Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What is Romance?

What is romance?
The World English Dictionary defines it as - a love affair, esp an intense and happy but short-lived affair involving young people.  
Excuse me?
Alternate definition - a narrative in verse or prose, written in a vernacular language in the Middle Ages, dealing with strange and exciting adventures of chivalrous heroes.
Chivalrous heroes – now we're getting somewhere.
One more attempt - any similar narrative work dealing with events and characters remote from ordinary life.
Characters remote from ordinary life – not necessarily.  Some romance writers have vampires or werewolves falling in love with humans.  The characters may be "remote from ordinary life", but the romance that is presented in the story is as wondrous as any human romance.  I applaud the authors who pen these stories.  It is quite a challenge to make the reader fall in love with a throat-ripping, snarling werewolf and be cheering for him by the end of the story.
In my latest, my heroine, Julie, is a dancer; a ballerina to be exact.  Is that remote from ordinary life?  A ballerina would say no.  To her, her life is normal.  She works, has friends, dreams and aspirations.
    Circles Interlocked presents Julie as an aging dancer nearing the end of her career.  Her current boy friend has proposed and she is faced with the most complex decision of her career – continue to dance and risk chronic pain or face the emotional pain of retirement.  And just to complicate her decision, her former lover falls back into her life.  He's the one who cheated on her, broke her heart, ruined her trust in men – but is still the one she loves.   
First romance description - a love affair, esp an intense and happy but short-lived affair involving young people.   That is the prestory to this romance.  Julie and her ex were in love.  They were young and it was a passionate and short-lived affair.  Life has a way of complicating things and the affair ended but the story continued.
Second definition - a narrative in verse or prose, written in a vernacular language in the Middle Ages, dealing with strange and exciting adventures of chivalrous heroes. Circles Interlocked is a contemporary story – so for the sake of argument the reference to the Middle Ages is going to be ignored.  By the end of the story Julie happily discovers her ex has lead some "strange and exciting adventures" and is definitely her chivalrous hero.
Final attempt - any similar narrative work dealing with events and characters remote from ordinary life.  Being in a romance takes people out of their ordinary lives and tosses them into a whole new world.  That's what being "in love" is all about as Julie will learn on her journey through Circles Interlocked
Definition for romance – merge the three - a love affair, intense and happy involving a heroine and chivalrous hero and dealing with the strange and exciting adventures of life.
What's your definition of romance?

4 comments:

  1. Very interesting, Victoria. So many definitions of romance. Your story Circles Interlocked sounds intriguing. Best of luck:)

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  2. Thanks Mart. :-)

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  3. Perhaps there are no guidelines for what is romance. It is something very personal to every person. Centuries back authors used mythological characters perhaps because the imagination of the audience was limited. Shakespeare did not use any mythological characters. If your personal choice for a romantic hero assumes being brave, somehow that is getting lost in the details you are putting. What can be different and new situations in which a hero is forced to act brave? How much can he defy for love and can there be a cause for which he can be forced to defy love? What will he do in that situation?

    As much as you look interested in romance, you are not breaking your own mental barriers to go into a new territory to explore freshness in romance. For one thing is sure - romance, if it is true, it is bound to be fresh.

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  4. Thank you for your comments.

    No there are no guidelines to "what is romance" Each person has a personal definition based on their life experiences. And this is my interpretation.

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