Why Writing About Love & Relationships Is Important Today
People often ask me why I write romance novels, rather than some other genre. Well, I didn’t plan it that way. But it seems that no matter what I set out to write about, it ends up a romance of one kind or another. By “romance,” I mean a love relationship between two persons—of whatever ages … or even of the same sex.
I recently re-watched Tom Hanks in Cast Away (released in 2000). Some of the reviewers and critics deem it “a survival film.” Actually, it is a romance.
The film could quite easily have been made into a survival film, by starting the movie with the plane crash and ending it when Chuck (Tom Hanks) is rescued, four years later—and cutting out the ever-recurring watch with the photo of his beloved, as well as the FedEx package with angel wings. Plus, by adding a short scene after Chuck is rescued, where he is recording a lecture for a company that teaches survival skills to outdoors-type guys.
But the film was made into a romance by beginning with Tom Hanks and Helen Hunt deeply in love and about to get married, as soon as he comes back from an unexpected FedEx plane trip. Then all through his four years marooned on a tropical island, Chuck (Tom Hanks) is always looking at the watch that Kelly (Helen Hunt) gave him just before he departed, with her portrait inside. The thought of Kelly keeps Chuck going—gives him the will to live. When he is rescued, there is a touching series of scenes where they meet again, but she has to go on with her married life, which includes a little daughter. And the movie ends with Chuck taking the FedEx package with angel wings to the Texas Panhandle, where he encounters the woman who obviously will become the belated love-of-his-life.
So what do you want? A great survival film, showing how a determined and heroic man overcomes the obstacles to surviving alone on a small tropical island? Or a wonderful romance film, showing thwarted love, but in the end, showing the possibility of falling in love again, and maybe living happily ever after?
I prefer the romance film. Any one of my novels could have been something else, but they all ended up romances—coming-of-age friendships between young folks, young-adult love, mature romantic relationships, and so on. … In short, I like how Cast Away ended up a romance film, not a survival film.