I love quiet moments in relationship development between characters. And personally, I think those very quiet moments, when used effectively, can be more romantic than a million over the top gestures, such as public proposals, bunches of red roses, love songs crooned to a heroine etc. etc.
Quiet moments, so small you almost miss them in their subtlety, all layered over one another to create a deep and realistic relationship is my favourite type of story. And this is what they describe as a slow burn romantic plotline.
It got me thinking, how do you write such a well-developed plotline?
When I talk about romance within a story, I don’t necessarily mean the novel itself has to be a romantic story or be romance as a genre, it can be any kind of story, just one with a romantic plotline, no matter how sub-plotted or small that storyline is. It is basically what every ‘will they or won’t they’ story is built on, and in my opinion, is true to life. Real romance is built on the small moments too, not the grand gestures, and that is why I believe romantic plotlines that use these quiet moments to further character and relationship development are always the most effective.
It is no secret I freaking LOVE romance within stories, no matter how small a focus within the overall arc, I like my stories with a spot of romance. Always.
I like stories without it too, obviously, but to be completely honest with you, I always prefer it when romance exists. It is what I love the most, unashamedly so.
I think it is one of the biggest reasons I am drawn to young adult novels, to be honest, because, on the most part, a huge selection of the Young Adult genre focuses on romance.
However, lately in the Young Adult genre, I have noticed a growing number of people who cheer whenever a book has no romantic sub-plot at all, which is kind of interesting. Their idea, I think, is that life has many aspects and romance isn’t even the most important element of living, so why do ALL OUR stories have to reflect this idealistic notion that it is?
And I get that.
But I will still always cheer when a story does have romance, even just the tiniest spot of it, because I read and watch stories for my own pleasure. And what makes me very happy, is a well thought out, layered and realistically built love story. It is my favourite, and I won’t be embarrassed about it.
It all got me thinking about what makes a well-developed love story? Why do some love stories grip me heart and soul, and others leave me utterly cold, despite the focus on romance?
Like I said:
Small, quiet moments.
I’ve been watching a television show lately, which has been delivering everything I most love about a slow burn romance, (though I’m only up to episode 8 so far, so obviously it could totally all still go to shit – but so far? Perfect!). The television show is called ‘Just Between Lovers’. This show is Korean and is subtitled, and is just FILLED with small and understated character and relationship development, relying on looks and touch and awkward silences to speak volumes.
Romance in this show is very quiet.
Yet it is also most definitely one of the main focuses of a story based on a group of very broken characters recovering from a terrible tragedy, still awash with grief even after so long. It is shot beautifully, using natural light and twilight cityscapes to create such a moody, melancholic and romantic vibe.
I just love it.
An example of a quiet moment in this show? (Gosh there are so many! I love them all!)
Okay, here is one very small example of a tiny occurrence within the story that, despite how inconsequential this moment seems, is actually propelling the romantic development forward in huge spades.... without being at all obvious about it. (Yay! Subtlety!)
So..... why do I even consider that a moment of romance?
Well, for me, this instance highlights two things:
So... romantic, right?
I think the above example is a fantastic way to show the watcher (or reader) that this young man is falling in love, without him having to actually say the words to Moon Soo himself (which sucks all the tension out of their relationship because ‘will they or won’t they’ becomes ‘oh yup, they did... the end’).
It’s also a great way to show his feelings clearly to the watcher (or reader) even though the character himself may not even yet fully realise why he reacted to Moon Soo's mother the way he did. Which of course is even more romantic, because that means Kang Doo is falling in love, but he hasn’t even noticed it yet.
Do you like romance in stories? Or do you hate it?
And if you do like it, what type of romance works for you in the stories you enjoy?
I would LOVE to know!