I am an avid reader of “O” magazine, and I always start by flipping to the back page to read the “What I Know for sure” page. I enjoy these tidbits of O wisdom but lately I’ve been wondering about: What I don’t know for sure.
As a writer, I love to research topics to add layers and authenticity to stories. I love to discover what I don’t know for sure. When I read fiction, I constantly evaluate the motives and emotions of the characters. And lately, I’ve been doing this with a keen eye toward the reader. What does the reader think of this hero? Can the reader relate to this character? Does the reader feel the ‘right’ emotional bond to the heroine? If not, why? If so, why?
For me, great storytelling is that all-inclusive roller coaster ride that leaves us breathless when the story slowly glides to a stop. We disembark with a pounding heart, shaking limbs, satisfying smile, and a need to go one more time. But the ride would not be as exhilarating without two notable passengers known as Romance and Angst.
The Wiktionary defines Romance as:
a) An intimate relationship between two people: love affair.
b) Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love:
c) A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful
Merriam Webster defines Angst as:
a) A feeling of anxiety or apprehension.
b) A strong feeling of being worried or nervous.
c) A feeling of anxiety about your life or situation
Urban Dictionary mashes them together for: Romangst
1) When fictional characters of any medium face dilemmas of the romantic variety (ie. forbidden love, unrequited love, etc).
2) Characters make a shitstorm out of romance issues/non-issues . . .
This is pretty accurate if you think about it. I also like the way the Lovely Killbots, a Canadian, post-indie-rock band, put it in their song “Romangst” released in May of 2011.
“We feel like fools . . . don’t worry, it’s not me it’s you . . .”
It’s never, not complicated but that’s what makes it hurt so good. Romangst is life only better or worse, depending. What I don’t know for sure but wonder about is why we are drawn to dark themes and emotional turmoil that shatters our hearts or brings our rage to the surface.
And always—the characters! The emotional investment we give characters can be a powerful and lasting thing, going back to the days of Romeo and Juliet. Talk about Romangst! And what about Heathcliff and Catherine? Scarlett and Rhett?
How many times have we debated their emotional journeys over the years?
Two of my personal favorite Romangst characters are Whitney and Clayton from “Whitney, My Love” by the incomparable Judith McNaught. If you haven’t read it, do so! More recently: Henry and Clare from “Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger.
And now I am wondering; who are the current Romangst characters that have everybody talking? Are they dark? Tormented? Abused? Scarred? Unlovable? Or did they face insurmountable obstacles with grace and courage? Did they defy the odds when facing the fait accompli?
Let me know who your favorites are! And why? What makes you love the imperfect heroine? What makes you forgive the asshole/hero. Or can we now say the asshero in our Romangst?
About the Author:
Lori Adams is the author of the Soulkeepers series: Forbidden and the upcoming Awaken and Unforgiven. She wrote her first book—about scary sharks—at the age of eight. Now she writes New Adult, young adult, and middle-grade fiction. Originally from Oklahoma, Adams lives in Southern California with her husband and two daughters.
About her book:
Lori Adams gives New Adult a haunting paranormal twist with the first novel of The Soulkeepers, a series that blends ancient legends and new myths with an enchanting mix of thrills, humor, and high drama.
When Sophia St. James learns that she’ll be moving from Los Angeles to a podunk town somewhere in Connecticut for her senior year of high school, she isn’t expecting an otherworldly encounter. But there is more to Haven Hurst than meets the eye: it’s home to a family of Guardian Angels, and she is the only one who can see them in spirit form. Sophia soon realizes she wants to see much more of Michael, an irresistible yet volatile Guardian who seems drawn to her too.
As Michael battles his forbidden desire for the beautiful young newcomer, one of Hell’s most notorious Demon Knights arrives. Handsome and charismatic, Dante has come to claim the reincarnated soul of his lost lover trapped in Sophia. Cursed with the demon of Persuasion living inside him, Dante will use his seductive charms to lure Sophia into a dangerous game that ends with the kiss of death—unless Michael, who has captured Sophia’s heart, can now capture her soul.
Buy her book here