HELL YEAH, I’ve decided! It is SO ‘REAL’ and not in the least FRIVOLOUS OR TIME WASTING’.
From the 18th – 20th August, 2017, I attended the Romance Writers of NZ annual conference. This year it was held at the Novotel in Rotorua (which is also one of the ‘most travelled to’ tourist meccas in our gorgeous NZ). Top location! http://www.rotoruanz.com/
All the conference speakers were warm, and generous of spirit. Their words & workshop wisdom flowed effortlessly. Of course by the end of 3 full-on days my brain was a bit ‘fried’. But what needed to stick with me – has done – or I believe it will be there (in the dark recesses of my grey matter), when I need it, in the days to come. And then there is always my crazily scrawled notes for further jogging of the memory.
One speaker, Christie Craig or C.C. Hunter (CC publishes under both names) gave us the perfect example of how ‘romance is very real’ indeed; her telling of ‘why IT is so’ had many of us choked-up with ‘real’ emotion by the end of her tale, myself included.
Christie was out at a social function and chit-chatting with folks, as you do; one gentleman asked her, “So, when are you gonna write a ‘real’ story instead of this romance stuff?”
This is my edited version of what she told him…
“Honey, let me tell you about romance and just how ‘real‘ it is…Do you remember when you were in kindergarten, your first day and you were about 3 or 4 years old, you saw that cute little girl sitting on the swing set, and you liked her right away cos she smiled at you… Do you remember that? And then when you got to middle grade, you got to hold hands with the girl you’d been swooning over for almost the entire year… Then when you got a bit older, you kissed a girl for the first time – you must remember how that felt, right? Your heart was beating so hard you thought it was gonna pop right outta your chest… and right about then other things were popping up and wanting to be noticed too… Then you meet a girl that let you go to ‘first base and later on…even further’… Then you meet the girl you wanted to marry, the one that made your heart beat so fast and hard you knew that if you didn’t wake next to her every day for the rest of your life you were gonna just die… And you married her, honey! She was the one for you. You knew it the first moment you set eyes on her! You got a house and mortgage together. She helped you start your business and ran the accounts and kept the house and the garden… Then along came the babies. You had four of em! You watched her give birth to those babies and your eyes watered with the pain she went thru, but she didn’t moan or complain… no she’d smiled right at you every single time while she clutched that new baby to her breast and told you how much she loved you! You got those children through their upbringing, schooling, and university, and then you saw them married too. You two made a whole life and a family together…But now you’re both old and the kids have made you grandparents…maybe even great-grandparents…you know your time together is running out…she might be sick… or you might be… And one of you is likely gonna die before the other one… and you’re gonna be so lost without each other… NOW, YOU TELL ME HOW DOES IT GET ANY MORE ‘REAL’ THAN THAT, HONEY?”
C.C. has a way with words. As she told the entire conference her tale we were laughing and almost crying by the end of it. She’d painted such a vivid picture of why we read and write these stories; for me it validated the last 21 years I’ve been a member of RWNZ; it’s an incredible organisation where I’ve made lifelong friendships. And romance is at the core of those relationships. Romance is definitely what makes the world go round. The only thing that matters in this life is the journey and how well you’ve lived and loved.
Romantic fiction (including all the sub-genres) is still the most popular fiction purchase for readers, sales are up, stats presented to us at the conference were irrefutable. The manner in which we now choose to read may have changed; digital reading is soaring. It’s cheaper. It’s more compact. It’s so damn portable. And story writing of all genre styles is far from dead. Before you get the movie you have to have a story, before you have a song you have a story…
Everything starts with a STORY! And the more emotion and conflict you can pack into ‘a story’ the better. Whether it’s told thru the written word, portrayed up on the big screen or sung to you, nearly always there is romance or a relationship at it’s heart…
AND IT’S AS FAR FROM FRIVOLOUS AS IT GETS. When there is turmoil and unsettled behaviour around you, negativity, and pain… to escape into ‘a story’ however it is being told (written, sung, visual) is often your best chance of recovery… and it reminds you to have hope. It reminds you to make friends. It reminds you to continue to try and find love. And it reminds you to continue to live!