Guest Post: Writing Romance and Writing Love by Kenneth Weene

Romance: what a lovely thought. Gentle love, perfect lovers, fantasies that take us to heaven, then obstacles that must be overcome, and after that—in the end—resolution, the promise of forever.
Perhaps the best thing about writing romance is creating metaphors:
the sharing of a juicy piece of fruit—at once the symbol of sexuality and of sin;
dancing to a song, swaying to the gentle waves of music—surely a promise of heaven on earth now and forever;
taking a horseback ride—can this not be adventure waiting around the corner.

Because of such metaphor, romance offers us a new form prose poetry. I am sure that the devotees of today’s romance fiction would have been in an earlier time the followers of Shelly, Keats, the Brownings. To use words to bathe in the cleansing joy of emotion: what a delight. I can imagine no higher purpose for poetry, for literature.

Now, my true confession; I don’t write romance. I do write about love, but my love stories take part in the gritty reality of life. Perhaps that’s because my characters start in dark places—the death of a husband, incarceration in a psychiatric hospital, or just hanging on to the bottom rung of the social ladder. They already know that the fantasy of perfect love is not for them. Instead they can only hope that relationship will work, that twenty or thirty years hence they will still be holding hands and waking up in the same bed.

Some of my characters make it; some don’t. That, too, is part of real love. The art of storytelling makes it difficult for the reader to know who will make it, and whose relationships will end painfully. Will it be the widow and the college professor drawn together by the excitement of ideas? Will it be the young couple—him teaching her to drive, them going for a first horseback ride together? Perhaps it will be the quadriplegic and the aide who has helped him in the painful course of rehabilitation. What about the psychiatric patient who waits outside the door of a catatonic peer, and she pregnant from a late-night, anonymous rape? Or the bar owner and his middle-aged regular? These are the people and the loves that I explore: Struggling people with no great fantasies. But then isn’t that who we all really are?

Bio:

A New Englander by origin and now living in Arizona, Ken Weene trained as a psychologist and pastoral counselor. He’s been writing for ten years. Three of his novels, published by All Things That Matter Press, are now available.
You can learn more about Ken’s books at http://www.kennethweene.com . They are available in print, Kindle, and Nook.

6 thoughts on “Guest Post: Writing Romance and Writing Love by Kenneth Weene

  1. Ken, you expressed your thoughts beautifully. Yes, there is a difference when writing about love. It is also a gift to find love among the trials of the human condition.

  2. Ken , this was an excellent commentary on both romance and writing in general. I tend to write more like you–real people, real problems. However, when my brain is fried and I want to simply read for pleasure and relaxation, there's nothing as enjoyable as a good, well-written, slighly steamy romance. We all need an excape into fantasy from time to time. I'd like to add tht I have read some of Ken's books and they are stories that stay with you long after the simple romances which tend to be similar, pleasant, but unless written by a really great romance writer, not always memorable. All genres have their place and time for readers.

  3. Ken Weene would say something like this! And it's so insightful, just like any other of his writings. They don't hide any of the grit in life, but rather find an off-color beauty in it. This one in particular would be a good example: http://empiricalmag.blogspot.com/2012/11/from-empirical-archives-picnic-by.html

    I've been hooked on it since I first read it. As much as I like a good romance story, a realistic story about love (true love?!) certainly has more staying power. Cheers, Kenneth!

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