Write Love in the Right Places*

I think people sometimes confuse my dislike of romance movies and chick flicks with an aversion to love and romance itself.

This is not the case.  I love love.  My book ends with a wedding.  A legit wedding, none of that Game of Thrones nonsense.

The confusion probably comes from my dislike of fluff.  Cheese.  Mush.  Whatever you want to call it.  The moments that make most girls sigh in movies usually just irritate me.

“That’s ridiculous.  Why would you trust someone who just walked out of his own wedding with your happiness?”

“I’ve never been to high school, but I’m pretty sure the jocks and the band geeks are not modern representations of the Capulets and the Montagues.”

“ROMEO AND JULIET ARE NOT THE COUPLE TO ASPIRE TO BE, HAVE YOU EVEN READ THAT PLAY?”

“Why isn’t this movie about the dorky best friends of the ushy couple, their story is much more interesting.”

“Does every movie have a big dramatic scene standing in the rain with violin music as the soundtrack?”

“Oh, this is a Nicholas Sparks movie?  Yeah, that person’s gonna die.”

“Clearly these people have no idea how wormholes work.”

I’m sure you get the idea.

This probably makes me sound bitter. Like I’m the kind of person who calls Valentine’s Day “Singles Awareness Day” and constantly complains about being the third wheel, or that the only decent guys are already taken.

I’m not.  I am fully capable of getting over-invested in the love lives of people, both real and fictional.

Just thinking about Peggy Carter and Steve Rogers can make me cry.

The balance between my love and hate for Joss Whedon shifted a little toward hate when he turned an otp into a notp in the space of a single episode of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.  It shifted further when he threw Fitzsimmons out of a plane.  Then sent Gemma to another planet.  Bringing her back and letting those precious cinnamon rolls be happy has only now started to restore the balance.

My favorite part of Fiddler on the Roof  is when Tevye sings “Do You Love Me?” to his wife, Golda.  Also, his acknowledgment of Chava at the end.

Maria going back to the abbey in Sound of Music breaks my heart a little every time I watch it.

I kept waiting for Beezus and Henry to start dating in the Ramona books.

I would love to have never read the final chapter of Robin Hood so I could imagine Robin and Marian growing old together.

The first time I legitimately cried over a book was near the end of Anne of the Island when  Anne realizes she’s in love with Gilbert, but thinks he’s dying and won’t have the chance to tell him.  I still cry over that part.  I also have a completely irrational hatred of Royal Gardner for getting in the way for so long.

I have yelled at authors (well, their books at least) when someone or something starts to get in the way of a relationship that NEEDS TO HAPPEN. (Examples include, but are not limited to, Percy Jackson meeting Elizabeth Dare, Freckles thinking he’s not good enough for his Angel, when Rose almost falls for THE WRONG COUSIN, the crazy wife in the attic, THE ENTIRE STORY OF The Witch of Blackbird Pond)

Probably the first time I threw a book was when Finnick died and was denied the happy life with Annie he so richly deserved.

Don’t even get me started on my own characters.

The point is, I’m not against romance.

But it shouldn’t be the main focus.

All the books, movies, and tv shows I referred to above have conflicts arising from something else.  Sometimes it’s the struggle to just survive. Sometimes it’s a search for self.  Sometimes it’s Nazis.  Or finding a place in an unfamiliar society.

If the central conflict in a story, be it movie or book, is the main character finding love, I’m not interested.

Stories should be about life.  Love is part of life.  As is loss.  And struggle.  And change.  And friendship.  Discovering who you are, and how the world works.  Trying to change the world when you realize something is wrong.

Love is a beautiful thing.

But it’s not the ONLY thing.

*Title credit goes to my writing buddy Jordan, master of puns and bug slayer extraordinaire.

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