Monday, May 4, 2009

Must there be romance?

... Continuing with my intent to post Malice Domestic tidbits this week, here's an interesting one from author Kate Collins from the panel "Wine, Flowers and Murder: The Role Romance Plays in Mysteries" (paraphrased ... so I hope I've got the essence of it here):
"You can't build a normal well-rounded character without romance."

At first, I thought, hold on there ... you can't? But then, I started thinking about it. Perhaps the operative words here are normal and well-rounded. There are certainly plenty of damaged, loner-type characters wandering through crime fiction that seem unable to form romantic attachments.

In most mystery series that I can think of (cozy series in particular), romance creeps in sooner or later, to add tension, interest, character development.

So, what do you think? Can you have a normal, well-rounded character without romance? Do you like romance in the mysteries you read?


Dr.Mani said...

My daughter asked, about my fiction novel, "Will it be 'Adult' rated?" And that made me think about how I'll weave 'romance' into my story, which is essentially an action thriller.

You're right - it's hard to round out a character without that essential emotion, though one can handle it differently for various genres, I guess.

All success
Author: "Think, Write & RETIRE!"

Enid Wilson said...

I love romance! And of course the crime of passion can be most brutal so I think romance and murder goes well.

Fantasy stories by Enid

Anonymous said...

Sure you can - just not a human being! LOL

Or maybe a monk. :)

Good post, and I seriously think romance IS integral to any normal character's development. Doesn't have to be a successful romance, some people are losers in that area and that can make for good writing also.

Gayle Carline said...

Normal, well-rounded people have healthy relationships with others. In theory, it doesn't have to be a romance, but in practice, we all desire THAT person in our lives. So, yes, maybe there does have to be romance sometimes.


Karen Walker said...

I do enjoy the romance aspect in fiction. And I agree with the others that a rounded character will have emotional aspects, whatever you choose those to be. What constitutes normal? Not sure that really exists.
Karen Walker

Elle Parker said...

I guess for me the question is not so much can you build a well rounded character without romance, but how much of that romance do you really need to show?

I don't think it takes very much.

Elle Parker

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I think an element of romance in mystery novels can help draw readers in, but I think it's best done when it's just an attraction that isn't acted on. Readers can be satisfied with the slow progression of the romance.


Patricia Stoltey said...

I love a little romance mixed in with the action in the thrillers or mysteries I read. What I don't like are long graphic sex scenes that pull me out of the story. But I'm the same way with movies and TV shows. Maybe I'm just getting old.


Julie Lomoe said...

For me, romance is secondary - I like mysteries both with and without. In my own novels, the protagonists have romantic interests but nothing gets consummated. Sex scenes aren't my strong point!

Evidently Sue Grafton feels the same way. At the Mystery Writers of America symposium last week, someone asked her if Kinsey Millhone will ever have a serious relationship, she said absolutely not - sex, yes, but a relationship would interfere with the action.