Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Romantic Subplots

This week I'm talking about story structure and some of the different elements to how a story is crafted.

Today I'm discussing romantic subplots. I love romantic subplots. Even when there's no prominent romantic plotline, I'll be looking for ways to pair characters together.

The thing is, it drives me crazy when a romantic subplot suggests that certain behaviour is a positive thing when in fact it's really unhealthy in a relationship. Things like where a girl has a brief encounter with another guy and decides never to tell her boyfriend. Or a man who treats his wife badly and, rather than being made to answer for his behaviour, is instantly forgiven with one nice gesture. I'm a big believer in truth and honesty in relationships. A couple doesn't have to share every intricate detail of their day every evening, but no-one should ever feel that they can't tell their partner something, and they should realise that their partner deserves to know about things that have an important effect on them.

I realise that not every story can afford the time to detail every argument and reconciliation in a relationship, and not every relationship in fiction is going to be a positive and healthy one. What worries me is when the author seems to be suggesting that clearly unhealthy behaviour is something to aspire to. This is especially worrying in fiction aimed at teenagers.

I believe quality romantic plotlines can show the consequences of unhealthy behaviour, and the rewards of a strong relationship.

What do you think? Are there any romantic plots that have driven you mad? What about them got your hackles up? Are there any love stories you think stand out as great examples of how to write a romance?