Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Man Magnet - Or Why I Write Romance

Good Morning Lovelies. Today I'm going to share with you some deep dark secrets about why I write romance. Don't worry, nothing graphic in this post. I've just been doing a lot of thinking lately, my birthday is Friday, and well, thoughts are just a-popping in my brain.

I am a Man Magnet. Yes, you heard me. I attract men like flies to a dead corpse. Losers, drunks, bums, users, violent, scum suckers from the dregs of the bowels of the deepest pit of despair.

I don't know why. I'm really a very nice person. Perhaps that's why. Maybe they see in me a need to try and be redeemed. Maybe it's because I broke my teeth on historical romance way back in the 70's when men were rakes and libertines and could only be redeemed by perfect women. (Not that I'm perfect, far from it, but I do have some very nice qualities.) I don't know. Perhaps I was looking for my own rake to reform.

As I've gotten older, I pushed aside those bad boys and found very sane, very nice, perfectly amenable men to date. But they all had underlying baggage. Heavy duty baggage that airlines would charge triple to put on the plane. (I will admit I have my own issues to deal with, however, I have dealt with most of them and filed them away.)

Now some of you are probably wondering why my stories don't have murder and mayhem in them, why I don't kill my ex-darlings on the pages. Because secretly I'm a sappy romantic at heart. I cry at Hallmark commercials. I am a connoisseur of chick flicks. I love happily ever after. I was raised on the original Disney Princess model -- Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella. (Cinderella was my favorite and one of my ex's used to call me that on occasion.)

All my life, I think, I've been searching for the perfect man. Well, at least the perfect man for me. Oh sure, I've found some that were almost, but they always had that one thing that made me back off. I've been engaged four times, have planned four weddings, have bought three wedding dresses, have even gone so far as to print invitations. But I could never go through with it. Because something just wasn't quite right. (Remember how old I really am and four fiances is not all that many.)

Perhaps I was dreaming of the happily ever after and somehow I knew I wouldn't be happy. I was raised as a Catholic and for all my lapsing, I still believe in the institution of marriage that bonds two people until the end of their days. In sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, until death do us part. And I knew I would end up divorced, so I chose to forego the marriage AND divorce.

I write romance for the express purpose that someone I know (created) and love will find everlasting happiness with the man of her dreams. I write romance because I love a good love story. I love the longing, and the yearning, and the angst. Sure, all my heroines have obstacles to get over, some more so than others, but they always in the end, get their man. (And believe it or not, I am not in any of my female characters. I am in my male characters. Don't know why, it's just the way I write.)

I've been single for five years now. Monster Child's father really did me in. I've been focusing on my daughter, and my writing, and my parents for the last five years. I've given up on men because, well, fifteen times burned, always shy.

But you know, I still have hope. My fondest wish is to someday meet my soul mate, marry and live in bliss for the rest of my life. And isn't that why we read romance? For the ultimate wish -- happily ever after. And that's why I write it.

Tell me -- why do you write in your genre? Any secrets you want to share? I promise I won't tell.


PS I wrote Monday's post on the fly and drove myself crazy with the word license. I looked it up, finally, and there are actually two ways to spell it -- licence and license. You really don't know how much this drove me nuts.

43 comments:

Laura Pauling said...

And I think that's why women read romance b/c for the most love like that only does exist in books and fairy tales. Marriage and any relationship is hard work.

I think write what I like to read. Which is a fun, moving, full of adventure story. Why? I have no clue the psychology behind why I like what I like.

Em-Musing said...

Trust me, sometimes for better or worse can get you killed. Me? I love being in love and I now go for happily everNOW. Hope my NOW is my prince and not the frog. I write humorous Women's Fiction because...well...laughing is more fun than whining.

Anne Gallagher said...

Laura -- Adventure story?! That sounds great!!! And yes, marriage and relationships are hard work.

Anne Gallagher said...

Em -- Laughing IS more fun that whining. I'm still waiting for the Prince. I've had too many frogs.

Linda G. said...

You'll find the right guy for you someday. And in the meantime, you have the "write" guy at the tip of your fingers. :)

Liza said...

I read to escape I think, so I like happy endings too. Reality is never as clean as in stories; and would likely be boring if things always ended happily ever after...though I'd like to give that a try for a while!

