Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Um....more sex, please.

Even within the YAYA’s, there is a wide range of tastes. But the taste I’d like to ask about is the taste of Romance. (Hold for YA porn princess jokes)

Anyways, what I’m wondering is in your books, or the books you read, how much romance do you like? For me personally, I don’t like to read books without some sort of love interest, and as far as I’m concerned, the more the better. Lol. Now, that doesn’t mean, cheesy over the top stuff. I mean the excitement of first love, lust or sex. You know, the good stuff.

Who else likes Romance? Raise your hand. Tell me, how important is love in your YA books?


~grace~ said...

I don't write it very much/well. I think because I've never been in love. There's a guy hanging around in my WIP that my MC might fall in love with, eventually, but right now they're both very busy.

I don't mind it when I read it elsewhere, unless it's obviously gratuitous love/sex. "things are getting dull, let's show some skin!" I thought Tamora Pierce went a bit overboard in her Lioness quartet; Alanna's sex life got boring after a while.

So I guess--I'd say I don't like or dislike it. I don't mind it, if it's part of the story.

~grace~ said...

I just realized I kind of combined love and sex into the same idea, which they aren't necessarily.

But I don't like either gratuitous sex or gratuitous love. My former statement still stands.

SuzanneYoung said...

Boring love interests are worse than none at all. If it's not done well, it shouldn't be done. :D

I want butterflies when I read.

hannah said...

My characters always end up getting with someone totally wrong for them, getting it on, and then breaking up before the end.

Basically 'cause I hate writing girls and I like to get them out of the way ASAP.

AmandaKMorgan said...

Mine always have a little scandalous romance, but it's never the main plot line.

I like reading it more than I like writing it.

Sage said...

I adore a little romance in novels that I read, and I don't think I could write one without it. (Tried for DownLoad. Yanno, the novel that I currently describe as "a highschool romance with cyborgs").

I don't have a lot of experience in life with romance, but I've observed a lot of other people's relationships in RL and in works of fiction, and nobody's ever told me that the romances in my novels are unrealistic (beyond the spec fic aspects, of course).

As for degrees of romance, I like a wide range of romance, whether it's hints of the romance to come (for example, the couple only admit their feelings towards the end), lots of smooching, or even sex, as long as it's not too explicit or gratuitous.

I think, though, that the audience has become accustomed to seeing a romantic pairing. I often go through a book predicting who I think will end up together (or whether the MCs will). But it's not like I feel cheated when a romance doesn't happen. Mostly surprised.

But if there's romance, I definitely want it to be integrated with the main plot (or the main plot itself). One of my writer friends recently told me that she kept looking at her romantic interests in her (fantasy) novels and cutting them because that's all those characters were there for. Definitely needs to be part of the plot, not just a romance for romance's sake.

SuzanneYoung said...

Totally agree with everything you said Sage!

Trish Doller said...

*raises hand*

When it comes to my own writing, I'm similar to Mandy. My main characters always wind up falling in love, but it's not the main focus of the story. I like the romance, though, and I don't think I'd write a book without it.

althrasher said...

My characters often end up in love, but I feel OK writing about that because I have been in love.

Sex, on the other hand, would probably be equivalent to me writing about car repair (I hate it. I'm such a stereotypical girl when it comes to cars. "What's wrong with it?" "Um...the thing?")

But I think romance is a huge part of life, and to leave it out is to leave out a big part of what makes us human, particularly if it's a story that goes over a long period. For me, there has to be one really strong relationship, be it romantic or best friends. We aren't creatures who go things alone.

SuzanneYoung said...

Amanda! Well said. This is perfect timing, you know, with Valentine's Day tomorrow.

Sage said...

LOL, alt. I hope "What's wrong with it?" "Um...the thing?" is limited to cars and not sex ;)

courtney said...

Writing romance: I like to write about complicated relationships with romantic elements. Romance doesn't usually drive my plots but the plots drive the romance, if that makes sense--relationships are generally complicated by what's happening and not vice verse. At least I think they are. There is the possibility I have no idea what I write. :) I like my characters to be forthright and frank in their own ideas of romance and love (and the more backwards or misguided those ideas are, the better). I think I have a focus on girls being cynical about romance and not growing out of that cynism, but learning how to work with it. I don't think the romances in my novels are transformative romances, basically.

Reading romance: I can dig it! Sometimes it's exactly what I'm looking for, sometimes it's not. I've never purposely avoided a book because it didn't or did have a love interest. It all depends on my mood and the book.

Better than romance is UST--Unresolved Sexual Tension. Love reading it, love writing it when the opportunity arises.

We aren't creatures who go things alone.

But some of us are--and those stories are just as valid an interesting. Themes of isolation and loneliness are ones Robert Cormier exceled at. Many people often reject relationships and love because they find it safer to go it alone. And those stories can be equally compelling and in a way, that's a big part of what makes us human too...

