A Fine Romance
So I’m feeling good about “Less Than.” The action is really moving now and I have in my head, and in outline, most of what I need to finish. The problem I’m having now is how to conclude the relationship between Caroline and Nick.
I am the very last person who is going to go all poochie-woochie with the romance bits. After all, it was having to write that stuff that drove me to quit writing “gay novels” in the first place – I was starting to die a little inside, thinking that I would be “that guy,” the one whose books all had two semi-naked guys on the cover, with jacket copy that called the work “a heartfelt valentine.” Gag me with a spoon!
I suppose there’s a possibility here for “New Romance,” the sea change from the old classic romance trope of the passive, perfect, patient heroine and the troubled, magnificent bastard of a hero. These days it’s possible for two broken people to find each other, even in a show like “Downton Abbey,” which you would expect would be the confirmer and upholder of classical romance. But instead, **SPOILERS** the heroine is the one with the Dark Past rather than the hero (who is given desultory pangs of guilt over his conveniently dead fiancée but who forgives the heroine her trespasses). I usually roll my eyes at the romance bits in these stories, but I was really rooting for them to finally get their shit together, no matter how many preposterous plot turns that might require. They deserved to be happy, after all they’d been through (war, death, scandal, the usual epic family fiction stufff), whereas in many romances “all they’ve been through” consists mainly of having sighed mournfully and stared out windows, with a mildly troubling event that calls on him to Be A Better Man and Reveal His True Nature and roll the romance along to its happy end.
Screw that. Nick and Caroline are not going to ride off into the sunset together forever. But neither are they going to ride away separately. So I suppose it’ll be a letdown to readers if I don’t have them getting married at the end, or at least confirmed in total couplehood, but that more than anything would be untrue to the spirit of the story, of my lonely broken characters and their difficulty in connecting with other real people. As has been the case these four years (as of tomorrow, this blog and book are four years old), it’s the emotional bits that are slowing me down, but I’m determined not to let them stop me now. Time is of the essence! Others are writing AI novels! AI is progressing towards a more Alexian state! I am really truly starting a (different) job on Monday! This needs to be done right, but also to be done soon.