Friday, February 15, 2019

Be Our Valentine: Owl's Flower's Rules of Romance

So first off, a happy belated Valentine's Day to all our readers! If you missed it, check out the cute Herne and Iris drawn by Ginger specially for the holiday.

The holiday does bring up a topic that's very important to us, and one that Kara talked about at ODUCon last week: how we depict romance and couples. One of the reasons we started doing Owl's Flower in the first place is because we didn't like how couples are written in a lot of popular books and shows. Which isn't to say one should never see bad relationships, because those are stories in and of themselves. But we wanted to see what we felt was missing from romance, and paranormal romance specifically.

We have a few personal rules we follow concerning how we depict Herne and Iris in our books. Regular readers may already have a sense of what those are. But for new readers, or people just curious about what it is we do, here's a quick run-down of our personal rules:

Be careful with using miscommunication as conflict.

Obviously, miscommunication really does happen in the real world. A lot. And it does cause conflict. A lot. But when it comes to basic mistakes that would be out of character, you have to assume (unless your characters are super immature) that they would try to clear up the mistake before running out of the room sobbing and ending everything.

Miscommunication makes up a lot of the first Owl's Flower book, but this is before Herne or Iris know each other or have reason to put effort into talking things out. As a couple, it's far more important to show them working through things, understanding that a turn of phrase might be meant one way but come out another. Is that something that needs to be resolved? Yes. Broken up over? No way.

(Incidentally, as someone at the con pointed out, miscommunication for the sake of comedy? Heck yes.)

One partner is not fixing the other.

Both Herne and Iris have issues. We all do, some more than others. We knew when we created these characters, neither was going to be the "better" one that "fixes" the other. For one thing, it's no one's responsibility to "fix" anyone else. For another, we didn't want a relationship hierarchy where one character had to become "good enough" for the other.

Both of them have things to learn and get over from their own lives as they settle into this relationship. Some have been hinted at; others, you'll have to wait and see to find out.

Jealousy and clinginess aren't cute.

There's a song Kara avoids that came out in recent memory: "Jealous" by Nick Jonas. It's an okay bop, but the lyrics are a little... shmeh. Unfounded jealousy in a relationship being passed off as affection is kinda weird. If the jealousy is understandable... that's a whole other jar of bees.

We actually touch on this in our third book in progress—because, well, we wanted to. Jealousy is rough when you love your partner and have any sort of anxiety. But trust is powerful. And while none of us is perfect, and we might slip sometimes, we wanted to show a couple that cares about each other without getting territorial.

There are a lot more things we attempt to show in our work. Curious? Download our first book free, and if you like it, name your price for our second ebook!


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