Believe me, love, when I say
Everything I feel for you is real.
My life changed after you came into it.
You’re the only one for me.
Virtually every moment of my life has
Always been leading me to you.
Love as strong as this was inevitable
Ever since the moment we met.
Now I know the meaning of
True love and all the happiness it brings.
I adore you from the bottom of my heart.
Never doubt my devotion, love;
Every last bit of my heart is yours!
Happy Valentine’s Day! February is the official month of love, so what better time of the year for writers to think about romance? Love is one of my favorite themes, and when I think about the best romantic stories I’ve ever written, I often find hints of the real romance I’ve been living with my boyfriend over the last eight years. I’ve learned many lessons about love in my personal life, and I like to think they’ve made me both a better writer and a better person!
So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, here are three lessons I learned from being in love that have served as inspiration for my romantic fiction. I hope they’ll inspire you too! Enjoy!
1) The greatest romance is with your best friend.
I know some guys still have a hard time believing this, so let me clear something up right now: there is no such thing as the “friend zone”! Trust me: this is coming from a woman who’s never dated a guy she didn’t consider a friend first. Just saying.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying you should always establish a friendship with someone before you start dating them. I’m just saying that when you do fall in love, it should be with someone you consider a true companion: someone who makes you laugh, who makes you feel safe, and who will always be there for you no matter what.
In other words, your best friend.
Me when my boyfriend is playing PC games while I’m writing
Illustration from the comic “Soppy” by Philippa Rice
I had the good fortune of falling in love with a man I already loved and trusted as a friend. This took a lot of pressure off the beginning of our relationship, and it’s only gotten better ever since! It’s no wonder so many of my fictional couples start out as close friends; it’s worked out so well in my real life!
2) True love isn’t in extravagant gifts and declarations; it’s in everyday words and gestures.
Any woman who grew up watching Disney princess movies from the 20th century probably reached adulthood with unrealistic expectations of men. After all, Disney princes are valiant heroes who give magic kisses and go to incredible lengths to rescue the women they love. Real-life guys can hardly compare, right?
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my current relationship, it’s that the so-called true love in fairy tales is very different from true love in real life.
Love is in the little things
Illustrations by Puuung
I know beyond a doubt that my boyfriend loves me, but not because he showers me with gifts or writes me poetry that would rival Shakespeare’s. I can see it in the little things: the way he looks at me, the way he smiles at the sight of me when he comes home from work, the way he tells me I’m beautiful even when I’m wearing sweats and my hair is a mess, the way he knows exactly what to say or do to make me laugh.
In turn, I do my best to show him how much I love him in the same way: I compliment him every day, I constantly remind him how proud of him I am, and I do whatever I can to cheer him up when he has a bad day. Love is a two-way street!
Drawing inspiration from personal experience, I often add the same details to the relationships between my characters. True love means making each other happy, and in the long run, isn’t that much easier with small everyday gestures than with grand declarations of love?
3) You deserve someone who loves you just the way you are.
There are too many stories out there about girls who change everything about themselves just to please their guys, like Twilight or Grease or The Little Mermaid. Personally, I prefer the kind of story where the guy falls for the girl because she’s already everything he needs and vice versa.
I like to think my boyfriend and I found each other at the right time in our lives. I was in college and constantly feeling lonely and frustrated because I couldn’t seem to fit in with my classmates, while he wasn’t exactly at the highest point in his life either.
The initial connection we had and the relationship that followed have since found their way into some of the best romantic stories I’ve ever written. My favorite of these was about two young people who, despite being fine enough on their own, completed each other and made each other stronger. I didn’t have to look far for the inspiration behind that one!
There’s no better feeling than having someone who always supports your dreams and loves you just the way you are (besides your parents, of course). So if you love writing about love, I highly recommend experiencing it yourself. With a true romance in your life, you’ll never run out of inspiration!
What about you? What lessons have you learned about love in your lifetime? How have they inspired your writing?
