Sunday, April 22, 2012

Romancing an Era

I read something a few weeks ago.

I hear this from the critics of romance. And it makes me a little nervous about writing in certain genres. One, my time travel to WW2 and two, my contemporary military romance. I've heard people say it's too soon after WW2 to romanticize the events. If that's true, I'm in big trouble! 

There's always two sides to the story. Even today. When so many men are leaving their homes and some of those men are not returning, can we write the happy stories without feeling bad for the people living the unhappy ones, feeling as if we're betraying their sacrifice? That's what I wonder. Wanting to appeal to a certain audience is very different than actually appealing to them. Something tells me that the people who read military romance are not the people living military romance. I'm my own example! You ever hear of that show, Army Wives? I can't watch it.

Way. Too. Much. Drama.

On the other hand, I know Army wives who watch it...

So, maybe it's a crap shoot after all.

Captain Woolridge was right. War. It is what it is. But war is part of a bigger picture. Sometimes, life can be put into a different perspective. One a tad more hopeful. The end of WW2 is more than 60 years ago. Keeping the memory alive isn't about battles and dates and strategy, at least, not to a romantic. It's about the people and telling stories--partials, truths, even lies. That way we remember WHY we fought.

Guess that means I'll just have to put my stories down after all, even if they make people roll their eyes.


  1. War is a horrible thing, but in this world it's often a necessary thing. Our husbands chose to defend our country, and at the moment that puts them in harm's way, or the possibility of being in harm's way. This is the profession they have chosen, and we as military wives have chosen to support them.

    I know for our family and our marriage, we are so much more grateful and *romantic* than we would have been without 3 major deployments, and countless exercises. It hasn't been easy, but coming through them together has made us much, much stronger! We know that life is short and make the most of our time together. We appreciate our blessings, including each other! So yes, there IS romance in war too!!! And I've got the love letters to prove it! HOOAH!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jeannie. And for commenting, too. :D I do, on the bottom line, side with you about romance. Maybe the difference is romance during war times vs. romanticizing war. Oooh. A blog title! LOL :D Have a great week!

  2. Guess that means I'll just have to put my stories down after all, even if they make people roll their eyes.

    One bad thing about the Internet - everyone gets to be a critic. Even those that:
    1. Have no expertise to criticize
    2. Have never actually done anything worthwhile
    3. Have nothing better to do than make themselves look important by ridiculing other's work

    There will always be someone out there telling you you're not doing the right thing, not doing it very well, not good enough, just wasting people's time, etc., etc.

    If you listen to them, you'll never do anything. Pretty much like them.

    We just need to keep writing. Or drawing, or painting, or singing.

    And if we ever need one, we have the harshest critic of all, standing by any time we need them - ourselves.

  3. I don't know of anyone who would "romanticize" war. Setting a story - no matter what genre - during a war period isn't romanticizing war; it's about the romance of two people living the war. Many people enjoy books set during WWII, same as they do the Civil War or the Napoleanic Wars. It's about the people and the journey, and how the time they live in shapes who they are.

    Three books I've read in recent years and loved that took place during WWII are Dream When You're Feeling Blue by Elizabeth Berg (women's fiction), Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (this had a sweet romantic element to it), and The Guernsey Litterary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer (This also had a romantic element to it, and I stayed up all night trying to finish it).

    As the saying goes: It's all in the execution.

  4. I am not an expert, but one thing I know for sure is that you have to write what YOU have to write. All stories are about human experience, and romance is part of that experience and so is war. So write about it :)

  5. War is a setting, an even taking place in the middle and around people's lives. People don't stop loving because we are at war. And depending on the situation, it can reignite romance between lovers or kill it all together. (I've witnessed both)

    Like Heather said, it's not about romanticizing the war itself. It's about the lives of the people living in that time and place. And surely there can be romance. It gives hope in desperate times. But that's just my two cents.


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