Writing romance is an art


Anna Lucia Arguello, Staff Writer

I love stories of any kind. Movies, T.V shows, and books I like will have me singing their praises for days. Not all stories, however, can be winners. The Mortal Instruments series, for example, depended greatly on being unpredictable. This could work to its advantage and keep audiences engaged, but I found, at least in the first two books, that this unpredictability served only to confuse and muddy the plot. This comes to a head when the main romance of the novel is revealed to be incest, permanently souring a story I didn’t much care for in the first place. 

“Song of Achilles” was a book I picked up earlier this year, having heard how beautiful and melancholy of a story it is. I was blown away. It took inspiration from “The Illiad” while focusing more on the relationships between soldiers. Achilles was the focal point, with his romance always serving to highlight his rise and fall. It was important, but not overpowering. It never took away from the war or all that was at stake. The Scythe Trilogy took a slightly different approach, giving the romantic aspect more of a backseat to the sci-fi dystopian setting. Still, when it comes to the surface, it crashes violently, the meshing of day and night that was never meant to be. It paints a picture of duality. It has a purpose. That is what marks a good romance. 

A well-written romance can have a tremendous impact on a story and its effects, something every author dreams of emulating. It’s something to ground even the most fantastical worlds and something that audiences love. However, romance for romance’s sake doesn’t necessarily work in fiction. If the story is about saving the world from an immediate and violent threat, I’m not going to have much patience for the main character’s love triangle. If another character is presumed missing or dead, having the remaining couple still wrapped up in each other makes them seem unempathetic and self-absorbed. 

Romance is so commonplace in fiction it’s often taken for granted as an easy, cheap trope to grasp an audience’s waning attention. However, this detracts from the skill and subtlety it takes to write the iconic relationships society has grown to love.