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: relating to or characteristic of William Shakespeare or his works
Source: Oxford Dictionaries
Last one, I promise! After three consecutive weeks of writing about words derived from authors’ names, I’m capping off a full month of these words with an adjective taken from the name of one of the most famous writers in history! With Valentine’s Day only two days away, it seemed only fitting to end this list with the author behind Romeo & Juliet. Whether you’re describing a play, a poem, an actor, or a time period, there’s no question that some very clear imagery comes to mind whenever you hear the word “Shakespearean”!
“Shakespearean” (alternatively spelled “Shakespearian”) comes from the name of the English poet and playwright William Shakespeare. This word describes anything relating to or reminiscent of the author’s works. The adjective generally refers to his plays and sonnets, but can also refer to actors who perform his plays or the time period during which his works were written.
Like the others, this word is more complex than a dictionary definition can sum up in a single line, especially considering how diverse Shakespeare’s subject matter was. While the most obvious definition of “Shakespearean” refers to Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets themselves, it also functions as a noun meaning “an expert on or student of Shakespeare’s writings”. Again, like the others, make sure you always capitalize this word because it comes from a name. If your stories include references to the immortal bard’s works, “Shakespearean” is a good word to include in your vocabulary!
Bonus: For examples of clever “Shakespearean” insults, enjoy the following TED-Ed video!
What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?
The year I’ve spent with you
Has been the greatest of my life,
A perfect, sweet reward
For our seven years of strife.
The distance was a trial
That year by year we passed,
But it was worth the wait
To be in your arms at last.
Nobody has the power
To make me laugh and smile
The way you always do
With your charming, witty style.
I love how much we share
And how much we think the same.
Forget expensive date nights;
Let’s just stay home and game!
You share in all my laughter
And hold me when I cry.
You make me feel so special
And don’t even have to try.
That’s all the proof I need
That our love is really true:
The year I’ve spent in Heaven
Living happily with you!
Happy Valentine’s Day to my loving boyfriend! Thank you for the most wonderful year of living together! I look forward to many more to come! I love you!
Last week, I sent out a call for beta readers for three of my short stories about dragons. If you haven’t seen it yet, find out more here!
I mentioned that the stories I’m editing are going to be compiled into an ebook as part of a self-publishing venture. So today, I want to talk about what this little experiment is all about.
The Dragon Story Experiment
After five years of blogging, I realized it’s high time for an upgrade in my status as a writer. Obviously this includes actually publishing a book already, but there’s more to it than that.
After a month of reflection, I’ve been getting myself excited about changing… well, pretty much everything about my online presence.
But before I do, I want to “test the waters” of the Kindle market. And I felt there were no better stories to start with than a handful that I’ve already shared online and found moderate success with.
Why these stories?
I chose three stories with a common theme that have already been well received, which gives me a major confidence boost going in.
Here’s the catch, though: all the feedback I’ve gotten on these stories so far has come from writers, fellow artists who are already familiar with the craft and the work that goes into every story.
On the one hand, this is good because experienced writers can identify mistakes that go unnoticed by the untrained eyes of average readers. On the other, writers may be more inclined to be positive and encouraging than brutally honest to fellow artists out of empathy. We all want to be supportive, right?
So my experiment is to try to expand the reach of my writing and see if it still holds up with average readers who are just looking for a good story.
The first step is to show my stories to beta readers who have volunteered to point out the strengths and weaknesses in my writing and help me make it better. The next is to put the final drafts of those stories in front of paying readers and see how they fare. Whatever happens, I’ll take what I learn and apply that knowledge to my future self-published books.
Now is probably a good time to mention that my “author persona upgrade” will almost definitely come with a name change! Wait, what? Again, more on this later.
This test run is therefore a way get my work out there without the fear of failure. Nobody likes it? No problem; it’s not really me! Everyone likes it? Great, now I know for sure that I can write stories readers enjoy!
So what does this all mean? Well, nothing yet. For now, I’ll continue writing and blogging as usual. But I am planning to change that in a couple of months when my blog turns five years old!
Until then, I’ll be focusing on my mini short story anthology. Here’s hoping my experiment is a success!
Are you interested in being a beta reader for my short stories? Sign up for my beta readers’ list!