Catherine said...

Love is a driving force in so many decisions we make in real-life - how could it be that different in a book?

It's also a logical reason for the protagonist to do stupid things *wink*

So yeah, give me romance, give me a love story. It doesn't have to be the focus of the book, but I do love me a bit of love-related angst. I get my kicks out of writing about people who fall for someone they would never have expected to, that squidgy feeling of "oh wait omg I'm in love - how the hell did that happen?"

As for sex, it depends on the book; some are just perfect with a fade to black, and that's all I need to know, but sometimes really intensely emotional things change during sex, and *that's* what I want to see. Then again, I'll read anything if it's well written.

Anonymous said...

I love romance in books and movies, whether it's a subplot or the main plot. Almost every movie can be improved with romantic elements. However, I do admit to skipping the hot 'n heavy parts in many books. Those never thrill me.

Emily Marshall said...

I really can't read a book without some romance in it. I just like it way too much. So it's a given that romance plays a big part in my books. There's always another main plot, but the two really go hand-in-hand.

Jordan said...

I love a little romance, but I can't for the life of me write it convincingly.

But yea. I love a little romance, a lot of romance, even a big heaping dose of it. Gimme romance!

SuzanneYoung said...

Wow! Look at us, a bunch of romantics. lol.

Haphazard said...

Okay, I'm the odd one out.

But I'm going to go ahead and make my probably-inflammatory comments anyway, because I'm a part of this blog too and have a right to say what I want to say.

I don't like romance.

Well, I do like it in very few cases, only when it's done exceptionally well and integral to the main plot, because anything else seems like an afterthought. Probably the best romantic movie I've ever seen is Harold and Maude.

If you're going to tackle romance, out of respect to romance, it can't be an afterthought. I hate small romantic subplots. Can't stand them. They always leave me unsatisfied. A book without romance can be a perfectly good book if all the emotions are there. Romance is not the be all to end all of feeling. In fact, I'd prefer a book without any romance at all than a book with a romantic subplot.

I remember I got everybody's hopes up when I said that I may have some romance in my current WIP, but I don't think it's that, although the two MCs do have very strong feelings for each other. It's still not romance.

In the other WIP, I guess you could say that there is a romantic subplot, but it's more a subplot of a main character having to deal with two lovebirds as pupils and constantly having problems because of it, and really has little to do with the two characters falling in love.

As for sex, it's fine as long as it's necessary to the plot, romantic or otherwise.

Even on Valentine's day, I'm the party pooper. Bah humbug. ;)

Andrew Carmichael said...

Just thinking back on the YA books I've read, I really can't think of any that didn't have some kind of romance at some point in the story. Maybe I'm just not thinking hard enough...anyone have examples of romance-free books??

In any case, I never really read actual romance (except for Suz' cause hers are awesome) but I like romantic subplots or, as someone said, some sort of strong relationship happening somewhere, even if it's not particularly romantic. Though, once again, I can't think of a book that had no romance so it's hard for me to really say whether I'd like books like that or not...

Thinking about my own books, I always have some kind of love interest somewhere, even if they don't get much screen time (like in JP, for those of you who know about that).

And, Hap, I feel like you're slacking off I basically agree with you...romance done poorly is just annoying cause it's not believable or even cared about. It's just extra words to take up space.

Haphazard said...

Andy, I disagree. The most recent YA book I've read, Invisible, didn't have any romance in it at all.

Oh, sure, it had sexual infaturation. But that's not romance. At least, I don't consider it romance, and the book didn't seem to either.

There are a lot of books out there that address infaturation and lust rather than romance, and if it's just treated that way, I'm usually less annoyed with it than romance, because I find that the vast majority of romance is poorly done.

Reen, if you're looking for books without romance, look at satire. A lot of lust, but not a whole lot of romance.

Andrew Carmichael said...

Who wrote Invisible??

Also...(Hap, are you tired today?? lol) I have to agree with you again. Some books will use lust as a substitute for romance and pretend it's romance when, obviously, it isn't. You're'd be better if these stories just put their lust and call it that instead of pretending there's some deep love conntection going on.

Haphazard said...

Pete Hautman wrote Invisible, the MC has a creepy obsession with a certain girl. It's not reciprocated. It's definitely not love.

Maybe we've just got to agree to agree on this one?

What I'm reading right now, Wicked, is full of lust and I haven't found a drop of love in there. It's pretty refreshing.

I think about the most scandalous thing I have to say about this is that I don't believe that romantic love is an essential human emotion. Sure, it's important that the character has relationships, but I don't put any special weight or importance on romantic relationships.

Romantic stories can be great, I just hate infaturation and trying to sell it as love, which is what it seems most books and movies try to do.

Sasha said...

