1. TheoremAlpha
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    TheoremAlpha Member

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    Can You Read/Write Novels With No Romantic Themes?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by TheoremAlpha, Jan 26, 2016.

    Because I can't.
    It seems that I find a novel that lacks some kind of romantic aspect is rather bland, and I also find it exceptionally hard to write something that doesn't have at least a bit of romance in it.

    I'm trying to write a project by which there is none, because I always tend to get to caught up in the romantic aspects and forget to focus on other characters' relationships, and want a good practice at it.

    So to those who have read something amazing that contained no romance, do fling it my way as I want to have a good example. Any Genre but fantasy (Magic, swords, dragons, ect,) will do.

    And if you have any advice and have written something entirely platonic, do share advice if you have any :D.
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    You're right. It's very hard to think of examples.

    Perfume - Patrick Suskind.
    Silence of the Lambs. Arguable, considering what later happens between Clarice and Dr Lecter, but in that book there's no overt romance as far as I can recall.
    The Martian - Andy Weir. I actually thought it would have been vastly improved if the protagonist had had a partner waiting for him back at earth, but he doesn't. There is a paragraph or two devoted to two side characters (with hardly any screen time) getting together, but literally a few hundred words.
    The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks.

    I think the lack of books without at least SOME romantic element is proof that it's not a bad thing to include in any genre. Almost every human being can relate to the desire to be loved and find a partner.
     
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  3. Gawler
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    Gawler Contributing Member

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    The classics have plenty of examples of stories without romance or minimal romance.

    Kidnapped, Frankenstein, Moby Dick, Call of the Wild, Oliver Twist and The Jungle Book.

    For more recent books try The Day of the Jackal, The Exorcist or I Legend.
     
  4. TheoremAlpha
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    TheoremAlpha Member

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    I've read the martian, and just saw the movie a few days ago. Absolutely fantastic story, and oddly enough, someone did an analysis, and proved that it was 100% plausible for something like that to happen as long as the protagonist didn't starve before real plant production. Pretty cool video by Film Theory on Youtube.

    But I'll definitely look up the others.

    I'm not saying romance is a bad thing. I do love it, and by the time I finish a novel it will definitely have heavy romantic themes. The issue is that I forget to flesh out the more secondary relationships, and want a more diverse set of secondary characters as well. So it's just practice really :D.

    Thank you.
     
  5. TheoremAlpha
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    TheoremAlpha Member

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    Might have to actually go expand my knowledge on the classics. Just got done with Lolita and A Canticle for Liebowitz. Both fantastic books.
     
  6. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    I started writing when I was about nine or ten, and in my eight years of writing, I have only written two stories that had a romance in it, and then it was only a sub-plot. I'm not really sure what turns me off about it, but it's just something that I never thought was necessary. from a girl's point of view, I actually prefer it when my main literary crush is single; it helps me feel like he's attainable somehow *shrug* Maybe it's something I need to work on.
     
  7. TheoremAlpha
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    TheoremAlpha Member

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    Not exactly, romance doesn't have to be absolutely needed. It just makes sense that most novels have it, because we're all human and after love and like to read about it and feel it vicariously.
     
  8. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    so, you say that you find stories without romance unreadable; do you think that it's a part of a necessary reading experience? or that maybe without it, the story loses spark? (at risk of sounding offended; this is totally friendly dialogue here :) )
     
  9. BoddaGetta
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    BoddaGetta Active Member

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    There are plenty of interesting people in history that never had a partner or was really romantic with anyone. Sir Issac Newton is one of the first that comes to my mind.

    Many of my favorite books don't have an ounce of romance whatsoever [Roadside Picnic, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Road].

    Those all do have a parent-child relationship in them at some point, so maybe unconsciously that's the kind of relationship I prefer to read?

    You are right that connections between individuals are vital to pretty much any novel. Our social existence is defined by the different relationships we have with each other.
     
