Standards

I’ve been caught saying that I hate romance, but that isn’t really true. If the set up is right, the characters believable and the situation real, I will be caught cooing and cheering like any ‘shipper. I love Jane Austen, and have been known to scribble stories and doodles where X from A tv show finally falls for Y. I just have really high standards. I’m not willing to buy that character A loves character B just because A suddenly says so. You might be able to sell me love at first glance, but you better be a damn good writer/actor/director/etc.

I just hate… “unnecessary” romance. Romance that just feels like a pimple on the face of an otherwise good story, something thrown on hastily because it appeals to an audience segment the writer/director wants to woo. And I hate unbelievable romance. Romance where the characterization is weak and distorted, where it makes no sense, where the emotions ring false. Or where in real life, I’d be advising one or both of them to RUN, NOW, FAST. (Granted, this can also be handled well, and be enjoyable–just don’t ask me to buy it as the One True Love story later on.)

My other problem is that I require a lot of my female characters. I resent when a female character suddenly goes flat and 2D just because she’s in love. (Biggest/quickest example off the top of my head: Trinity in the Matrix.) That’s just terrible writing in my opinion. And it happens too often, especially in the genres I love most. Another thing that bugs me is how often love is the sole, driving force in the woman’s life. For kids, for dead kids, for a man, for the scorn of a man. Women have a lot of motivations, and it sucks that too often they’re reduced to nothing but love.

On the other hand, I wonder if I haven’t become TOO sensitive to that. I almost shied away from writing a story where a woman deals with long, unresolved feelings for a man who did have a heavy impact on her life, because I didn’t want to undermine all that she was and had done since that man. (In the end I wrote it anyway. Did I undermine her? I hope not. I hope I just addressed something that really can affect women AND men, for years, but does not weaken them.) And I’ve been balking at a story I’m writing now, where a woman goes to war in the name of her lover who died, because I worried that I was walking that same path–love as the only motivator, weakening who she was.

But take that same storyline and turn her into a man, and that’s a classic, heroic motivator. You wouldn’t consider him weak. You might even consider him more sympathetic, more noble, because this otherwise strong, powerful man has this vulnerability.

Anyway. Interesting.

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