Without getting too much into what happens in The Paladin, I thought today I'd talk a little bit about romance. Now, obviously there are genres that are built specifically around it, but if your novel or story isn't, how important is romance? It's usually a fairly trusty b-plot to fall back on and most people can identify with it, plus, there's always that group of fans that are shipping anyway, so giving them something to cheer for never hurts.
But what if it doesn't make sense? I feel like there's no pressure to include romance where it doesn't belong. Some stories call for it, even demand it, but others it's just not important. We have a society, especially the fans of fiction, that seem to feel like it's a given that romance will be involved. They'll peel away layers that aren't there to make connections. But that kind of makes the assertion that romance is something that is necessary, that if your MC doesn't have a romantic interest, there's something wrong with them.
The truth is not everyone needs to be dependent on another person. This is coming from someone who has a lovely wife with whom I'm deeply in love with. I can't imagine my life without her. But that doesn't mean that everyone needs someone to make give their life meaning. Romance happens where it happens and, just like in real life, I feel like it shouldn't be forced. The fans can see it, the critics will call it out, and people who are happy the way they are will question if there's something wrong with them.
Is there romance in my stories? Some of them. Where it feels like it needs to be, I include it. Where it doesn't fit, I don't force it. I don't know if I'm breaking hearts here, but The Paladin and subsequent stories in the some world are not paranormal romance; this isn't Twilight, people. If you feel like shipping my characters, go for it. But I'll only write romance where it fits and makes sense. I'll never write it in just to have it. Love shouldn't be a b-plot. It shouldn't be a plot device. Love is important. It's incredible. Where I decide to put it will be based on the importance of love and romance there, not because I "need" a romantic interest.
But what do you think? Are you a shipper? Should all stories have romance? What do you think?
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Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.