Even Monsters Need Love by Laura Kitchell
EVEN MONSTERS NEED LOVE
I’ve been published in Romance since 2007 as Laura Kitchell, published under a pseudonym in Erotic Romance since 2008, and have a body of 28 published works ranging in length from 20,000 to 100,000 words. I present workshops on a range of subjects, but by far, my most popular subject is the power of love in any genre. My presentation is called Even Monsters Need Love. Here’s a piece of that class.
No matter the genre, romantic elements can enhance a story. Not every hero is handsome or charming. A truly dynamic and believable character is damaged and flawed. Some of us write what society would deem monsters. Then again, some of us write actual monsters. Imagine Minotaur twisted into a hero worth redeeming (By the Horns by Violet Heart) or a succubus who meets the one man who can revive her dead heart (Redeeming the Night by Kristine Overbrook).
To incorporate romantic elements, a book doesn’t have to be a Romance. Romantic elements are interactions between lovers or characters seeking to become lovers and the use of emotions, connection, sexual tension, and intimacy. These elements can run the spectrum from first blush of interest to a solid partnership involving years of involvement. To use romance in a non-romance genre, first determine what purpose you want it to serve within the story.
A love relationship can serve as a subplot. It can be used as a device to help the reader identify with the main character. Perhaps use it as motivation for the character’s actions or decisions. Love can even go so far as to provide conflict within the storyline.
To effectively use romance in this manner, an author must define the relationship as truly romantic. The love needs to be experienced by the characters – a first glimpse of that someone special, conversation that happens between two characters who are falling in love, the kiss, thoughts of the other when the characters are apart, longing and excitement and feelings of completeness, and lovemaking. Romance is the love that the character believes will only come once in a lifetime. That realization that he or she can’t imagine life without the other person. Even if the love is unrequited, it can drive a character like nothing else.
It’s important not to confuse love with sex. Having your character enjoy gratuitous sex during a one-night stand does not constitute a romantic element if he never gives her a second thought and never sees her again.
Thinking about using romantic elements in your non-Romance? Ask these questions: Do I need romance to add complexity to my characters (think Hellboy and Liz Sherman)? Do I need romance as a plot device (think Wolverine and Silver Fox “Kayla”)? What is the goal my character seeks, what is the motivation driving my character to the goal, and will romance either carry the story forward or provide necessary characterization?
Everyone wants love. Even Frankenstein’s monster wanted a bride. When hard-edged characters display longings and desires to which readers can relate, we have stories where readers invest in the journey. Romantic elements are only one method to achieve this. It’s a powerful one, though.
Find Laura Kitchell’s books online at laurakitchell.com
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