Over the past few days, I’ve been encountering all this random stuff about love. From a movie entitled a direct quote about love from the script, to Anne Frank’s longing for Peter Van Daan, to a Dove chocolate message, it’s everywhere (generically, of course). I guess the summer season churns out most of this excess, but it got me thinking about the genre I shudder the most about reading or writing (besides Sports fiction – blech). Romance.
To be honest, I don’t even consider Romance a genre. To me, it’s a nice touch to add to a story to spice up the plot, but to dedicate an entire book to romance seems kind of…shallow. Whose life is only about love? No one’s! For one, Romance is just a tad corny. C’mon, admit it, it’s mushy. It’s predictable, too. A good romance shouldn’t be predictable.
Heck, real-life romances aren’t predictable! Why is fictional romance so easy to figure out? How would someone accurately capture the nail-biting, exasperating, gossipy, emotional experience that real-life romances entail? Beats me. But, I could at least take a stab at why Romance seems almost factory-made.
Though my experience with this subject is minimal (very, very minimal), I think almost anything you can say about love is a bit cheesy. It’s such a personal, sensitive subject and what people say is usually responded to with either “Aw!” or “Jeez, brushing up on those chick-flicks?” (I’m not dissing love, itself here, it’s an inspiring thing by all means, just most fiction I’ve encountered of the Romance genre is generally…sappy.) On paper, something romantic just further emanates mush. It’s sad because how in the world would someone be able to portray every emotion, every dang thought that runs through someone in love? I’m sure that “love” isn’t the only emotion in romance. There’s hope, anger (when rejected), confusion, exhaustion, anticipation, anxiety, wonder, intrigue, care, fear, nervousness, relief, joy, etc.
I must give credit to movies though, because they hit a little closer to the target with swelling music and dimmed lighting. The realness is a bit more there, but I can’t help thinking that something’s lacking on paper. I hate to say that, because I am a sole believer in the “the book is better than the film” mantra, but in Romance’s case, I’d rather watch a chick-flick than read about someone’s dating woes.
I can appreciate a little flair of Romance in a book whose plot is not solely LOVE. Maybe it’s two people thrust together by grueling circumstances, and they help each other survive, like, in a uninhabited, dying jungle, and to break up the tension and suspense of the novel, they get a little flirty (even that is predictable, though, gah!) – not a story that begins with “I need a boyfriend” and ends with “I have a boyfriend!”. Even now, as I write this post, I feel like I’m being really cheesy. What is with this stuff?! Is it just me? Oh, I hope not.
The only thing I find that can accurately portray love is a song. Albeit, a LOT of crap love songs are out there. A LOT. But, if the song is written from the heart, with non-manufactured instrumentals backing it up, it’s pretty affecting.
If this is not your opinion too, well, sorry you had to read through this, but it’s irked me since I got interested in literature. Now it’s out there. And it’s my challenge to writers everywhere to write a romance that’s tricky and not at all what is expected. I still have hope, though, I’m sure there’s a book out there that won’t make me roll my eyes. For now, I’m just waiting on the pending romance between Anne and Peter as the pressure of hiding in the “Secret Annexe” builds. But, the stupid back cover basically said “Anne and Peter will fall in love. Enjoy not being surprised!” Thanks, it’s like they just want me to be disappointed. At least I know it was real. Oh well.