Anne Gallagher said...

Linda -- What's that old adage -- Stop looking and he'll appear. Yeah, that doesn't work. And I do have the "write" guy at my fingertips any time I need him. (lol in more ways than one. OMG, did I just say that?)

Liza -- Reality is very messy, which it is in my books as well, but at least I get to write the ending the way I want.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL I answered your question on my post today. I must have been reading your mind when I wrote it (okay, technically I wrote it on the weekend). And this morning I was trying to come up with a post for my other blog (for tomorrow) and five minutes after I got up, I decided to write on soulmates. LOL We most be working on the same wavelength.

I love HEA endings too, which is why I enjoy romance. That's one problem with YA novels. They don't always end in HEA, but that makes sense for them.

Anne Gallagher said...

Stina -- Which is why I can't write YA. There's too many variables in dating. And who really knows who they want when they're 15.

The Universal Mind is a powerful thing. I remember once, when there were like 6 or 8 of us who wrote on the same topic one day. Spooky we were all thinking the same thing.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I love to write women's fiction especially when it comes to exploring mother/son/daughter relationships. But when it comes to reading, I'm all about the crime stories. Maybe because they're the furthest from my life that I find them interesting.

Bish Denham said...

I write MG because some of my absolute best memories are from the ages of like 9 to 12. I want to pass on some of that magic or fun or nonsense as best I can.

As for finding the "right guy." I totally let go of the idea of wanting/needing a relationship (a process that took many years) and when I was finally okay and completely content to be by myself, to be without a relationship, that's when I met HIM. I can't say the beginning years of our marriage were easy, they weren't. But 25 years later we're still together putting up with each other's quirks.

Lydia K said...

No wonder romance is such an outlet for you. This post was so well written I read it twice, but still, the only thing I can offer is, "Keep your eyes open." Princes come in all shapes and sizes, and they all have baggage. Let's just hope the next one is carry-one sized.
:)

Lydia K said...

that's "Carry-on" sized
;)

Michelle Gregory said...

i'm glad you have hope. i write romance because i too am a romantic at heart. in my case, i think it's because i really did find my soulmate and i know what a good marriage can be.

Domey Malasarn said...

Anne, this is a beautiful post, and thank you so much for opening yourself up like this. I makes me appreciate your work even more to know what kind of passionate connection you have to it.

Most of my writing has a lot of dark characters, and I think the reason I investigate those people is because I've always been seeking acceptance. I want the world to accept everyone in it and so I strive to show that everyone is sympathetic.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i think i write fantasy because, more or less, real life can be boring. Sure crazy things happen in real life, but just think how much more awesome it would be if there was some sort of monster thrown in the mix? Or magic?

J.L. Campbell said...

For having met a lot of toads and all that, you really are a romantic at heart!

I like the happily-ever-after of romance novels, plus the thrust and parry that goes on in some relationship. I started reading romance at a very early age and later on decided that it's what I would write.

Patti said...

I write MG/YA because that's when I fell in love with books, although I did have a big Danielle Steele phase, so I've always wanted to try romance.

Katie Mills said...

I think I write romance for the opposite reason! lol. I DON'T believe things are ever as good as in the movies and books. I've been in love and felt how awesome it can be (obsessive, passionate, you are my world kind of love...) and how it won't keep you from breaking up, moving on, changing in different directions or realizing you're just not meant to be. It's never as good as it is in my imagination. So my imagination is where I prefer to stay...;)

notesfromnadir said...

I think you have an excellent motivation for writing romance. The more you write it the more you'll attract it.

I like licence because it's actually faster & it's the British way.

Al said...

Historical fiction because I love history.
I stick in elements of mystery and romance because they are fun to write.

Anne R. Allen said...

I write mysteries because I like to kill people. Not really. I like order. I like the fantasy that justice prevails. I write romantic mysteries (suspense) because I want love to prevail, too. I'm greedy.

And like you, I've been a magnet for bad men. It's not a coincidence that certain women (and men) attract narcissists. Usually there was one in our childhood who trained us in victimhood.

I have a theory about the classic romantic heroes created by the Bronte sisters. I think Rochester and Heathcliff are versions of their raging alcoholic brother Branwell.

chiccoreal said...

