04. All is Fair in Love and War

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When trying to come up with two characters for a romantic relationship in a story, one I always find that their characters should not be too similar, but that they should share some basic underlying values.

For example, Lilly and Mr Ambrose from "Storm and Silence" may differ in their verbosity, their attitude to spending money and many other points that cause them to butt heads, but they both share a strong desire to be successful and self-reliant. That leads to mutual respect, and which in my opinion is the most important basis for a stable romantic relationship, even a fictional one.

Similarly, Reuben and Ayla from my "Robber Knight" series, may differ wildly in their attitude to religion and their use of profanity, but when it comes to fighting for the people they care about, they show the same kind of determination.

Of course, that is probably not the only way to set up a fictional romantic couple.

May I ask what is your favorite romantic couple (ones from my own stories excluded ;-) and why?

What would be your favorite romantic couples if you had to choose just from fantasy novels, and why?

Also, is there some romantic combination of characters that you would love to see, but haven't yet come across in any existing book?

I've done quite a bit of research into romantic couples, and discovered some quite interesting changes in what's considered an interesting romantic couple. While nowadays, powerful, rich or dangerous heroes seem to have an edge, that wasn't always the case. A few centuries ago, when ladies were (often against their own will) married off to powerful and rich people on a daily basis, many romance novels were written about young ladies from noble families running away with penniless young lovers to avoid marriage to rich and powerful men. In other ages, ideas of romance were still more different.

Do you think I should let myself be inspired by such earlier concepts of romance? Would they make for interesting stories?

Incidentally, these old kind of romances wherein young lovers run away from rich potential husbands / wives are satirized in one of Jane's Austen's earliest works, her epistolary novel "Love and Friendship", in case you'd like to expand your romantic horizons ;)

As regards contemporary types of romance, I've done some research into modern stereotypes as well. I've discovered that certain stereotypical types of romance are very popular. Not that I'm planning to include a billionaire or a rockstar in a fantasy novel, but I'd love to know what is the underlying reason for their popularity, so I can transfer this (at least in part) to a hero I would create within a fantasy world. What, do you think, makes romances involving these sorts of heroes so popular:

Highlanders

Billionaires

Bad boys / gangsters

Rockstars

older brothers' best friends

stepbrothers

Can you think of any other types of romance that are really popular, and tell me the reason why, so I can extend my research?

Last but not least, a question that is rather unique to fantasy novels – what do you think of romances involving inter-species relations? This could be anything from elve/human over unicorn/dragon to dwarf/giant?

Though kissing scenes for the last one might be a bit difficult to manage... ;-)

I very much look forward to your replies. Your fabulous feedback has already helped me quite a bit! I've made a list with all the different myths and stories you have suggested and am busily researching, and soon I'll do the same way for your geographical and political suggestions!

Yours Truly

Sir Rob

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