Friday, May 09, 2008

This Ain't Your Grandma's Star-Crossed Lovers Fiction!

Forget about grandma's version of this modern day Star-Cross pair. That kind of story is long gone! Hopefully. I'm talking about ROMANCE STAR-CROSSED LOVERS. Not those old stories of sappy, boohoo, I don't wanna live without you love stories, where weak-kneed equaled weak-minded wimps of love. In other words just too damn stupid to even live. So when they finally offed themselves because life was just too tough I was cheering their decision to end my agony right along with them.

BUT, when it comes to our 21st century romance fiction, I'm all for the SCL !(VBG) Okay, not all of the Hussies are in agreement about using star-crossed lovers and that’s cool because our definition of a Hussy is an independent woman who certainly can think for herself and has no problem expressing her opinions. No sheep in this Hussy Herd for sure.

But I'm not going to rant how romance fiction star-crossed lovers have been unfairly vilified. LOL. No sirree bob! They can take care of themselves without me coming to their defense. At least in romance fiction they can! And that’s what I’m talking about, not that ole Greek tragedy star-crossed love birds (YAWN), but the strong and the brave in romance!

There are many of us who like this theme, I know who you are. You bought my books that have this theme. (G) So today, I talking about modern romance fiction using this theme very successfully. Oh, you might not recognize it as the new improved version of the ancient stories, but it is.

This is your chance to speak up and shake those pompoms for the Romance SCL everywhere. Rah! Rah!

I'm one Hussy who embraces romance SCL, loves romance SCL and finds romance SCL probably the most exciting theme and plot points available to heighten the angst and make the story emotionally charged with unique situations. How? Easy. Give the hero and heroine what appears to be insurmountable odds stacked against them and set them loose. Maybe calling this Star Crossed Lovers is an injustice since that connotation reeks of Romeo and Juliet, but to me, it is the same kind of incredible odds in romance fiction only it isn’t a tragic ending, but a Happily Ever After.

I admit, I love placing my heroes and heroines in hopeless situations. I adore painting them into corners and then finding a way out so they can be victorious over their plight. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy other books with less angst, urgency and conflict over being from different worlds. I most certainly enjoy those as well.

But for me, writing those stories would put me to sleep. I find the against all odds kind of stories exciting and seducing. I just love the challenge romance SCL presents to finding that Happily Ever After. It becomes a real quest for me and probably why I love to write them!

So bring on the romance Star-Crossed Lovers! It’s the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins her back and that has been the crux of romance since day one. Toss in some of those stars, mix together and then scatter to opposite ends of the spectrum. Voila! We have a Romance Star-Crossed Lovers’ theme. Yeah baby!

Romance SCL are also great for the genres I write in, especially paranormal romance. Sigh. I mean it’s the perfect vehicle. One lover is from the human world while the other is from a world of darkness and evil. Oh chills and thrills. The conflict is immediate and brings not just the expected problems, but allows for a whole slew of other conflicts and issues to be tossed into the mix! Oh yum! Now my blood is sizzling and I’m ready tell you about their heart-breaking story.

At first it won’t be heart-breaking. They’ll have a lot of fun, love and sex, but then their dark moment will strike out of nowhere. Gasp! And it’s at this point I must answer the big question.

What makes this theme so appealing in a romance? Is it because opposites attract and create bigger sparks or does the fascination with romance SCL transcend simple chemistry?

Maybe it’s the bigger than life situations. The insurmountable situation that has only one ending. Despair. But wait, this is where it’s different in a ROMANCE NOVEL. You guessed it – there’s going to be a HEA.

So go ahead and read the book and let yourself feel those wonderful emotions and those sad ones, too, because the good part will show up at the end and save the story!

Could this then be the intrigue? The reader always has hope and the expectation that it will all somehow, some way work out for the two lovers. This hope makes the creatures of the night or those damned to eternal hell seductive and mysterious because we don’t know how they are going to be redeemed. So we read to the end of the book and discover they most definitely find redemption and our heroine proves everyone wrong.

See there! He was the right guy for her!

