Romance and Communication

As someone who used to avoid writing romance, my biggest reason came from one factor – the sheer amount of miscommunication. The bulk of problems featured in romances seemed solvable with a calm and rational discussions, and even knowing how difficult many people find having those conversation in the best circumstances, I hated to see that be the cause of such ridiculous drama.

Worse still, when people interfered for their own selfish reasons to ensure that miscommunication happened, it baffled me when neither of the leads seemed to notice – especially when those individuals were so unworthy of trust (and that being so obvious to me considering all their other actions).

But the older I get, the more realistic these actually are. People are horrible at communicating. On a whole, we’ll gladly take our impressions to be truth unless forced otherwise, and empathy relies so heavily upon how we think of ourselves and frame the world around us that these stories simply show the most extreme results.

Still – I wanted to fight against that, so when I had a few ideas rumbling around my brain, I decided I’d split the problems this way:

  1. Romance #1 (Gothic Romance) – the largest problem comes from the narrator being unreliable and recognizing this fact as someone rational (a skeptic) realizes ghosts are real and falls in love with someone who may or may not be alive.
  2. Romance #2 (SciFi Romance) – love triangle of sorts where every has a secret agenda. Love Interest #1 starts off manipulating but realizes that they’ve fallen in love despite themselves. Love Interest #2 is possessive and absolutely hates LI#1, so they both cause miscommunications (and outright lies) to drag each other down. I’m pretty sure nobody in this story should end up with a HEA.
  3. Romance #3 (Getting to Goal – Contemporary YA) – this one, which I’ve spoken a bit about before, has a heroine who finds it difficult to express her innermost thoughts and has low self-esteem meeting a hero who thinks people only want him for one reason and feels he’s been obvious about his feelings, so he doesn’t want to push her. A classic miscommunication issue.

The first has been the easiest for me to write because the two love interests communicate well, and the majority of misunderstandings come from thinking one or the other isn’t real or who they think they are, but this is mostly resolved by the mid-point and becomes much more us vs. the world sort of romance with the narrator struggling to determine who to trust when cut off from his love.

The second has been difficult off and on. It’s told from three perspectives, and I’ve found the heroine the easiest as she’s dangerously honest, but her romanticism of the world – and the fact that she knowingly made herself touch-starved – work into a rather interesting psyche.

In GETTING TO GOAL, I’ve only just reached the mass miscommunication part, and that’s exactly where I’ve hit my first road block. Both the hero and heroine believe they’re communicating clearly. She thinks she’s working to salvage a friendship and get him to understand her desire to continue on what she acknowledges is the harder path while he thinks she’s rejecting an easier option – a better choice – specifically because she doesn’t want to be with him romantically, so he’s caught between hurt at the rejection and not wanting his emotions to get in the way of her achieving her dream of being a professional hockey player.

All three offer their own challenges, and I’ll be interested to see if the ones I find easiest remain that way or if they switch around as I get further into dynamics that I’m less familiar writing.

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