~ By Melina Kantor
We’ve all heard romance authors say some version of this before, right?
“I’d like to thank my husband. It’s because of him that I’m able to write happy endings.”
It’s a sweet sentiment, and a very nice thing to say during a RITA acceptance speech or in an anniversary wish on Facebook.
Maybe, for these authors, getting married was a path to writing romance. As long as they aren’t giving their husbands credit for their own accomplishments as writers, that’s great. They’re lucky women.
But we single romance writers can also write heartwarming, gorgeous, happy endings. How do we do it?
As Max Medina pointed out to his students (let’s not dwell on the fact that I got this piece of trivia from an episode of Gilmore Girls and not from a high school English class):
“There’s a certain slant of light, winter afternoons that oppresses like the heft of cathedral tunes.”
That, my friends is the first verse of a poem by Emily Dickenson. Now read some of those tonight, and as you do, consider the fact that Emily Dickenson writes convincingly about passion and about the world in spite of the fact that she lived as a virtual recluse. It’ll help you appreciate her mind.
You see? If Emily Dickenson can do it, so can we!
Here are my theories as to why.
- We’re human. We’re wired to tell all sorts of stories. We instinctively understand story structure. That’s because we understand human emotion.
- We’ve read romance, seen romantic movies, watched our family members and friends fall in love, and in many cases, been in love ourselves.
- Romance novels are fiction. Yes, we authors insert ourselves into our stories, but our characters live their own lives. We’re just here to tell their stories. If they want to go to the moon, we can send them. If they want to perform open heart surgery, we let them.
- Most of us, single and otherwise, have been burned at least once in the dating world. Yes, the stories we write are fiction, but wow is it fun to throw in little gems from our own experience. We can turn our ex’s into villains, or rewrite our experiences the way we wished they’d turn out. Not that I’d actually turn an ex into a villain. Oh wait. I lied. I totally would and I have.
- I can’t speak for all single romance writers, but I know what I want in a guy. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof. I know what would make me happy, which means I can write characters who are just as confident in what they want, make it almost impossibly difficult for them to get it, and then celebrate when love finally conquers all.
- We have imaginations. Enough said.
There you have it, single ladies. Fear not. Keep writing those happily ever afters!
I’m sure there are many reasons I haven’t mentioned. Feel free to add your own in the comments. I’d love to hear them.
Apologies for the earworm, but I can’t resist leaving you with this.
Melina writes contemporary romance with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. She loves to travel, especially to her family’s village in Crete, and turn her adventures into research for her novels. In July of 2012, she moved to Jerusalem with her adorable but sneaky cocker spaniel. You can visit her at http://melinakantor.com