Bad Romance

This weekend has been a good one for my pursuit of all things literary. My edits for an anthology game back as enchanting and charming, witty and adorable. I was informed my editor at points forgot she was supposed to be editing because she was that pulled in. I had an old high school buddy finish reading my fantasy novel. I was terrified because he’s an avid reader and very particular. He thought it was good, entertaining, with a few fixes required. He said there were slow spots, it wasn’t perfect, but for my second novel, and first one to see the light of day? I will take a “it was mostly entertaining and well done.”

I also finished one map and started two others for the novels. They’re looking insane. I’m in love with how they’re turning out, and they expand upon the novels. For G’desh, the novel only covers about 10% of what is on the map, giving plenty of play space in the future for stories. So basically my stories have been on my mind all weekend, and waking up this morning, I thought, “Maybe I can take a day off and continue this writing kick.”

However, while in the shower Sunday, I was thinking heavily on my stories, primarily my romances. When little, friends and family always asked why there were romances in my prose. They said it’s not always required, especially the flowery, romantic gibberish I was writing. I was a hopeless romantic, love was such a beautiful thing, I was the Bohemian trying to find his soulmate.

But, just like Christian with Satine, I was disillusioned by love. Over, and over, and over again. My lover didn’t die a horrible death, work a brothel, and so on. They just kept ditching me. Apparently after a while, that works its way into a hopeless romantic’s heart, until all that’s left is hopeless.

I say this because as I was reflecting on the love stories in my series, the love stories in future books, I saw a handful of relationships which were broken and filled with vitriol. Cheating, lying, attempted murder, murder, passive-aggressive behavior. I think I have one happy ending, and it’s really a Pyrrhic victory.

The last real love story I wrote, that was romantic and beautiful, I have been flirting with the idea of rewriting it. That’s what got me to thinking. It was about a scribe and baker who run off due to political persecution. Two normal people in a fantasy world persevering through love. It was gag worthy romance.

When I reworked it, due to what it was based on, I thought of doing a more caustic story. Two lovers, making a vow to be together forever, accidentally step into a curse. Despite a rather nasty break up, they find they’re immortal and doomed to cross paths again and again throughout history, each meeting being equal parts solving a problem, and trying not to kill each other. It would more or less go from a Rome setting, all the way up to a sci fi setting, with megalopolises.

Our main character, the man, just wants to die. Not the point of suicide: he feels he has a purpose and has to fulfill it. Yet every day he just begs for an end. And after a century without seeing his lover, he wonders if she finally was given a way out. And as I conjured this little tale in the shower, I realized how horrifyingly depressing it was. How it was filled with hopelessness. And I pondered if all my love stories were filled with such melancholy. When I realized they were all crushing, it made me think maybe I need a new approach to love. Maybe I need to force a happy love story. Maybe next time.

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