Valentine’s found my husband and I sitting on the couch in the throws of the stomach flu. My husband was sipping 7-Up. I was still puking about every half hour. The whole room smelled. It wasn’t too bad, though. In between my pukes, we watched The Nice Guys, a movie with Ryan Gosling and some guy who wasn’t Ryan Gosling–I forget.
At one point my husband looked over and said, “This is nice. We haven’t watched a movie together in a while.” He was right. For once, the kids were actually in bed (it took the stomach flu to incapacitate all three at once) and neither of us had a laptop out. The whole thing struck me funny, especially because I write romance. My actual life is mostly about puke.
In a book, romance can never leave the initial passionate phase of the relationship, at least if you want people to buy the thing. The author has to constantly think of ways to keep the romantic tension alive. It’s much harder than being in a real relationship where you can just give up. Romantic tension mostly arises by keeping characters apart through obstacles of one kind or another. The minute the author lets the characters settle into a happily ever after–poof!–the tension is gone and the story is over. Characters can’t relax until the bitter end.
In the case of a series or a television show, the author or screenwriters have to keep romantic tension alive for years, an almost impossible feat–ask anyone who’s been married for more than two years. Basically, they have to artificially suspend the relationship in a phase that might last a couple of months in real life, if you’re lucky. I have yet another sick kid, so I’m not going to go on too long today. Instead, I’m going to list some romances that never quit (mostly because they never really get started). I haven’t had coffee yet, so I’m definitely going to miss a few!
- I can’t even remember how many books are in the Stephanie Plum series, funny because numbers are in the names, but there are a lot. Janet Evanovich kept Stephanie’s romance fresh throughout.
- Charlaine Harris is a master. Sookie Stackhouse and her “should I pick the vampire or the werewolf?” dilemma puts Twilight to shame.
- Kate already mentioned Lowcountry Boil, but that is a good one.
- When I was a kid, I remember watching Moonlighting. My mom was in love with that show. Pretty sure it qualifies.
- More recently, Castle did an amazing job of keeping the tension alive.
Hope you all are all staying healthy! Anything to add to the list?