I tend to avoid writing romance in my stories.
This is not a denigration of the genre as a whole. I don’t mind romance in fiction, nonfiction, what have you. But it would be disingenuous of me if I didn’t admit that I am burned out by how romance is generally written or portrayed in popular media. I’m for affection no matter how grandeur or sedate. I’m not a big fan of romance revolving around a chase or comic misunderstandings that could be solved by “talking with each other.” But I won’t focus on that. Not now at least.
But that’s not the main reason why I don’t often write romance. It’s more that my mind skews platonic when I contemplate most character relationships. And this wasn’t always the case.
Back in the early days of writing (I’m talking 10-12) romance was always at the forefront of my mind. A lot of the things I liked had a romantic element in it and I wanted to emulate that. I’m talking Disney with its princess plots, the music I listened to on loop were love songs, anime like Ranma 1/2 and Clannad with their protracted “will they/won’t they” subplots, and all the YA I was reading like Twilight and the Fallen series. Romance was everywhere and I tended to pen plots where they were heavily featured or hinted. I also had a rather juvenile conception of what love and affection actually looked like. Thanks to said anime shows, my earliest characters were always sniping at each other and the violence only escalated until they were maiming each other with bats and exploding ovens to show their affection. (Yes, a truly healthy relationship!)
But the older I grew, the less these things appealed to me. The less I found myself including romance in my stories. Romance plots bored me. I started rolling my eyes at love at first sight and I grew disenchanted with “hate upon meeting” relationships.
But outside of the cliches, I just never felt comfortable in including romance in my stories. Perhaps it was shame looking at my earlier work and coming to the conclusion that I really didn’t have a talent for it. Often as I wrote characters getting intimate, I found myself embarrassed for them. Some story ideas were ended outright because I blushed too much to continue. But more than anything, I found myself more inclined to other genres. I like dark humor, mystery, and story subjects that focused on the weird and fantastical.
But I haven’t completely abandoned romance in stories. There’s something beautiful in crafting a relationship two characters that find something transcendent in their affection for each other. But I also want to explore relationships where the rose tint fades and people find something more to love in the ordinary. There’s a beauty in comfort that I think gets underrepresented in love stories.
In fact, I have a few projects which I hope to include some romantic element in them. Not sure how good I’ll be at it but trying will be fun!