Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | February 23, 2014

For The Reading Impaired: Romance Does Not Include Action!

jessie_vs__izzy_action_scene_by_aeolus06-d56z35fI’ll tell you something else: When it comes down to writing a romance novel, having fight scenes, death scenes, and action scenes (where your characters are beating each other senseless) isn’t what I would consider an equitable trade.

But some of you out there feel cheated that my Codename: Velocity novel didn’t have any more brutal fight scenes, missions with the alien Hoard, or basically having my characters whomp the shit out of each at the drop of a hat.

Instead–from your disappointing comments–you chose instead to attack the book because there was too much romance and too much sex involved that literally had you bored out of your minds.

Sorry to say, but I don’t control the fate or overall destiny of my novels one way or another–once things start getting going.

In the beginning of the book, I thought, “Action/adventure. A mission down to the Southlands. Some really kick ass action scenes.”

That’s what I thought at first. I really did.

Because I’ll be honest with you all, Codename: Velocity was supposed to have been only one book. One!

Then as I started writing the novel and getting really into it–isn’t chronic depression grand?–the overall symmetry of the fantasy novel started to…change.

Little bit by little bit. The relationship factor between Velocity and Jaen started to make itself known. The problems and conflicts of trying to start a teenage romance with an older man. Then there was Mari who had designs of her own on her partner and that started the wheels spinning in my mind: What could possibly else change the book’s premise than three people vying for the same thing?

So–naturally–I started “investigating” these elements in more detail–I started to write more and more conflict into the story line: How Velocity’s aborted attempt at romance with her Controller left her feeling out of place, confused, and groping for answers. I really wanted to focus on that for a bit.

Because as much as most teen writers believe that everything has an HEA attached to it, this novel of mine wouldn’t. At least not in the conventional sense.

So the challenges–for me–started to mount up a bit. What was Velocity’s true goal–if she couldn’t have what her heart desired? How was she going to accomplish her agenda when faced with such mounting adversity?

Some of you out there believe that romance should have action because you’re just too impatient to accept a novel that focuses so much more on the characters and their feelings–that all else is secondary in nature. It doesn’t matter.

You want instant gratification. You want pure pleasure in knowing what the author will give you, will deliver on that front.

But with me, I deny you those prizes. I don’t give you want you want. My books aren’t written so that everything wraps up in a single novel and pushes you on your merry little way. In the case of Codename: Velocity, I had to split the book up into six novels.

After 166,000 words, I had to end the book at some point. I couldn’t see myself going on much longer without endangering the whole entire novel. Plus, there is this little matter of what Amazon’s cut off point for large novels in print: Is 642 pages too large?

I just don’t know.

So I had to deny everyone who read the novel their prize. There are no fights with the Hoard in the first book, okay? There is no more fights with Velocity’s rival because I didn’t want to drag it out any further. I needed for the two of them to have closure. But above all, I was still committed to drawing out the relationships between my three main characters.

So in light of this, there is no more action. No more meat for the readers to glom onto. And for that, I have no apologies. The book wrote itself towards the end.

There was nothing that I could do. And thinking back to the novel’s overall creation, I don’t think I did a terrible job at writing it–being my first romance novel in a strictly fantasy setting. But some of you believe it should’ve contained more of one thing than the other: More action, less romance, and far less sex. (You seem to be bothered by the latter–judging from your comments.)

But I’m here to tell you: Writing a novel is all about balance. In romance, you’re focused primarily on relationships, love, sex, and everything in between–including the pratfalls of your said relationships. I may not be a big fan of romance novels myself, but I know enough of them to realize that action and suspense is not part of the equation.

It’s mostly about bonding, intimacy, trust, and love.

Perhaps it’s my approach that has turned you off to the novel to a set degree. I know that you were expecting more–especially with all the talk of the Southlands, the Hoard, and the characters’s chaffing at not being put on any missions–but you know what? That’s what draws in readers–not drive them away.

When you create circumstances where not everything is properly explained and the book just doesn’t have all the classic hallmarks of a well-written action-themed novel, there’s bound to be some dissent within the ranks.

In regards to what you want, what you desire, it will all come in due time. The series is just getting started. But it was important for me to establish the characters in their natural settings. Unlike the first draft–where I rushed things–this book set the tone for what’s to come for everyone involved.

We know that there is an upcoming mission being spearheaded. We know that there will be inevitable battles with the Hoard. We know that there will be plenty of action coming up, but until then, you will all have to suffer for a bit and cool your jets.

Writing a series is all about planning–whether or not it’s romance, sci-fi, fantasy, or horror. You have to plan.

So for the first book–this book–the focus will forever be on the struggles inherent to relationships, love, sex, and intimacy. There’s not a whole lot of action, there’s nothing to grab the reader’s attention in the way you wish it to be, it is simply a journey of self-discovery and personal exploration.

So if that bores you to tears, then you’re reading the wrong book.

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