Most romance novels tell the beginning of a love story. Or tell of its rebirth.
I’m writing a book about a love story’s ending.
But it’s more than that.
It’s a book about love in which the words “I love you” are never spoken.
Not between father and daughter; husband and wife; friend and friend.
Also not between human and wolf, but you have to trust me on this one, it’s not as weird as it sounds.
I was confident in that choice from the beginning. Because I’ve, admittedly, read a lot of romance novels. Enough for me to realize I didn’t want to write one that even closely resembled any of them.
I realize, reading this back, that this makes me sound like I’m super proud of coming up with some never-before-told story idea. Not true. It’s not original at all. The way I’m telling it is, though. It’s not an idea that’s original, but the way you present it to the world.
I’m not trying to be unique. I’m just trying not to drive myself insane writing a book that, no matter how hard I try to resist it, will probably end up in the Romance section in a Barnes & Noble somewhere. What? I’m just being optimistic.
Not about the romance part. I tried not to write a love story.
It happened anyway.
I wanted to write about heart disease (because I’m me), and I guess there was a metaphor somewhere in there that my obnoxious brain couldn’t let go of.
I feel bad for authors who write romance — especially YA romance. Before you have come so many love stories so formulaic and unoriginal that you’re expected to rise above the mundane. You’re almost required to create something so “unique” that the pressure must be terrible to bear.
And that’s if you’re not shut down before you even get the chance to share your story — after all, it’s “just another romance novel.” Even if it isn’t.
I’m not a romance writer. My novels just happen to feature romantic relationships because it’s a reflection of life as we know it — intimate companionship in the midst of whatever else I’m cruel enough to put my characters through page after page after page.
I’d love not to write about love. But if you think about it, it’s kind of hard not to.
Because there’s more than one type of love. There’s love between lovers. But there’s also love between friends, and siblings, and between humans and their very large and furry pets.
Actually, when I started writing this book, I tried so hard not to make it a love story that it kind of became five or six all twisted together in this larger narrative about how to stare into the face of love as it’s slipping away from you, and I hate my brain, but that’s how this goes.
You can’t resist the direction a story wants to take you. You can only let it take you there.
I’m really excited to share this story with you someday.
If I ever finish writing it.
Ah, sorry. WHEN I finish writing it.
Which will be soon …
I hate my brain.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.