15 sounds like a lucky number! I love your sense of the absurd and satire. Romance is not dead it just needs coaxy's army! Great post!

jbchicoine said...

Gosh, Anne, just reading this post...my romatic energies go to work and conjur up the perfect scenario for you. Perhaps someday, 'He' will come along...not that it fixes everything, but when it's really good...oh my...you deserve that...
Thanks for sharing your story. You make me want to be brave...

Anne Gallagher said...

Jaydee -- I love me a good mystery/crime/semi-thriller as well. I just can't write them. I wouldn't know where to begin.

Bish -- I have let go of the illusion of the perfect man, or any man for that matter. I still have hope but I'm not really looking, haven't been since I moved down south. I've got too much on my plate. I couldn't fit a man in my crazy life.

Lydia -- Thanks. I like that carry-on size. Cute.

Michelle -- Then color me jealous. I'm glad you found who you were looking for. I know who I'm looking for but he's somewhere beyond the sea.

Domey -- What an interesting premise to write on. I don't know if I could look at the dark side of personality. I think I would be frightened. You and I should talk.

Sarah -- Or magic! Pixie dust would be good too.

JL -- Thanks I am a romantic at heart. Always have been. Which is where I think I got into trouble. I always wanted my men to be ideal. And it wasn't until I was in my 30's that I found out they're just people.

Patti -- Love the early Danielle Steele. Now, not so much. But....you should try a romance out. See if you like it.

Katie -- That's where I live now, in my imagination. Keeps me sane. lol

Lisa -- I've been using a lot of British terms lately, I think because of my historicals. And when I did spell-check it said it was acceptable so I let it go. I looked it up in my dictionary this morning just to be sure. I hate misspelling anything. It drives me nuts.

Anne Gallagher said...

Al -- I love history and mystery too. I try to incorporate jsut an eensy bit in each of my stories somewhere. Just for a little added zing.

Anne -- I like the fantasy that justice prevails. Isn't it just. And I agree with your Bronte theory. Rochester was just tooo..... And Heathcliff was all..... Definitely shades of something deep.

Chiccoreal -- We'll see what 16 brings. Maybe the DMV guy will call.

Bridget -- Brave? You already are brave. You don't need me. And maybe "he" will come along, but I gave up looking a long time ago. If he wants to find ME he can.

February Grace said...

I seem to go back and forth between showing up here and there in my male and female characters. One book has way too much 'me' in there and I know it won't likely ever be revised or in any way marketed at all. But in truth it was written for one person (not me) they liked it and so I am happy with it. It was a huge learning experience for me as a writer.

I have a terrible weakness for writing about writers (both of my first two manuscripts focused on them) that's why I'm glad to be doing something so far removed from that for the third one that I have to see my characters as the people they are- not who I would make them over as. Which might sound silly but to me, it's like I'm meeting them, not creating them.

I love romance too, and it has to be a big theme in my stories- because I think love is the thing that ultimately motivates us all- whether we admit it or not.

hugs to you Anne.

xoxo
~bru

Hold my hand: a social worker's blog said...

Anne,
I like how you have reflected about your past experiences, and the clear thoughts of what you look for in a man, at this time of your life. I am also a romantic person, and we tend to nurture others. And that's why we attract needy men. Believe me, I know what you mean :-)

Now you're making me think of my dusty WIP--yeah, I've neglected it--, which MC is a nursing home lady; there's a man involved in her life, but I haven't added much of romance due to focusing on her dementia and issues in the facility... hm... a touch of romance might spice it up :-)

Doris

Talli Roland said...

Anne, what a wonderful post!
I write romantic comedies (aka chick lit) because I love focusing on women's journeys... with an element of humour and romance.

Eric W. Trant said...

I hate to admit that I'd probably be pretty good at writing romance. It's embarrassing for a straight manly-man whose garage is full of tools.

But I have that same underlying urge to see my characters fall in love and find something meaningful, same as for myself.

In my latest piece, I'm working on something deeply spiritual concerning love. I'm not sure how it's going to end, but I think it has to do with love both before birth and after death.

- Eric

Eric W. Trant said...

