Yes, I'm quoting my own words (and thank you, George for tweeting this). This weekend I was part of a panel with Shannon West and Hans M Hirschi on how authors get inspired.
This was an off-the-cuff remark but I've been thinking about it today. How many times have you heard people say anyone can write a romance? You may roll your eyes *here*. Mostly it's from people who have never tried to write a book in their lives and/or think romance is trashy.
But a romance is more than a tale of two people falling in love. An author can bring their characters into more than a one-dimensional relationship.
A romance isn't a meeting, a getting to know you, and a happy ever after... swinging from the chandeliers optional.
If the author has done their job then they've created characters with life experiences that affect the relationship. What was their childhood like? Were their parents loving, abusive? Did they come from a religious background? Was his/her family homophobic or accepting? What job do they do? Do they have a chronic illness?
Think about the relationships you have. Everything you've been through affect how you interact with people. Let me give you a simple example.
At five years old you get shut in a bathroom and can't get out. No one hears you knocking. You imagine being stuck in there forever. After that you can't bear to be shut in - anywhere. This affects your entire life.
Why would that be important in a romance? Can you imagine your character getting stuck in a lift (elevator) or being dragged into a closet for a quick hook-up? How would their new lover deal with them freaking out? Would they be patient or angry?
What job will your character do? I can bet he won't be a diver or a submariner. On the other hand I can see them being a shepherd.
Think about where your character came from in life, as well as where they are going. That will give you a much better handle on how your character reacts in a relationship.
Normally I don't flesh out my characters at first. They evolve organically. I think of something and then give him a reason. But now I want to spend more time thinking about who my character is and how he got there before I write the first word.
It's kind of exciting to be at the beginning of a new journey. I'll let you know how it goes,