  10. Electralight
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    It is very rare to find a book (or movie, ect) without some romance as at least a sub-plot. It definitely gives readers something to root for and look forward too. However, I have read a few books with little to no romance in them, and though they are not my favorite, they were pretty interesting.
     
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  11. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    The Martian Chronicles doesn't have any romance (unless you count the way Bradbury has you fall in love with his fictional vision of the red planet). :p

    Bios of a Space Tyrant Vol. 1 is more of a brother/sister relationship, but not in a creepy or gross way.

    The Books of Blood books by Barker don't have any romance (unless you have a fetish for Horror shorts) :p

    And of course everybody knows that there is absolutely no romance in anything claiming to be in the genre Romance. I mean really who are they fooling with all those gooey gushing pages filled with lovey dovey, doe-eyed malarkey? :superlaugh:
     
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  12. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    So the two most recent sci-fi novels I read had pretty much no romantic subplot. One was "The Three Body Problem" by Cixin Liu - which is pretty dense, techy SF, but it wasn't that long and it was engaging because it was told in two timelines and had a a bunch of different subplots. Plus there were some interesting non-Romantic relationships - one of the main characters became gradually more isolated from the world and the people around her, and there was a "bromance" of sorts between two of the male characters. I also just finished John Scalzi's "Redshirts" which is a Star Trek spoof that won the Hugo Award a few years back - I thought they were sentting up a Romantic subplot but they didn't go there and it was fine. That one I gave to my mom who doesn't really do sci fi and has a really short attention span - and she loved it so much she bought another Scalzi book.
     
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  13. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    A story can be written without romance, but considering how everyone seem to want more "human," "relatable," and "realistic" characters, you can only ask yourself how many people do you know have no shred of romance or even the desire for romance in their life? It is seldom.

    When people interact, it is hard to avoid such feelings. As the saying goes, stay with someone long enough and you tend to develop feelings for them (or try to kill them).
     
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  14. shlunka
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    shlunka Member

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    My main characters are usually too socially crippled and obsessed to have a romantic partner.
     
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  15. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Yes, I'm writing a Romance book as my main project, and I have to tell you, it's bullshit. It's all bullshit!! (Romance is a lie, all people are selfish, everything will return to nothingness, there is no hope, where is your god now?!!)
     
  16. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Reservoir Dogs
    Mad Max (All of them)
    The Revenant
    9
    Pretty much every Star Trek
    2001
    Seven Samurai
    Neverwhere

    I'll think of more in a bit.
     
  17. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    Star Trek has the weird shoehorned Uhura/Spock (the modern one), Max has a wife in the very first movie. other than that idk, except for the fact that 9 was a really fun movie
     
  18. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    I forgot about the first Mad Max movie. As everyone should.
    Inside out
    Coraline (the book, not the movie)
    Monsters Inc and Monster U
    Gravity
    Alien and Aliens
    Terminator 2
    Predator
    Fargo (?)
    The Big Lebowski
    The Shawshank Redemption


     
  19. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Philistine.
     
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  20. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Fargo has a guy who is married. Shawshank Redemption had a backstory involving romance. Inside Out apparently has a date somewhere. Romance is a normal part of human experience. Even if you don't have it as a theme, romance usually pops up in some scene or referenced for some character. It's very rare for it to be completely excluded.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
  21. Anaïs Rose
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    Anaïs Rose Member

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    Monsters Inc has the Mike Wazowski/Celia relationship
     
  22. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Those are relationships. Not romance.
     
  23. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    That said,
    I suppose it does depend how you define romance in literature. If you consider it to be the genre or elements of the genre romance, then yes, merely depict a romantic relationship does not make it romantic. It has to follow some build-up or strengthening of the bond, the bond has to be affected by the plot.
     
  24. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    I think treating relationships like romance in novels is akin to saying that a novel is violent because there are characters who have been hurt in the past.

    Depiction of the process is fundamentally different to depiction of the finished product.
     
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  25. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes--are we saying, "there are non-platonic couples in this book" or are we saying that the book has an active developing romance between characters of some significance?
     

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