Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Why all the Romance?

Hello all!

Gray Marie Cox recently put out a discussion post on her blog, Writing is Life, about romance in YA. I couldn't believe the timing, I had this post sitting here in my drafts for a couple days trying to get my thoughts together. What better motivation to finish it!!

Now, for the record, I love a good clean romance story. It is, in fact, my favorite reading genre. I have my own fleet of "ships" for various books and movies.

But...in the YA genre, is romance toted a little too much??

I believe that it has something to do with our culture and traditions.

Image result for picnic
Source: Wikimedia Commons (Russavia)

Since our grandparent's time (and even before), a lot of couples chose their spouses around the age of 16-25. The classic romance tale of the high school/college sweetheart was based in millions of couples' true stories. The circumstances are all unique, but it has proven timeless. It is still considered a mark of success if you marry and establish a family before 30.

But, as a result of that, it is now embedded into our culture that the age that YA aims for (15-30) is the prime dating age. The culture says that you should be thinking about choosing a spouse and getting your happy ever after (after a few handy dandy conflicts of course).

So it really shouldn't be a surprise that romance plot lines tends to dominate in this age-range. However, it has become much more noticeable in very recent times to the detriment of all other human interactions.

So what happened? Why is romance so much more prevalent?

Well....

As they say, "First comes love, then comes marriage, and then the baby carriage". Except that the order has been horribly mangled up.

All those horrible things that happened during high school in the 90s-00s are now permeated into the middle schools. And I do mean everything....
The worries about looks, boys/girls, and clothing starts...in elementary school. It seems that the goal of our world is to strip innocence from young boys and girls as soon as possible.

In fiction, romance is seen as a stabilizing influence from a bad family influence. Siblings? Conflict points to the 10th degree. Friends are only there to support the MCs as they have relationship drama. Current fiction trends uphold the happily-ever-after that leaves an eternal high note for the reader.

While every human wants a happily ever after, it doesn't come to some people. A human romance is not going to lead to eternal happiness. Everyone that has been married probably knows this already. If the goal is unending love, how does a finite human fulfill that?

Has our society become so lovesick and sex-crazed that we have forgotten to be human? I believe so.


Remember, the end of the story is supposed to bring resolution to conflict. A human romance doesn't always resolve conflicts - half the time, it creates more.

I've personally see friends who wound up meeting that special someone and they pull away. In reality, this is when friendships really matter. A romance, especially if it leads to marriage, is a big change for a person. That support network of friends and a stable family influence can really smooth that over. Let's also have more stories that go on after the marriage

A lot of people may say that we don't need "goody two-shoe" stories like that, that they're boring, etc. Looking at the bad fruits that current popular YA literature as well as other cultural influences, I say we need more of it, and quickly.

If not, our generation will be swept from the proverbial bed of roses to one of burning thorns.

Scribblingly yours,

Catherine

P.S. My AMA went live yesterday! Here is the link:
https://frugallyfancyfarmlass.blogspot.com/2017/11/one-year-blogoversary-ama-answers.html


16 comments:

  1. THIS POST. SO. TRUE.

    I agree 1000%!

    And as a goody-goody-two-shoes myself, I'd like to read a story with a character I could relate too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Gray!

      As a fellow goody two shoes, I agree :). It's nice to see an occasional heroine or hero be innocent for once...

      Delete
  2. Great post! I completely agree--I feel that the majority of YA books concern romance, and it's usually portrayed unrealistically. I don't mind some romance, but it would be refreshing to read a book that portrays a guy/girl friendship that doesn't end in romance. :)
    Awesome post! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Allison!!

      You're right, and I would like to see a book about a gang of friends for once.

      Delete
  3. Wow, this is so true. It makes me so angry to find YA novels, and especially middle grade novels that take away innocence like that.

    Fantastic post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh! I agree with you, Audrey!

      What makes it worse is that it's happening in real life too. I used to have a class with a couple of middle school teachers and the stories that they would tell were absolutely shocking.

      Thank you!

      Delete
  4. I agree Catherine, I don't like the idea of a romance between teenagers in YA
    they are a little over a dramatic.
    (though I am fine with the romance between Annabeth and Percy in Percy Jackson, and Jane Austen's romances).
    -Quinley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tes! Being a former teen, I can attest to the overdramatic nature of them :). Besides, they're a little young yet to be making a decision on who they will be with for the rest of their lives...

      Delete
  5. Loved this post, Catherine! I agree with what you said. XD I don't enjoy teenage romance; they are usually too young to be considering marriage, so I prefer them to wait until they are old enough. :-D That's my personal opinion. XD I loved your Q&A post!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post, Catherine!

    Of course, I can't really speak with authority on the matter because (outside of The Lunar Chronicles) I've read almost zero mainstream YA...but. I would argue that much of the "romance" portrayed in secular fiction isn't real romance at all. Romance means risk and adventure and sacrifice. Marriage is the ultimately romantic thing (between humans, that is) because there is nothing harder and scarier and more wonderful than living your life for someone else. Way too often, the end goal in teenage relationships isn't marriage at all. At worst, it's just a self-centered search for pleasure--impure, cowardly, and totally unromantic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more, Lucy! Most secular romance definitely concentrates more on the the infatuation than the romance. Most of the time, marriage is shown as the end goal whrn in fact, it's just the beginning.

      Thank you so much for commenting!

      Delete
  7. This is a great post! I'm a HUGE sucker for romances -- I tend to think a little less of a story if there's no romance AT ALL. But I feel like that's something I could grow in *cough cough* Because you're right -- I think a lot of fiction does cultivate unrealistic expectations of what falling love and marriage and all that are like.

    Great post! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Olivia!!

      I'm a big sucker for them as well, and a romantic line, no matter how small, makes a story all the more enjoyable...provided it's done right and not for the sake of having a romantic plot, if that ever makes any sense.

      Thank you so much for commenting!

      Delete
  8. I 100% agree. The romances in YA are getting worse and worse and it's something that needs to be fixed. I actually just wrote a post about this on my own blog after reading a book FILLED with shallow romances (http://rmarcher.com/2018/03/why-the-literary-world-needs-better-romances-and-how-to-write-them/)
    It's something I'm looking to do better with in my writing. It's actually become a pet peeve of mine for the last sentence in a YA book synopsis to be something about finding "true love" because that's an up-front warning that there's likely a crappy romance involved, and it's front-and-center. At the very least I don't want the romance to dominate the story.
    I do enjoy reading GOOD romances, but they're incredibly hard to find these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't agree more, R.M! I read your post, and it was a wonderful one!!

      Isn't that the truth...many people don't know what true love really is....

      Delete

How are you, dear friend? Come closer to the fire, and make yourself comfortable! I'd love to hear what you've been thinking about, even if it's an old post! I only ask that proper decorum be observed.

I always try to reply to my correspondence! Have a blessed day!
~ Catherine