Thursday, May 1, 2014

Purely Platonic? Male and Female Protagonists Without The Romance

It's Karlie with you this Thursday! I've just finished looking over my overflowing bookshelf, and realized that in just about every single story, romance either takes center stage or waits in the wings. So what's up with that? Sure, we all love to see it, but have we gotten to the point that we can't do without it?

Even when we have two strong protagonists - male and female, working together - it seems the sparks MUST fly. 

Opposite personalities? They clash until suddenly they're making out, with no clue how that happened but they really like it.

Complementing personalities? Well, it's obvious they were made for each other.

I have just realized I really want to see a story in which the guy and girl remain friends. As in, they finish out the novel trying to set each other up on a date with someone else, friends. Know what I mean? 

One of my good friends is writing a novel like this, and I love it. I hadn't realized how much of my reading material is curtained in romance. In fact, I'm going to try it in my next novel. Let's see what happens when love takes a rain check!

What are your opinions on this? Do you believe romance should be the focus point, the background, or fade away completely?

Readers, do you want to see more books with purely platonic relationships?

Caitlin: So, one of my guy friends actually graciously reads my books even though he hates the romantic aspects. I don't take it personally because he hates all romance (and he has very thoughtful commentary on the other aspects). But it got me thinking that, for me, a book has to be really amazing for me to get caught up in it without having a romantic subplot (or main plot). But it can happen! Some recent reads that I loved, despite not getting that fun pitter patter in my heart, include The Road by Cormac MacCarthy (though my husband says you can argue that's a bromance) and Montana 1943. Another recent example, slightly more in line with what you are asking for (including a platonic heterosexual male-female relationship) is Charm & Strange, which I've mentioned before. There is a love interest for the MC, but that love interest turns into just a good friend in a very satisfying way.

So I definitely still enjoy a good non-romance. However, all three of those books are rather dark and deep. I wonder if there's something to that? Perhaps I would not enjoy a light romp of a book without at least some kissing.

Lisa: I do have a story where there is just a really strong friendship between two of the three main characters. In fact, in the prequel it really looks like these two might get together. But they don't, and there is no love triangle. However, she ends up with someone else, so there is romance somewhere in there. Platonic love (on both thier parts), check. Romantic love, check again. How does that fit into your question, Karlie? :)
I do like many stories without romantic love. But it's also easy to tell when an author is skirting around what would've happened in real life. I can just about hear the puppet-master between the words: I will not have romance.
When it looks like it should happen, then it should happen. When it still doesn't happen, the author intrusion is apparent. But that doesn't mean that a romance-less book isn't realistic, nor does it mean that it wouldn't be good. Just let the characters tell the story; you butt out. 

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