Saturday, August 19, 2006

What About Love?

The perfect lover is one who turns into a pizza at 4:00 a.m. - Charles Pierce

Mary started it, Charity continued it and I'm going to put in my two cents because it's my blog and I can.

There's always a certain degree of physical attraction between people and the rest either happens or it doesn't. - Debbie Allen

Mary asks and Charity responds to an interesting question. If you’re writing a romance/love story, what attracts your two characters to each other?

I think romance readers want to see two people who are ultimately willing to sacrifice anything to be together.

It is explained that all relationships require a little give and take. This is untrue. Any partnership demands that we give and give and give and at the last, as we flop into our graves exhausted, we are told that we didn't give enough. - Quentin Crisp

I remember a quote from the movie "Cat Ballou" (I can, in fact, probably quote the entire movie to you, but will restrain myself for the moment…)

Cat says to the object of her affection, "Love is not blind. I know all your faults and I see what you're like and I don't care. I love you anyway."

In my opinion, this sums up the perfect relationship. We're all flawed. So are our characters. Nobody is perfect, but somewhere out there is someone who is perfect for someone else.

In "Faking It", Jennifer Crusie ends the book with a proposal: "Marry me, Matilda, and make me the most confused man on earth." Her H/H were perfect for each other, though they were both desperately flawed.

And I don't think that it has to be opposites or that they have to "complete" each other, per se. The joy of the H/H in Crusie's book is that they were very similar in one particular way -- and without that one attribute in common, they would never have been able to live HEA.

I believe that physical attraction must be there. I also think, especially for a romance, that it has to be pretty much immediate. Even in the book where the heroine eventually falls for the guy who's been her BFF, she's aware that he's handsome or whatever.

Fact is, though, that we all aren't attracted to the same look. Mary's been posting pix of George Clooney on her blog. I think he's an okay looking guy, but he really doesn't do it for me.

There's a country singer named Billy Currington who makes the girls swoon.

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I don't get it. At all.

But that's because I'm more of a Josh Turner kinda gal.

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In fact, I actually prefer when romances DON'T include a picture of the H/H on the front, because what one person thinks is sexy turns another person completely off. I like to use my imagination and picture the hero looking like what I like - you can describe him as tall, dark and handsome and every single person will have a different idea of what that represents.

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After physical attraction, there has to be admiration of a non-physical sort.

One of my heroine's is afraid of men because she was raped many years before, but starts to fall for the hero when he treats her daughter with consideration. Maybe another man would patronize the daughter, and this would turn the heroine off.

One of my hero's realizes he's toast when the heroine keeps her head during an emergency. This attribute would turn off other men -- maybe they want someone they can take care of and don't appreciate independence in women.

Another one admires the fact that the heroine doesn't treat his flaky neighbor like garbage. I have to admit that this one even surprised me… because his neighbor is really flaky.

They're small things, but they build into LUV. They change attraction into admiration and lust or infatuation into the real thing.

Charity says this: I’m often amazed at writers who switch out couples with a seemingly casual, “Oh, he was the wrong hero for her.” Huh?

I agree wholeheartedly. For those of you who've read my stuff… try to picture Liv or Camilla with Derek, or Tish with Mike (though, this one might work… hmmm… nope, they'd end up friends and going to tractor pulls together) or Jed with Laurie.

Nope. They're right where they're supposed to be.

What about you? What do you think attracts your two characters to each other uniquely? Care to chime in?


Pam said...


For me, there's this underlying sense that these two people had been destined to fall in love. Each came with the right experiences and sensibilities that fostered near perfect and mutual understanding, accepting and rejoicing of all strengths and foibles.

I agree. Such characters are not interchangeable. After all, only certain keys should open certain doors.

Charity said...

I’m sorry, but that Billy dude? He looks like he’s trying to remember the alphabet--and having a hard go at it. I think we could continue this love, attraction, sexual tension thread endlessly. But for today, I’m just going to say that I agree with you on both cover art and descriptions.

I read one novel by a well-known author where a physical attribute was described over and over again--and it was one I found totally unappealing. I’d have to leap over those parts of the book. once or twice, okay, but this was relentless.

MaryF said...

Great quotes! Especially the Cat Ballou one.

The fact that the characters need to be willing to sacrifice anything to be together is something I explored in both Hot Shot and DLB. In Hot Shot it was livelihood, in DLB, it was their lives. Vanished isn't that big of a book, but I think that theme would play well there, too.


(And sorry about George --- never fear, he will be replaced before long ;))

Ceri said...

I never got the Billy Currington thing, and Josh Turner is much more appealing-its the eyes.

I have to agree, best not to have characters pictures on the cover. I can't read anything with Fabio on it *cringe*. But I have very definite ideas about what my heros look like.

I don't interchange my characters, I can't imagine doing that. Alex would never work with Krista and Aidan and Tori would never make it.

rqzyacahw-real quiet zebras yawn at casual animals hopping widely
(oh, that wasn't good)