Regan Walker is putting up a series of posts on her blog in honor of Valentine’s Day this week. (In contrast, I’m going to be off to the big dog show cluster in Denver that starts on the 14th. I have nothing to show, of course. Schara is retired, and Story at 3½ months is not only too young, but too vulnerable, to be anywhere near an event like that. However, I’ll go and watch the Rottweiler classes and then cruise the vendor booths. Big shows like that have the most wonderful booths featuring things you can’t get anywhere else except online, and prices are often more reasonable than any other place. Sorry. End of digression.)
Regan’s post today features several romantic quotes, and the first is this one from Eyes:
“Anne believed she would in the end hear the words she, like all women, longed to hear, but if he never spoke of it, she would be content with this. He loved her, and she knew it, and he was capable of such tenderness it left her trembling, overwhelmed by her own love for him.”
Reading that again made me remember my intentions when I wrote it. Those of you who have read this blog for any time know that I wrote Eyes in response to a challenge from my sister. You could call that the exterior challenge.
I also set out to meet what you might call an interior challenge. I wanted to write a book that fit within the parameters that are accepted as a romance while avoiding all the tropes and cliches that I personally dislike. The above quote and everything it represents was my reaction to the many (if someone ever did a statistical analysis, I bet they might find most could be used there instead of many) romances where: The heroine either refuses to marry the hero or runs away or has some other [sarcasm on]intelligent[/sarcasm off] response to the fact she loves him and he hasn’t said, “I love you” (and blubbered all over her in a way that probably doesn’t suit his character up to that point in the book).
Regan’s next quote is: “Love is a journey from the first blush of physical attraction to a marriage of souls.” That’s from Dream Lover by Virginia Henley, a book I haven’t read, but I like the sentiment. Another of my pet romance peeves is treating physical attraction and lust as if that’s all there is to love. My only personal experience with overwhelming physical attraction was amazingly brief. The guy’s looks hit me like a freight train to the point I could hardly stand to look at him because my reaction embarrassed me so much. Then I was around him enough to realize he was a jerk, and the attraction disappeared as if it had never been. I could look at him afterward and see a handsome man of my type, but the chemistry was just gone.
Of course I realize it must not work that way for many women. The attraction evidently doesn’t disappear, and they stick with the guy—and end up in miserable relationships, divorced, in domestic violence shelters, whatever. But for me? My heroines don’t love jerks, no matter what they look like.
Hmm. Then I have this one story idea…. But if that happens, she’s going to wise up fast and move on to better.
Just off the top of my head I made a list that includes 9 other common romances cliches I’ve stayed determined to avoid. Maybe I’ll do my own series of posts and list them a few at a time.