PS, and hang in there on the love thing in your personal life. You may need to settle for crazy, so brace yourself ;)

- Eric

VR Barkowski said...

Despite long time membership in RWA, I don't have a drop of romance in my soul, and I don't believe in HEAs because they only happen in fiction. Doesn't matter, I love this post. I love why you write romance. You do it because you're on a quest and that makes me want to read your work.

As a psychological suspense writer, I, too, am on a quest. I write to understand why good people do stupid, sometimes bad, things.

BTW: Mr. VR and I have been together for 28 years (yes, we were babies) and our major issue right now is carpet color. Maybe I'm living the HEA and don't know it.

Ella said...

Happy Birthday early; I'm a Taurus, too. I also love Cinderella and my nickname use to be Cinderellie(Ella is not my real name).
I think the more your write about the romance, it makes it harder for you to imagine THE ONE! You sure did give it a fair shake, I must admit! I think relationships take a lot of adjustment, patience and laughs. You know he still could be out there...looking for you~ @>----

Sally Clements said...

I write romance and romantic suspense because I love to write about the beginning of romance, when it all looks good, and is so new clean and hopeful. I write crime too, which sorts out the more evil side...

Nicki Elson said...

I'm into this writing thing for the control. Complete and utter control. Things might go awry for my heroine, but only because I say it does - not because some jerk came along and broke her heart without my permission, you know?

Nicki Elson said...

Gah! Why do I always forget this part? You're scoring all kinds of points in my Trivia Madness. ;)

Anne Gallagher said...

Bru -- As the people they are, not who I'm creating them to be... yes, I agree. I usually don't know who they really are until I'm almost at the end. Then I have to change them.

Doris -- Go for it. Dusty WIP's are just old gems waiting to be polished again. Then they look as good as new.

Talli -- I wish I could find some humor. I think I need some of that in my books.

Eric -- I have manly tools in my garage too. What does that mean I wonder? Love before birth and after death with a spiritual element sounds totally rockin'! And I've already had the crazy thanks. I'll stick to Ward Cleaver from now on, if I can find him.

VR -- After 28 years and the only issue is carpet color, yeah, I'd say you're living the HEA. And if you wonder why good people do stupid things, you and I should talk. I've got stories for you!

Ella -- Happy Birthday! Yay! He might be looking but I'm not. If he wants to find me, he'll need a good map.

Sally -- I like the juxtaposition there. Romance and crime. Gives me an idea for a story. Thanks for stopping by.

Nicki -- Ah, control. Yes, isn't it great when we can decide what happens to who. And why. I love your trivia. Makes me go back to when life was easy.

The Words Crafter said...

Ha! I can't spell that word at all. I just type and let the red squigglies get it for me. Yeah, they don't like 'squigglies' either.

Anyway. Five years. Wow. It took me 7, so don't give up! And mine snuck up on me :)

Interesting point about why you write in your genre....making me think again....really. We really must find time to meet and dish for a while....I have a story idea for you when I get time to get an email together. My eyes are struggling to stay open right now....

Nel said...

The blog is very good!
Congratulations!
http://nelsonsouzza.blogspot.com

Katie Mills said...

OH- I almost forgot (I'm not seeing my prior message so maybe it got eaten. Basically I said your tips are awesome and we do a lot of that in france) HAPPY B-EARTH DAY!!!

Bluestocking Mum said...

Hello there Anne.

Really pleased to have found your blog and look forward to following your posts, writing, and whether you ever find that perfect man!

warm wishes
Debbie
x

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

It's funny that you always start your posts out with Good Morning, and I almost always read them at night. :)

Anyway, I've been living in perfect "marital bliss" for 8 years. The only thing is that takes a lot of freaking hard work to keep it that way, and it's often a lot of ups and downs and times when I don't think it's quite bliss. That's when I read...

Thank you for putting up this post, Anne. It's honest and beautiful. I need to think about why I write in the genres I do. I just don't think of them as genres, I guess.

Deniz Bevan said...

Goodness, Anne, how did I miss this post? It's why I got so excited when I returned to writing romance - I'd finally refound a part of me that had been left barren for too long. The sweetness, the passion, the idea of soul mates recognising each other and fighting tooth and nail to be together... Love it :-)