One of the great things about romance in YA is that it provides so many opportunities for tension and longing. When your characters are teenagers, their love faces challenges adults don't have to deal with. It's not easy to live happily ever after when you're trying to finish high school. Because of that, YA fiction has so much great possibility for the delicious UST that Courtney mentioned above, not to mention humorous misunderstandings or deep soul searching, depending on the style and genre.

Andrew Carmichael said...

Yes, we might have to just agree, but...

Pete Hautman wrote Invisible, the MC has a creepy obsession with a certain girl. It's not reciprocated. It's definitely not love.

See, I don't think love/feelings have to be reciprocated in a book for it to count as romance. To me there can be one sided romance where a character desires another but never actually makes contact with them or anything like that. Or maybe they do, but it's never in a romantic way. To me, that's still romance from the MC's POV.

Though...if it's a creep obsession instead of a crush, I don't know if I'd call that

SuzanneYoung said...

Hap, you're starting to sound sentimental and logical. We've been hanging out too much. heh heh

And I think you're right for the most part, other than the disliking Romance part. lol.

Personally I like the lust, but I don't consider it the Romance. I usually have in my books either or, or both and it shows the difference between the two.

I guess for me, I need some sort of sexual excitement(lol) whether it's a crush, first date, first time, whatever it is. Even if it's not the main story, it has to be there. For me. :D

Andrew Carmichael said...

I think what I love about your stuff, Suz, is that you'll have the lust and the romance.

It's the best of both worlds! (and no, that's not a hannah montana reference, tyvm)

Jordan said...

Since romance and love and lust are high on most teenagers' priority lists (well heck they were on mine), at one point in writing The Incredible Blanco Brothers I decided that Ansel needed a girlfriend.

She was a sweet thing, kinda sassy, beautiful of course and completely perplexing to Ansel. Her name was Emily and her dad named her after the Faulkner short story about the necrophiliac. She was perfect.

But then I realized that the romance just wasn't part of the story, and that while it was nice for Ansel to want a girl and have a girl (mostly) the story wasn't about romance, it was about individuality and self-perceptions and figuring out where you fit in the world. Not romance. A lot of times, romance gets in the way of growing up.

So I got rid of Emily, and I miss her. But not enough to completely compromise what the story's about.

I guess, even though I enjoy romance--in real life as well as in books, heeheehee--sometimes it just doesn't fit.

Sophie W. said...

I like romance as a sub-plot only. If the entire point of the book is "girl falls in love with guy and proceeds to blush for the next eleventy-fricking-billion pages" then I'll toss it.

Honestly, don't people have better things to do!?

Haphazard said...


I command you to go watch Harold and Maude.

It's romance.

But trust me, there's no staring at each other and blushing.

WannabeWriter said...

I am the same exact way. I need a love interest mixed in somewhere for me to even consider reading the book (which is horrible, I know, and I'm working on that). I am addicted to romance books!

bethany said...

Um, my favorite thing is unexpected romance, like I would read thousand page fantasy tomes or watch long science fiction shows for the romance part, but I generally can't stand anything that's all about the romance. Like that's the focus. I will totally focus on the romance to the exclusion of the other elements, but I won't read straight romance. My favorite romance story by far is The Far Pavilions by M M Kaye, which is this big sweeping historical thing that wouldn't even be romance by today's standards.

I would watch the x-files forever to see the Mulder/Skully interplay and I even got interested in CSI again to see wth they were doing with Grisholm and Sara. I would read any number of Robert Jordan books to see how on earth Rand was going to end up with all three of his chicks.

Of course I guess I kind of did write a book about a relationship. But it isn't romance per se.

And that's what I truly love about YA, it explores so much without the constraints of adult romance (hea, wtf, people I don't believe in that crap)

Meggy said...

Give me YA romance, but personally, I'm fine without the sex. I don't really relate to it and don't enjoy reading it.

SuzanneYoung said...

I definitely don't think the sex is needed, I just thought it was a catchy blog title. lol.

If anything, everything up until that point is what makes me happy. That tension is what I crave in a book. Although, my books aren't all about the Romance, even though I joke about it a lot. They're about trust, lonliness, moving on...and so forth.

But still. I love the excitement of a new relationship, even if it never happens. The promise of it is enough. But, only if it's well written. Just like any plot line.

hannah said...

I like the sex, not gonna lie.

Hey, you gotta learn somewhere...

Vanessa Concannon said...

Love, romantic or otherwise, is usually a big theme in my stories. I like it. It adds to the story--or it might be the story, at least in major part.

And yet I can't wait to write a story about a bunch of unloving, lustful gods with no morals...

Sage said...

Bethany: "I will totally focus on the romance to the exclusion of the other elements, but I won't read straight romance."

That's me too. I can't do romance (I beta-ed one once, and it was really not my thing at all), but sometimes the romantic elements of a book in another genre will be the part I remember more than the main conflict.