Romantic love and passion are two things that make up the bulk of many a book I’ve begun to read and then set aside over the past few years. Truthfully, romance novels don’t interest me the way adventure novels do–if they are seasoned well with a bit of romance. Graphic romance with no plot is porn, and I think we should just call it that and be done with it. Adventure with no romance is a travelogue detailing a rough trip, but nothing to write home about.
In a novel, one without the other just does not work. Words splashed on a page for their shock value have been done and over-done, so for me it’s important to keep myself writing for the quality of the tale. If I do it right, I will intrigue the reader and challenge them, making them want to read more.
Adventure must have some sort of romance to drive the plot forward, some unattainable goal whether it is love or an object. I like to look back at history and see what it was about some tales that have kept the interest of readers, not just for years, but for centuries. What do these tales embody that new works should also have, to make them timeless?
Let’s examine the Arthurian Legend. From the website, www.arthurian-legend.com.
“The legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table is the most powerful and enduring in the western world. King Arthur, Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot did not really exist, but their names conjure up a romantic image of gallant knights in shining armour, elegant ladies in medieval castles, heroic quests for the Holy Grail in a world of honour and romance, and the court of Camelot at the centre of a royal and mystical Britain.”
There we have the essence of what constitutes a timeless tale: Powerful people doing heroic deeds, and finding a bit of romance along the way. Set them in intriguing surroundings and dress them in metal or velvet (or both) and voila! Now all you must do is cue the magic–bring on the wise old sorcerer.
Hey, it worked for J.K. Rowling!
I do a lot of reading, and if I am not reading, I am writing. My hope is that at some point in every tale I write, my readers will find themselves completely involved in the tale to the exclusion of the world around them. If that happens, then I have had an impact on my reader, the same way as Anne McCaffrey, Tad Williams, and Mercedes Lackey have each impacted me.
Someday I will have written that tale.
But if I do that, I’ll have to sustain the momentum…keep writing good stuff only and forget writing crap….but crap is so much easier to write.
Unfortunately we’re only as good as our next book.