So it’s Valentine’s Day (well, here in Australia it is, the rest of the world may have a few hours to wait), a day to celebrate love, to show affection to partners through fancy dinners, cute dates, and terribly lame mixtapes (or maybe it’s playlists these days). At any rate, though there is a certain cheesiness involved, I kind of like Valentine’s Day, whether I am in a relationship or single, because it is not about celebrating a particular relationship, but love in general, and that is something which I think we all need to embrace more in our lives.
Anyway, I digress.
As many of you know from several past posts, I am writing 12 novellas in 12 months this year, and am aiming to try a different genre with each one. In January I completed my dystopian comedy which kind of turned into a time travelling story as well. For February, I figured with Valentine’s Day smack bang in the middle of the month, I would attempt to write a romance story. I have never tried to write romance before, but I figured it couldn’t be that hard, right?
I went into this with the attitude of “well, I have written romance subplots into my stories before, so surely it can’t be that hard to make it the whole story?” But it really can. Knowing that it is the focus of the story, you have to create characters who can carry that romance, and all the attention that accompanies this. More than other genres, I think romance is so utterly dependant on having the right characters. The right personality traits, the right flaws, the right names – everything is important. And to think of an idea that is original feels almost impossible, especially to someone who hasn’t read that much romance (the majority of what I have read is more chivalric romance than modern).
What is my story about? Well…I’m not entirely sure, because despite it being half way through the month, I am yet to start writing this novella (again). But I think the gist of it will be an old man, Walter, living in a retirement village on his own, trying to work up the courage to ask a widowed lady in the village out to dinner, something he never dreamt that he would be doing in his nineties. In the midst of this, he reflects back on all his past romances, from his first crush, to his teenage and young adult romances, through the rest of his life until the present, looking desperately for some sort of clue as to how to win over a woman again after all these years. I don’t know if anybody has done it before, but I imagine they won’t have written it the way I am probably going to (for better or worse).
So I have 15 days left to write Walter’s love story. It will be hard, but it’s only a novella, so if I focus I can get it done. Wish me luck, everybody!
And Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!