Romance in literature often features a “will they/won’t they” dynamic, and for good reason. It’s entertaining and engaging, keeping the reader invested in the characters. We want the best for our “ships”, and the will they/won’t they dynamic — as frustrating as it can be sometimes — plays into our investment in the character.
Of course, at the end of the story, there must come an answer: will they, or won’t they? As rewarding as it is to see the protagonist win over their love, sometimes it’s better for the characters to stay separate.
N.b. For the purposes of this article, I will be mainly referring to female characters in the action/adventure genre, rather than in romance
We often see figures of female empowerment in the media. Characters who are meant to be badass independent women, who are well beyond functioning and thriving without the help of a man, sometimes even being the ones to save their male counterparts. Gone are the days of the static damsel in distress, waiting in the castle for Prince Charming. Now, we have Fiona, Captain Marvel, Vi, and more, but despite all this, we still have a big problem with the way strong female/feminine characters are portrayed in the media. This is, unfortunately, the way they are portrayed in relationships.
For some reason, love is usually shown as a burden to female characters. Falling in love or caring about another person in a romantic sense slows them down. They can only focus on fighting, defeating the bad guy or whatever the main plot calls for. Finding a romantic partner is seen as automatically removing their agency, and reducing them to weak female stereotypes. This obvious double standard, that has surprisingly been left unchecked for so long, claims that once a woman is paired with a man, she is automatically giving herself away. It is impossible for a woman to retain the same strength, resilience and power she once possessed if she is paired with a man. Writing it all down is quite frankly ridiculous.
TW: Teratophila and some sexual mentions.
Paranormal romance has been around since 1764, when the Gothic novels started to appear, with Bram Storker’s internal homophobia and outward xenophobia cementing the vampire as a terrifying yet seducing figure. However the true element of romance didn’t appear until Ann Radcliff started writing gothics, specially The Mysteries of Udolpho.
In the present this genre is rather infamous in the already ostracized romance genre (read: When people sh*t on YA romance) despite how common “paranormal romances” tend to appear in popular texts.
Contains spoilers from Pride and Prejudice.
Let me start with the fact that I don’t like Jane Austen, in fact, I refused to read any of her work until I was forced to read Sense and Sensibility in my freshman year of college. Avoiding Austen at all costs probably had something to do with internalized misogyny(re: my article about YA Romance), but I also have/had legitimate qualms with her writing style.
I found and still find Austen’s sentence structure to be annoying and grammar overworked. But there’s no getting around that because Pride and Prejudice was written over 200 years ago! Don’t you think it would be weird if her writing didn’t sound weird to modern tastes? Now that I’ve read more than one Jane Austen book, I now believe that Jane Austen doesn’t entirely suck. We love character growth.
The YA author wakes up in a cold sweat. They have dreamt up their worst nightmare.
A single character. A character not in an ever-lasting monogamous relationship, who doesn't have their ‘after the book’ arc mapped out, with 2 kids and eternal happiness.
Truly the stuff of nightmares.
In YA, every side character needs to be paired off, needs to at least have a hinted romantic interest. God forbid there’s nothing to write fanfiction about.
This is the slightest bit of a problem because… a good chunk of teens don’t date. And an even larger chunk of teens don’t date with the promise of forever. Add concerns such as saving the world onto the plates of many YA protagonists, and dating seems like it should be the last thing on a character’s mind.
From the March sisters to Sadie and Carter Kane, sibling relationships can be captivating to both read and write about. However, they seem to be criminally underrated, especially in YA. Personally, this is the type of relationship I tend to gravitate towards the most, as I think there is a lot of potential in it. Sometimes, it might include tough competition and unexpected betrayals. But, in hopes that we get to see this relationship more often, I have decided to talk about how to write healthy sibling bonds.
How often do we use the word “love” in a day? We use it to show affection, enthusiasm, and joy for the people and things in our lives. While the word may be the same, the way we use it differentiates: one doesn’t necessarily love their favorite book like they love their partner.
Love exists in different forms. The Greeks actually used about six different words for the various kinds of love. Identifying love in it’s multiple forms can help us write realistic relationships, romantic or otherwise.
CW: Please note that this chapbook contains stories with scenes/mentions/themes of violence, death, disordered eating, and abuse.
It’s about mothers, daughters, accumulations of casual violence, and the bodily nature of family.
All it took was this brief description to get me interested in reading this chapbook. I’ve developed a bit of a habit of judging books based solely on their covers or blurbs, and this short sentence was perfectly able to capture everything I could want in a book and more. Shortly after stumbling upon this description, I was able to read an ARC copy of this chapbook, written by a promising young writer in the community. Now, after having read it in its entirety, I am glad to say that I was not disappointed. With an abundance of stellar writing, gripping tales and a deep rooted theme of family bonds and connections, Stella Lei’s Inheritances of Hunger is the new book you’ll want on your shelf.
The following is a dramatization of an event and should be taken lightly:
A person with genuine intentions asked once, “LGBTQ+ people what is the difference between writing straight romances and queer romances?”
The queer people in the writing room said, “[The characters] Dealing with queerphobia mostly”.
The person explained that in the world they were creating there would be no bigotry to be found.
“In that case, pretty much the same,” this queer people said and everyone went back to their homes."
However I am here because I don’t think that the difference between straight and queer romances is as simple as that.
It is Black History Month! One of the few times of the year where I get to be proudly and unapologetically Black. Other times it’s kind of awkward, especially in an online context, but there’s something freeing about this month. It’s a time where conversations are more openly held, ideas are shared, and your local orgs and companies make a special effort to highlight the Black people around them. Maybe you’ll even get a meme or two out of it, or a feigned feeling of self importance for 28 days. Who knows? To be perfectly honest, I don’t usually do much for Black History Month, other than acknowledging that it’s a thing that is happening, but this year I’ve decided to do a little bit more than that. And so I’m here with a statement. I’m not too sure what this statement will be about really, but I wanted to say something. Because I’m here, and other Black people are here too, and that is something worthy of acknowledgement.