Monday, March 01, 2010

Not Gonna Write You A Love Song

At the risk of sounding unromantic, I just watched the finale to The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love and think I need an airsick bag. And I'm not alone. My three neighbors, who got together tonight for an impromptu finale party, are all in agreement too.

What the hell was Jake thinking?

It's not that I particularly cared (in the grand scheme of things) whether or not he picked Vienna over Tenley, it's that, as a woman, I am constantly flabbergasted by the decisions men make about relationships in general.

I've watched The Bachelor for years with the same shell-shocked horror, as I realize, time and time again, that I wouldn't make it five minutes on that show.

First of all, I don't do well in groups. I'm a strictly one-person-at-a-time kind of girl. Group dates? You've got to be kidding. And I'm not competitive at all. You and me like the same guy? Take him. Spare me the drama. Plus, I would never EVER be the girl making out with the bachelor in a ubiquitous hot tub scene. I've never felt any desire whatsoever to kiss anyone on the first date (honest--and was known to actually sprint like an Olympic track star from the car if a guy moved in to kiss me) and I sure as hell wouldn't be kissing on anybody with a camera nearby, and especially not if there was any possibility at all that he'd be kissing other girls in the foreseeable future.

I've been accused, many many times, of being difficult to read, standoffish, cold, reserved, and unapproachable. I'm not, but I'm also not the type to go around fawning and heaving my bosom at people. I've noticed that men like that sort of thing--but it seems so disingenuous. Which is why I'm thankful every day of my life that I met Tom. He understood that while I wasn't a fawner and a bosom-heaver, I was honest, and if I liked you, I'd come around by date #2.

Back when we were just online friends, we started a nightly ritual where we'd IM each other after every date either of us went on. It got to the point I looked more forward to the post-date debrief with Tom than the dates themselves. We figured we ought to go out at least once, for comparison's sake, and the rest is history. It wasn't a fairytale-moonlight-and-roses kind of relationship, but I'm married to my best friend, and even after almost ten years together, we still enjoy our nightly chats.

I haven't gotten any more romantic with age. The first time I heard Sara Bareilles'  Not Gonna Write You A Love Song, I cranked it way up and, along with Fleetwood Mac's Landslide, and Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians' Circle, immediately adopted it as a personal life anthem.

..Convinced me to please you
Made me think that I need this too
I’m trying to let you hear me as I am...
’cause I believe there’s a way you can love me
Because I say
I won’t write you a love song
’cause you asked for it
’cause you need one, you see

So, being that we've established that I'm a bit romantically-obstinate, what in the hell has possessed me to write not one, but two, bloody romance novels? Surely I'm not that masochistic.

Oh, wait. Yes I am.

I'm been tinkering with the pivotal BIG ROMANTIC SCENE in my book, and am starting to wonder why I even bother. A lot like my life, my characters aren't exactly throwing themselves into each other's arms with wild declarations of love and shredding pieces of clothing.

But this is a novel, and I know it has to be juicy. Romantic things must be said. Heartfelt outpourings must pour forth. Bosoms should probably heave. There should be a little fawning.

And I can't even begin to picture it.

It seems I've hit a wall.

I had the same problem with How Home Improvement Saved My Marriage. The biggest problem with my book is that I cannot, for the life of me, convince my reader that these two characters are in love with each other--or that there's much of a marriage to save.

This is the reason that book is in a bin in the attic.



  1. honey, mr. cynic and i we're practically puking from the treacle speak last night, also.

    honey told mr. cynic, 'these people talk too much. let me just tell you they've said more in the last 30 minutes than your mother and i have said to each other in our whole relationship.'

    i just had it on for the dwts star announcements.


    having said all that, honey loves a chick movie more than i do.

    as for writing romance scenes, i bet exactly what works about your books is the fact that the characters are so disinclined toward romaticism and therefore, finding themselves in a romance, how do they handle it?

  2. That's a very good question, Cathy, and definetely something to stew over.

    This book is working for me because my male protagonist knows his mind but is afraid to speak it, and thoughts of love don't even occur to my female protagonist. She's definitely disinclined toward romance. That's why she's so interesting to me. :-)

    It doesn't make writing the scene any easier though.


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