This week: When to Say GoodbyeEdited by: Dawn Embers
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Romance/Love Newsletter by Dawn
A little look at a sometimes less than happy end. Romance is known for a happy ever after or happy for now but during the middle of the story and even at the end sometimes, someone has to leave.
Romance as a genre is one known in particular for the happy end (often at the very least) because in part it is something a reader expects when they pick a story in this category. But the whole story itself isn't going to be without strife and emotional conflicts. And some don't follow the happy end convention. There are going to be times when we have to pull on the heart strings or dig into sadder emotions when creating a romantic story.
There are different times when the parting of ways can occur. If you think about it, while we see people often, we also part ways on a regular basis. Goodbye is a common phrase and single sentence, one that we experience on a regular basis yet it's not something that comes to mind quickly when considering a romance story. While the little goodbyes at the beginning of the day or to part ways to do different tasks, errands, etc might not be as noticeable, there are a few time within a story when a goodbye is going to have some impact.
Sometimes having to say goodbye can be a part of the conflict or an important element in a story, This is true in particular with stories where the goodbye has to come early on, closer to the beginning. There are a number of reasons for this and the time apart can vary from days to years but it's something that one can consider when developing a story with romance.
Away for a long time.
There are definitely some situations where a romance can included a long span of time in the characters' lives where they are apart. This could even be at the very beginning of the story when the two have to say their goodbyes and separate for a span of time that may be known or unknown. A good example of this type of story is when one leaves for the military. Often it's a male character leaving but that doesn't have to always be the case. It can be a woman going off to fight for her country while the love interest is at home for various reasons. And it is a situation that comes up in historical and modern day fiction, so something that can be used to cause some strife as they separate and the reader wanders if they will come together again and what it will be like when they do.
Ending with a goodbye.
While not likely to be a happy end situation, there are times and stories where the romance part fades at the end and the characters have to part ways. This can be for a number of reasons with the characters having to make a choice that means they physically can't be together anymore. It could be something out of their hands. Some of the emotional stories with romance involved that are questionable to fitting in the genre or not will often include an illness or death of a character to cause that emotional pull and sad ending. In those cases, the main character may have to end their story with a goodbye.
These are just two examples of times and uses for a goodbye within a story. Romance or not, parting ways is something characters do on a regular basis. It may be to the point where the actions gets interwoven in a way that we even barely notice it ourselves. Other times, we might have to really pay attention in editing in order to make sure it's not an unnatural moment or something used too often. Like having the character go to sleep, at times having a character leave somewhere at the end of every chapter can be a problematic situation that will need fixing within the rewrite and editing stages. Either way. We will find our characters saying both hello and goodbye within a story. The question is, how are you going to write their goodbye and why.
For now, I would say let's get writing but think this newsletter gets a different sign off....
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Does your character have to say goodbye to someone they love?
At the beginning of July, I edited a romance newsletter and talked about characters moving in together. How some do it early in the relationship and others await particular mile markers. Here are a few comments sent in response to the that week's newsletter:
Comment by BIKERIDER
I think your July 1st newsletter is very interesting, and your question, 'Do your characters move in together during the story or after' merits thought. When I was dating my wife, (all those many years ago), an unmarried couple living together we said to be living 'in sin.' Today, unmarried people living together is accepted. So I think a writer needs to consider the time frame of their story, and also the mores of the couple and the couple's family. But that also leaves a lot of room for conflict in a story. The couple comes from different backgrounds; she from a very religious family, he from a family more liberal to the idea of cohabitation. Things like that provide some very believable and surmountable/insurmountable conflicts.
Comment by Quick-Quill
No they don’t. I also don’t write sex for my non marrieds. I’ve stayed away from those situations because I have higher morals. If I wouldn’t do it then neither will I put my characters there. When I write a sexual crime it’s a different story. They are sick people and no one wants to emulate them. I write romance into the story because I like that tension.
Comment by Osirantinous
This is quite a fascinating topic, Dawn. Of all my couples, I think only a small number of them actually live together as the story progresses. This could be because a good half of them are teenagers, so probably not surprising that often one half of a couple is still living at home with parents and/or siblings!
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