The prompt for this month’s Teens Can Write, Too! blog chain is:
“What is something you feel is generally written well in fiction? What is something you feel is generally written poorly?”
I’m going to focus on something that I think is generally written poorly: People whose lives aren’t defined by romance.
I get it. We all love the attractive love interest. Being in love is beautiful. There’s nothing wrong with writing romance.
But I hate this idea we seem to have fallen into that our stories need it in order to be good.
Relationships can be meaningful without including sexual tension. Look at our day-to-day lives. How many of us have a boyfriend in high school versus how many of us have a best friend? And while, yes, even us eternally single people probably lust after someone once in a while, the people who are truly important in our lives are the ones who are consistently there, who we can tell anything to, who are with us through both the bad and the good: our friends.
There are so few stories in which the central relationships driving them aren’t romantic. Like the only ones I can think of off the top of my head are Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, and the Harry Potter series. (Noting that those all do still include romance. Romance just isn’t absolutely, 100% central to them.)
And you can’t tell me that non-romantic relationships can’t be entertaining or exciting or fulfilling. I banter with my roommates as often as I do with guys I’m interested in; while I didn’t have adventures in Amsterdam with Augustus Waters, over the summer I did with friends; and there’s something to be said for how fulfilling it is to put on a play, or go to a concert, or just drive through empty streets at two in the morning with falling snow sparkling beneath the street lights, singing at the tops of your lungs with people you really care about who really care about you.
I can’t speak for everyone’s teen experience, obviously, but friendship defined mine.
I’d love to see more stories that focus on relationships that aren’t romantic. Stories about our parents, our siblings, our neighbors, our classmates. Stories about the people who play the most integral roles in our lives.
Stories about you and me and how you can love someone without being in love.
And I think that’s something that’s beautiful, too.
Like this blog chain topic? Check out the rest of the posts throughout the month:
11th – http://kirabudge.weebly.com/
29th – https://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for next month’s chain.)