Here’s part two of my Valentine’s Day special saga!
Romance is a sub-genre that was always a bit tricky to me in my fantasy novels. I almost never decided to have “ships” in my books, because I felt as though characters should be embraced for more than just a pairing that occurs. I had been condemned to relationships forming all around me, and in the books that I grew to love. Left and right, there were love triangles, but none of them had true substance.
Love is complicated. So why write it?
The older that I became, the more that I started to open my eyes to a different field of love. It exists in many different forms aside from romantic. There is also platonic. Friendships. Companionship. Family. Defining. Self-love.
And today, I’m going to tell you why writing these different forms of love is amazing.
[Forewarning: You’re going to see a LOT of calling into “The Final Lesson” duology, because that is where my forms of love are the most effective. Enjoy~]
My First Written Romance
Many of you know that “The Final Lesson” was my first dive into a romantic relationship that was set in stone from the very beginning. That came in the form of primary main character Leilana, and another main character named Solus.
What I loved most about forming this relationship, Solus and Leilana are each individually focused on the goals that they have in mind; Leilana seeks to become a proper Warlord and complete her lesson, and Solus wants to help his best friend Remiel reclaim his kingdom and restore their home. Their paths cross, and they find themselves mutually bonded.
But they still remain, even after realizing their deeper love for each other, as two people with goals and desires. They are two separate people that form a bond as one and still remain as individuals. They don’t allow themselves to become consumed by their love for one another like most couples in YA fantasy do. And that was always something that I valued as I told their story.
Oh, and yes, their love is a plot device. But I’ve gotten praise for it being done correctly. I feel I’ve earned my right to brag on that aspect.
The Love That Never Was
One thing that I do appreciate seeing at times? A romance that is there, but never really comes to the surface. The ship that sank. The unrequited crush. The love that never was. And that was born in Remiel and Sien.
Sien is interested in Rem from the start. But Rem ends up finding someone he cares about, a girl named Amiria. It doesn’t take long for Sien to realize it, and though she’s incredibly angry at first, she doesn’t allow it to consume her. She wishes that she could tell him the truth, that she loves him, but she just… chooses to let Rem be happy with whatever decisions that he was bound to make, because she values his friendship more than she could a relationship with him. Rem appreciates her, she appreciates him, and I consider them the best friends that never act on their emotions.
The love of a friendship that had more treasure is a beautiful thing, and something that I too value.
The Bond of Brothers/Sisters
I love reading stories where there is a strong bond between the cast that makes you feel as though they are family, even if there is romance, even if there is tension, you still feel that closeness that everyone has. I value family, because I’ve had significant points in my life where I felt as though I didn’t have it, and it’s something that I’ll never forget.
When you stand together with a group of allies that you know will support you… nothing is impossible to face.
I never touch much on Nova and Frayle’s relationship in “The One Left Behind.” But the more that I sit back and reevaluate them, the more that I see them as partners, not lovers. And to me, that’s okay. Because they’re both rather fun characters to work with, and I look forward to completing their story.
Nova and Frayle seem to be wrapped up in their own thoughts, and fate brought them together merely by chance due to Frayle being reborn as a Creator, and Nova being a chosen Time-Jumper, leaving them both in a rather dangerous predicament. They wouldn’t find the type to really think about romance anyways–too busy trying to save their own skins to consider it.
And even if they weren’t, I believe that they’re better suited to being close friends anyways. They’re always looking out for one another, no kissing involved.
My upcoming novel, “Sincerely, Fury,” is going to have a confirmed asexual main character that almost resents the idea of falling in love with someone. Kajin isn’t a fan of romance, and merely wants acceptance in other forms due to his spiritual influence. He is fine with or without it, and I feel that’s okay as well.
The idea of falling in love can be scary or inconvenient for some people. And it isn’t a life-given necessity. Which is why Kajin will spend much of his journey making allies, saving spirits, and learning how to manage man and beast.
Love comes in many forms, and it’s best that we share it with those that we care deeply about. We deserve to grow with others at our side and embrace what matters the most about them.
Happy Valentine’s Day.