WHAT IS A ROMANCE?

     That’s an easy question to answer.  Boy meets boy.  The attraction is instant, but something keeps them apart.  However, the attraction is so great they work through the problems to reach a happy ending.  If you think this is too simplistic, consider for a moment the structure of a mystery.  A crime is committed, and an investigation of the clues leads to the solution of the crime and bringing the criminal to justice.  It’s a fairly accurate parallel to a romance.  The crime (okay, I’m joking) is the instant attraction.  The investigation of clues is comparable to tackling the conflicts that are keeping the two men apart.  Solving the crime and bringing the criminal to justice is the same as solving the problems and making a commitment to each other for the future.
     Of course it takes a lot more than those three sentences to fill up a book, but that’s where multiple conflicts, subplots, and secondary characters come in.  The more problems, the better.  We wouldn’t want to make happy-ever-after easy, would we?  Some conflicts are external – one lives in California and the other lives in New York; they are of different ages or come from different cultures – but the most engrossing conflicts are internal.  One is conservative and in the closet while the other is out and an activist; one believes in monogamy while the other is a sex addict.  The more hopeless the situation seems, the more compelling the story.  Hopefully the story will contain fascinating secondary characters and intriguing subplots, but everything must dovetail into the main plot, the resolution of the conflicts that are keeping the two men from their happy-ever-after relationship.
     I believe it’s important to a romance that the story be told in the points of view of both main characters.  Two guys with different backgrounds are falling in love.  That gives them separate issues they must work through alone and together.  It’s important to be in the head of each character to be fully grounded in the story.  Of course it’s possible to write a good book using a single point of view, but I believe that limits the development of the romance.  Except in very special circumstances, there should be no other point-of-view characters. This may seem overly restrictive, but a gay romance should be about two men falling in love and working things out so they can share a life together.  Other points of view tend to divert the focus of the story.  Everything else in the book should be secondary to, and contribute toward, the resolution of the romance.
     Now about that happy ending.  I know many gay men don’t believe in marriage or monogamy, don’t believe it’s possible between two men, or don’t want to be limited to one sex partner.  I’m not trying to convert anyone or make a case for gay marriage, but my definition of a romance requires a happy ending where the two men commit to each other for the rest of their lives.  How they do that in real life can take many forms, but in romance that means total commitment to each other, i.e., monogamy.  Even though I love an epilogue to give me a glimpse of the characters and their happy-ever-after, for me, the book ends when they reach the point of commitment.

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Responses

  1. I love a happy ending ,since I have one,I think that everybody deserves ,at least one true love in their life.no matter how long it takes

  2. I agree. Mine was a long time coming so I intend to enjoy it as fully as I can.


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