The heroine never gave up! She’s always believed in her man and did all kinds of brave and selfless things to save him. She fought demons from hell and vampires for him. She tries to give her life in exchange for his!

And the hero's no slouch, he's made the biggest sacrifices for his love and proven himself worthy of her love. He's begging to give his life so she can live. So bring on tall, dark and sexy! Bury me in the reality that his goal is impossible to achieve and then let me find a way for him to accomplish his mission and shine. I am so there!

I love to explore these selfless acts and determination in my SCL characters and in my most recent book I just turned in to my editor, my first HUSSY book, WAKING THE DJINN, the story explores the questions of why and how a woman could possibly fall for a demon. It proved to be one of the most challenging books I’ve written because how does anyone defend a demon lover? How could a reader be sympathetic? What would make such a male protagonist a hero?

I mean talk about star-crossed! A Hussy Warrior Hunter and one of the 72 spirits King Solomon trapped in an urn. How can my heroine, Jordan Lewis, possibly come to terms with this kind of love? Hmm... I loved writing this book!

This kind of plot/theme challenges me as a storyteller to make it logical and reasonable that such a relationship can work. I must dig deep and come up with plausible motives and find a way to allow the dark hero to find that redemption only love can give.

So yeah, I'm the biggest romantic ever created. But for the record, let me make it clear, I don’t write tragic endings of star-crossed lovers like the Greeks or Shakespeare did. I’m writing romance!

These SCL are definitely going to have a HEA ending! I find this theme a perfect fit for paranormal because by the very nature of vampires, werewolves, demons, and such they are going to be the direct opposites of their human counterparts. You can’t get anymore star-crossed than that. There’s no denying their worlds are at odds from the getgo. There is no possible solution to their tragic, ill-fated love until…


There is a small glimmer of hope. Hope for the damned. Hope for the cursed. One of the reasons I just love writing paranormal books is because of this dark element of the fallen human or spirit and his longing to return to his origin—the light. So what better way to achieve this than through love, baby! Good ole love!

With all these delicious elements, we automatically have a great emotional roller coaster ride unfolding as they struggle to defend and claim their ultimate prize -– L-O-V-E.

That's what romance star-crossed means to me. That's why I've used SCL in several of my books. I am free to explore and express all the emotions in the best possible way. I’m challenged as a writer to reach beyond the usual expectations of a scene or plot twist and come up with something unique and different. Something that will up the stakes in this doomed game of love and challenge these Star-Crossed Lovers to find a HEA to their story!


Minime said...

Hehe, Preach it girlfriend. *smile* I don't care what the characters have to go through as long as in the end, they're happy *and* together. That together is a key element for me to enjoy a romance.

Sally Painter said...

Thank you, Sandra! Service is tomorrow at 10 am. (eg)

Susan said...

I love to be pulled into all the emotional dilemmas and wonder how the author will resolve it for the HEA I want. It's the thrilling roller coaster ride with ups, downs, dips into darkness, fears with feelings of wanting to get off and in the end the elation of an awesome ride. :) "Woohoo, let's do it again!" When you have a couple that shouldn't be together, a hero that I might just have to smack upside the head and then find the redeeming qualities to make him the love of the heroine's life....ahhh, the magic of a good romantic story.

Sally Painter said...

Hiya Susan! Ain't it the truth! I knew we were kindred souls!

Ciana Stone said...

Oh ROFLAMO Service is tomorrow at 10am ??? Sally, you slay me.

Great post. It's one of the things I love best about the Hussies - we may not always agree on things, but we always agree on the fact that we love the diversity and each other.

Big hugs!

N.J.Walters said...

I think star-crossed lovers is a reoccuring theme for a reason---people like it. I don't mind it as long as I get my HEA. If I don't get my HEA, I hate it. LOL

Sally Painter said...

Hiya Ci! I agree. I loved all the posts this week, but you know, I just had to be different. Can't help it. (g)


Sally Painter said...

NJ! You are so right and I'm there with you. If it doesn't have the HEA, I'm going to feel cheated out of a good love story!

Nicole Austin said...

The Hussies opinionated...nah. We're just bold, confident women not afraid to be ourselves or to speak our minds. I love that!