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Being a romance author, I’m often asked what is the secret of a great romance? This not only in terms of writing but in general (life) as well.
It’s a good question. But first, let’s understand what is romance?
In the dictionary, as a noun, romance is defined as a feeling of excitement or mystery associated with love; or an emotional attachment between people; or a love affair. As a verb, it’s defined as an act of courting.
Seems simple enough, right? The truth is there are no secrets to a great romance. Romance is the very act of paying attention to that special person in your life, of being engaged with them in a fun and positive way. And if you aren’t in a relationship, it simply means elevating your own existence by the act of spreading pleasure.
Many people balk at being labeled romantic. “I am a practical person and have no time for such frivolities,” they say. I call bullshit to that. Being romantic IS being practical. If you want a relationship to thrive you need to infuse it with romance. I’m not saying you need to invest ridiculous amounts of time, money and energy on movie-style or romance novel-style gestures. One doesn’t need to rent out Buckingham Palace to get hitched with his personal Cinderella! Though, if that floats your boat…sure, go ahead. ☺
Romance can be as simple as a midnight phone call to your sweetheart; a welcoming smile for your husband as he enters the house after a stressful day…add a back massage and he’s sure to be putty in your hands. Romance is a little flirting between strangers, or even friends. My point is it doesn’t take much to be romantic.
But Romance is personal. What you find romantic I may not. And this is how one differentiates between a true and healthy partnership from the pretenders. Do you know your partner well enough to know what he or she considers romantic? You have no idea? Well then, you haven’t really been paying attention, have you?
My romance novels are all about the heroes and heroines getting to know each other. They might be on totally different pages at the beginning of the book. They might have different lifestyles, goals and visions—like Alisha and Aryan in IT’S YOUR MOVE WORDFREAK! They might live on different continents even—as Krish and Diya in BOOTIE AND THE BEAST. But by the end of the book both will find common ground, emotionally and in their life goals…just like in real relationships.
Of course, there’s a very obvious Happily Ever After end scene in romance novels and movies, which in real life might not be as final. In life, the Happily Ever After goes on…and on…and on. And so must the romance.
Romance is not one gesture or one act or one day, Romance is forever after.
OK. I know what you’ll are thinking. “If Romance is forever, what happened to Romeo and Juliet? Did Shakespeare not get the memo?” But let’s NOT focus on tragedies today. Let’s instead take tips from one of the greatest romances ever written. What did we learn from Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? It wasn’t Darcy’s position in society, his money or his grand estate that won Lizzie’s heart; it was his simple acts of kindness. Likewise, it was Lizzie’s wit and exuberance that made Darcy sit up and take notice of her.
That brings me to wit. If there were a special ingredient to a great romance, I’d say it is humor. I’d go so far as to say that humor is life’s most important ingredient.
While love can be cumbersome and serious, and sex impersonal, often awkward and raw, when infused with romance both love and sex become more meaningful. Romance is light and fun, ridiculous and uplifting. It puts a smile on your lips and a bounce in your step. In truth, it transforms a mundane existence into something special.
To recap what is romance: romance is a feeling and an act. It is as big as you wish it to be or as small as you want it. Romance is understanding your partner from the inside out. It is generous and practical. It is laughter. Romance should be a constant in one’s life.
If you still don’t get romance, I suggest you pick up a good romance novel (mine!) and start taking notes.