28 February 2012

Friends to lovers trope

As a romance reader (watcher) one of my favorite tropes has to be that of friend to lover. Mr Knightly & Emma, Harry & Sally, Chandler & Monica...

For me, the relationships are always deeper because the people involved know so much more about each other. It also seems as if the relationships have a better chance of weathering the tests of time - after all their friendship has lasted through its own tests.  They are not just learning surface things about each other (they know those things already) they are learning to look below the surface. Finally, it seems more like love, and less like infatuation.

Being that it's one of my favorites, when I found this post & article I thought I'd share bits of them, maybe they can add some more reasons to like this trope :)

Beyond the book: Friend to lover trope by Taryn Kincade.

Emma! You want our friendship to remain the same as it has always been, but I cannot desire that.
Emma Knightley
But why? I know I make mistakes, but had you been here the last few days you would have seen how I have tried to change! Please tell me I am your friend.

I do not wish to call you my friend, because I hoped to call you something infinitely more dear.

The trope is as tried and true as the characters are to each other (at least until some annoying third wheel attempts to come between them and threaten a relationship as old and comfortable as a faded sweatshirt). They know they have each other's backs.  ... 

The conceit is particularly delicious for us, the reader or movie-goer, because we know something the hero and heroine don't:   that while they are confiding in each other as friends,   either bemoaning their lack of a sex life or dishing the deets of their relationship with someone else (someone obviously, hideously wrong) - they are absolutely, positively, awesomely right together.   We are rooting for them both. ...

One of the things that's so tantalizing and intriguing for us, the reader or viewer, about the "friends to lovers" premise is watching the way old friends go about discovering each other anew, in a more highly-charged way.   We, of course, feel a little smug and superior because we knew it all along! Don't you think that's true? We delight in watching our hero and heroine fall back on the comfortable and familiar, the things they were in "like" with all the time- even as that same crooked smile is suddenly worthy of   notice and sets them ablaze. ...

And from the comments:
"I love the friends to lovers thing, it’s about people seeing each other properly for the first tiem – out of the box they have consigned them too. I think that’s why I like boss and secretary type books too. It’s that sudden twist in a familiar relationship that changes everything."

"I think one aspect of why I like this trope so much is because the two friends already have a high degree of trust between them. So often in romance (and romantic suspense, which I really, really like) a fair bit of the novel has to show the building of trust. With friends-to-lovers the trust is there, and it presents a different challenge — not to betray the trust, but to add hope and (romantic) love and take the relationship somewhere new."

Friends who become lovers - The Telegraph
The reality is that when friends become lovers the shift in their emotions is usually gradual. In fact, it's so subtle they don't even notice it's happening until the moment a kindly hug becomes loaded with intention. Mo Kurimbokus, a relationship counsellor, says, 'Think of it like foreplay. All the time you're being friends, you're learning about each other. Subconsciously you're deciding whether you can take it further, from a friendship on to a more emotional and sexual level.'  ...

[from a real life example] Sophie and Simon have now been married seven years and have just had their first child, Maggie Mae. 'We are incredibly close,' says Sophie. 'I truly believe that because we were friends first our relationship has always functioned on a much deeper level, which is actually quite rare among couples. It's difficult for me to define why it switched focus that day of the wedding, but, looking back, I think Simon was starting to get under my skin. I'd go on dates with other men and find myself thinking about him, and once I joked that we should get together. I suppose I was testing the water to judge his reaction. Deep down I knew he already liked me when I made my move. We were sitting on the bed in his parents' spare room when he kissed me for the first time. If I'm honest it felt so familiar, and it wasn't a fire-in-the-stomach thing, but it made me very happy. All day I couldn't stop thinking what an amazing person this quiet man had become.'

If there's one thing the experts seem to agree on it's the healthy survival rates of many friend-to-lover relationships. Ray Pahl says, 'Friendship is often the basis for a deeper kind of love, one that tends to be more long-term.' While Kurimbokus adds, 'When you're friends first, there are so many qualities you're ticking off along the way. If it all adds up, then you've got a real fighting chance.'

21 February 2012

Book Reviews

As a writer I have a love/hate relationship with book reviews. If they love it, I love the review; if they don't... Of course, I'm not only a writer, I'm also a reader. As a reader, reviews can open my eyes to new books & new authors. This review opened my eyes in a most unexpected way...

Unsettling Echoes Of Josef K., March 2, 2010
If '1984' or 'The Trial' had been a children's book, Mr Messy would be it. No literary character has ever been so fully and categorically obliterated by the forces of social control. Hargreaves may well pay homage to Kafka and Orwell in this work, but he also goes beyond them.

We meet Mr Messy - a man whose entire day-to-day existence is the undiluted expression of his individuality. His very untidiness is a metaphor for his blissful and unselfconscious disregard for the Social Order. Yes, there are times when he himself is a victim of this individuality - as when he trips over a brush he has left on his garden path - but he goes through life with a smile on his face.

That is, until a chance meeting with Mr Neat and Mr Tidy - the archetypal men in suits. They set about a merciless programme of social engineering and indoctrination that we are left in no doubt is in flagrant violation of his free will. 'But I like being messy' he protests as they anonymize both his home and his person with their relentless cleaning activity, a symbolism thinly veiled.

This process is so thorough that by the end of it he is unrecognizable - a homogenized pink blob, no longer truly himself (that vibrant Pollock-like scribble of before). He smiles the smile of a brainwashed automaton, blandly accepting what he has been given no agency to question or refuse. It is in this very smile that the sheer horror of what we have seen to occur is at its most acute.

Somewhere behind this blank expression though is a latent anger - a trace of self-knowledge as to what he once was - in the barbed observation he makes to Neat and Tidy that they have even deprived him of his name.

The book ends with a dry reminder from Hargreaves that just as with the secret police in some totalitarian regime, our own small expressions of uniqueness and volition may also result in a visit from these sinister suited agents.

14 February 2012

Carnage & romance

Did a double take at the heading?
No, this is not a post about a horror-romance crossover novel, it's a fun little fun little comic strip about those who read paranormal romance, & heck, let's be honest a fair few romantic suspense novels as well. 

Not that I read carnage or smut, (clears throat), wait... I'm a paranormal romance writer with a massive collection of romantic suspense... (sigh)... okay, I'll admit to the carnage, but I deny the smut - high class all the way, baby.