Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

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lemuel
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Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#1 Post by lemuel » Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:59 pm

I have written a proposal (very long) for a story dealing with religion, conversions, and Romance (http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 16&t=15979).

I do have romantic actions and scenes planned, but given that I cannot understand romantic love as a concept due to my Aspergers (officially diagnosed), some things may seem a bit off.

Just because I do not understand romance does not mean that I am not interested in it! If Hollywood monstrosities that are called romance (and TWILIGHT) can be praised, surely I can try to present a model (or five) of romance.

Master Micius said: Now the wheelwright grasps his compass & uses it to measure the round & not-round in the world, saying, “What matches my compass, call it ‘round,’ what doesn't match my compass, call it ‘not-round.’” Thus round & not-round can both be known. What is the reason for this? It's that the model for “round” is clear. (Book 27, “Heaven's Intention”)

Certainly, love and wheels are different, but I, as a Mician, seek to find models for everything. The closest model for Romantic love that I am aware of is a close friendship combined with profound tenderness. Let the development of these two elements serve as an approximation of Romantic love in my stories. Is this suitable?

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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#2 Post by FatUnicornGames » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:15 pm

I wanted to ask you what being a Mician entails? I tried to look it up and didn't find much.
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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#3 Post by lemuel » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:42 pm

I have PMed an answer, but please let us try to remain on topic. Is it possible to write romances without understanding romantic love?

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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#4 Post by Arelune » Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:16 pm

I believe it is possible, though it will not be easy. It will require a lot of research of people who can feel it. Even if you cannot understand, knowing is important.
I have a bit of the same problem regarding lust. Never felt it, chances are I never will.

What do you define as romantic love?
Most times it is seen as a deep love, or in the early stages as being in love (there's a difference), with some lust involved. -Hence wanting to kiss the other etc.-

Even with a lot of research though, some people may still feel it is off. Better to keep some proofreaders for that.

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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#5 Post by lemuel » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:10 pm

To me, romantic love is a madness that consists in equal parts of the closest friendship and the tenderest parental affection, mixed with a frightening dash of obsession and irrationality. I base this on my only (horribly unsuccessful) experience of what I think was romantic love. Is this a good model?

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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#6 Post by AnthonyHJ » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:17 pm

lemuel wrote:The closest model for Romantic love that I am aware of is a close friendship combined with profound tenderness. Let the development of these two elements serve as an approximation of Romantic love in my stories. Is this suitable?
I could wax lyrical for many pages on the topic of love, but I suppose I should try to explain it straight.

Love starts with lust, a burning passion. It's a form of OCD, where the sufferer is constantly reminded of the source of their obsession and considers them at any and all opportunities, often leading them to mention this person in conversation or to consider how that person might react in a given situation or to a given stimulus. The 'lust' itself will often be in the form of sexual desire, but not always; the best model is that the person will want to be in the presence of the object of their obsession.

Separation from the object of their obsession at this point will lead to rising levels of anxiety. They will tend to fixate on the next arranged meeting, with any delay leading to symptoms similar to a nicotine addict; restlessness, sweating and even minor paranoia are not uncommon when the subject does not know why the object of their obsession is not available.

Slowly, this subsides and in the second stage, something of a transitional phase, the person will be able to focus on other topics for longer periods of time. They will experience sadness if they are forced to miss a meeting with the object of obsession, but will normally experience no truly psychotic symptoms. A letter (or telephone call / equivalent) can often be enough to act as a 'fix' in the manner of a drug.

The third stage of love is, as you mentioned, similar to a close friendship. I'm not sure 'tenderness' does the co-dependant relationship justice though. The desire to ensure the happiness of their partner will often be out of proportion to the potential suffering, so a person would accept twice the pain they are preventing given a chance. This is often the typical level of self-sacrifice for a subject's children, though this varies.

Of course, all of this is a little like explaining the Mandelbrot set in terms of the algorithm; knowing how to formulate it and experiencing it in the real world are two different things.
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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#7 Post by lemuel » Wed Jul 04, 2012 7:29 pm

Wow! Many thanks for the description. May I save it as a reference? It will help me very much.

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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#8 Post by ThisIsNoName » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:51 am

Here is a link to a world renowned expert on love explaining it from a scientific point of view. Interestingly, it's pretty much an exact reiteration of what AnthonyHJ just said. :lol:

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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#9 Post by AnthonyHJ » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:39 am

The theories are nothing new; I'd read studies on the similarities between the 'eros' stage of love, drug-addiction and OCD years ago. I think the TED talk (which can only be a better explanation than mine) is drawing from the same research and behavioural studies. (one note on the similarities between opiate addiction and eros; despite endorphins being opioid, there is no 'withdrawal' mechanism as there would be with other opiates, so it's not chemical withdrawal which causes heartache, just psychological distress)

As to using / referring to my post, go for it; that would be fine.
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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#10 Post by Dim Sum » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:13 pm

The answer is yes but disagree with the links mentioned.

There's a difference between "defining romance and using that to write a novel" and "lacking understanding romance and using that to write a novel without understanding it at all, not even by being given a definition."

Keyword is that: Romance novels is not romance.

I'd say ignore the TedTalk and watch this instead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-A8GvUehq4

NSFW btw but that's the point of romance novels. Getting Crap past the radar to the point that as a genre even the authors don't realize it, just go with the flow and sometimes what looks crappy ends up being the highest level of the genre's "addiction". Twilight is an example of this. It's a template that has enabled Shades of Gray because the template was high despite seeming cheap.

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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#11 Post by Luxtizer42 » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:35 pm

Writers successfully write interesting and compelling work about things they don't personally understand or have firsthand experience with all the time.

Tales of war and combat are frequently written by people who don't have any experience with the topics. For an even more extreme example, look at all the many successful works of fiction that focus on serial killers. To the best of my knowledge, none of those writers are sociopaths. Still, they study and write interesting and convincing stories without needing the firsthand experience.

I understand the desire to want to find a 'model' to have a framework to write from, but ultimately your story will benefit most from having you write something that seems personally interesting from you. Don't worry too much about whether your model is 'good' or not, focus on whether it makes a story you find interesting and compelling. Strict and total accuracy is a rare quality in good fiction, and not always a benefit to the story.

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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#12 Post by lemuel » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:01 pm

Many thanks, people, for your help.

as a Mician, I seek models for everything, though. Yet I have a model for writing about combat despite being unable to walk, so surely I can create a romance without being able to understand romantic love.

Tomorrow, I shall update my game proposal. My confidence has been boosted by your efforts.

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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#13 Post by Coren » Fri Jul 06, 2012 7:18 am

I'm also an Aspie, and I suppose I can understand to some extent how it feels. But mostly, I usually tend to write romance only sparingly and most of it tends to be based on what I've managed to gather and understand from things I've watched. I ship pairings like normal people do after all, and so I believe writing it is possible too.

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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#14 Post by OokamiKasumi » Fri Jul 06, 2012 2:32 pm

lemuel wrote:... I have a model for writing about combat despite being unable to walk, so surely I can create a romance without being able to understand romantic love.
There IS a model for Romance. It was created and codified by authors specifically for writing romances.
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Re: Writing about Romance while Lacking Understanding

#15 Post by AnthonyHJ » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:57 am

OokamiKasumi wrote:There IS a model for Romance. It was created and codified by authors specifically for writing romances.
-- The 12 Stages of Intimacy
"You are not authorised to read this forum."

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