I have defined myself as a romance writer. I’m not completely sure that is accurate. What happens when I start writing a story it ends up a love story on one level or another. I don’t understand the alchemy of it ; I truly don’t. As I have said I have two things completed: a revamped fairy tale and a short story. I started the fairy tale with a simple set of questions:
• Why is the beast always male?
• Why are all the female heroines beautiful princesses?
• Why do you have to be beautiful to be a princess (or queen)?
Yes, a remake of that perennial favorite: Beauty and the Beast. Yes, to quote a Jane Austin character, I have always found the original story “most vexing”. It gnawed at me, seriously. It gnawed at me because it perpetuated the myth that changing a beast into a prince is a feat well within the capacity of any female, but , of course, she must be beautiful. The theme is redundant almost to the point of absurdity. Man as beast; woman as beauty. But what if the beauty was male? What if the beast was female? So I wrote “Dani’s Song”. Of course it had to be a love story. That was the point. Is the beast revealed as beautiful? Even after the spell is broken King Johan’s response to his Queen’s question is “She is to my eyes. Does it matter if she is to any other?”
The short story, “Breaking Precedent”, is also a love story but it certainly isn’t a romance. It’s a story about a father and a daughter. There’s love throughout it.
As an exercise to overcome my awkwardness and painful shyness when writing a love scene I sat down one day and decided to write something purely sexual. OK, in a word: porn. It was painful writing but I was determined to get myself over it. So I wrote and wrote. It took a long time. When I had reached the goal of being eighty percent comfortable I looked back on what I had written and discovered. . .another love story! Not just the one between the central characters but three, possibly even five different love stories going on. (insert picture of banging head against desk or wall). I stuffed all those “exercises” away in password protected files. Just because I could write them didn’t mean I wanted them seen.
But there it was. I recall reading a quote by Stephen King which stated his subconscious just happened to leak out horror stories. Yes, I’m broadly paraphrasing here because I can’t find it now. There was more to the quote but I simply can’t remember. The concept stuck with me though and it comes vividly to mind here. I sit down to write and what comes out of my fingertips regardless of original intent. . . are love stories. Fact acknowledged and accepted. So until something changes and bubbles up I am a writer of love stories. Now to get to work.