Thursday, February 14, 2013

Space-Valentines for Nerds

I don't get romance novels. When I was seventeen I read a big stack of them to see if I could figure out why they're so popular. Nope, no clue. The whole plot is based on a fleeting emotion and the outcome is locked in from the beginning. The couple will end up together (they have to, or it's not a romance novel), probably after the hero has lost all his interesting qualities.

Which is precisely why I want to master the art of romance writing: I don't consider 'I don't get it' to be an acceptable excuse.

Sure, there are lots of things I don't get, and most of them don't bother me at all. I don't get pop music or obsessive materialism or pro wrestling or American football. But if I were a sportscaster I'd consider it my professional responsibility to watch games and study playbooks until I did get football. I'd go to sleep with my head full of those little X's and O's until I had it mastered.

But it's not so bad. Little by little I think I'm starting to get it. Maybe I'll never write the traditional kind of romance, and that's okay, because there are lots of options with subgenres and crossovers.

And as hard as it is to swallow my 'I'm-above-all-that-mushy-stuff' pride and admit this, there's plenty of romance coming up in the science-fiction novel I'm writing.

Thanks to Paramount
It gets worse. I have a dirty little secret. In spite of all the times people accuse me of belonging to the emotion-suppressing Vulcan race because of my logical approach to problem-solving, in spite of the fact that I consider television kissing scenes to be opportunities to leave the room without missing anything, in spite of the fact that the latest Hollywood hottie usually doesn't even register on my attraction meter at all, I have a thing for Cardassian men.

That's right, I go all bat-the-eyelashes over some guys who 1. don't exist, 2. have scales on their faces, and 3. with rare exceptions would make terrible partners. (It's the strong necks, great posture, impeccable manners, intelligence and courage.)

I'll never get the chance to act on this myself, of course, but fortunately I'm a writer. I just have to create an avatar (ahem, character) and have my raging Cardassian love affair vicariously. It's a little less risky that way, too.

Okay, that isn't what the book's about. It's a science fiction novel, a tribute to Gene Roddenberry, a space adventure complete with battles and political intrigue. But with its human female protagonist surrounded by Cardassian men, it's also the perfect excuse to have a little fun indulging my weakness - I mean, furthering my professional education.

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