think I overthink the romance genre.
I mean, people who read romance novels are just picking it up to go through the emotions of falling in love, right? That’s why romance has such a predictable formula–there doesn’t need to be a ton of plot. Guy meets girl. Girl and guy have secrets. Girl and guy hit it off (or fight). Circumstances throw them together again and again until they get to know each other a bit–and then secrets come to light and they splitsville … and then they realize they can’t live without each other and work hard to make things turn out. Happily ever after. Fade to credits.
As I’ve mused before, love has a lot of aspects to it. Like when I released Malcontent, I was chewing on the idea of respect in relationships. Too many relationships have been wrecked without it.
I was playing with another romantic plot, and I remarked to my writer’s group, why can’t I write romance without adding suspense? There’s always got to be death. People laughed.
Then I started thinking. When does love NOT have death? When two people fall in love, they have to die to their own selfish desires, their own secrets, for the good of the other person. Heck, it goes on, too. Say they get married and have kids. The parents have to die to their wishes for dates, alone time, any time at all … for the good of the family. Death, death, death.
But out of it comes life, life, life.
God’s built the principle of resurrection into the fabric of our reality. We have to die to those desires so new, better things result. And it happens all the time. Any time a person dares to die to themselves for the sake of someone else, something good results. At least, it does in my life! So I suck it up and die to myself in little ways every day, because the reward is so worth it.
It works the same way in fiction. I find that my best romantic plots involve death–characters who are willing to die for each other, in tiny ways as well as big ways. I guess I just overthink things. Or maybe I’m just coming to understand “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”