My wedding anniversary is in a week and a half. Ay (not only my spouse, but my muse…how lucky is that?) and I have been married for 9 years. As that fateful celebration approaches, and I try and figure out how to make it special and surprise-filled, I’ve been thinking about love in general.

We’ve known each other for 12 years. We clicked from the start, and even though it took us another year to start dating, a year after that to make it exclusive, and another year to tie the knot, we both kind of knew from the start we wanted to end up together.

Along those same lines, I’ve been thinking about romantic relationships in novels. There’s a formula in a lot of those relationships. The guy who drives the girl nuts – who insults her and doesn’t get along with her and whom she almost always misunderstands even though the reader knows he doesn’t mean it that way – is the guy she’s going to end up with.

As a reader, you know almost as soon as he’s introduced that he’s going to be the love interest by the end of the story.

I had a problem with that for a long time. Not in other stories, oddly enough, but I refused to let it happen in my own. I hated anything I wrote that adhered to that formula.

Last week I read Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank. The book was fantastic, btw. I stayed up late two nights in a row to finish it. And I’ll post a real review next week.

Here’s the thing – same methodology. And then it occurred to me that I loved the book anyway. And that there was a reason for all the friction between the characters. It drove other aspects of the plot besides their relationship, and it served a purpose. Or several of them. And talk about a great inciter for repeated conflict.

And now I’m no longer opposed to that line of thinking. I’m reminding myself that the point isn’t whether or not the couple ends up together, it’s 1 – how they got there, and 2 – what else they did along the way. That’s what drives the reader. That’s what compells us to move forward in the story.

What formulas/tropes do you think are acceptable in writing and/or which are just inexcusable?

PS: Happy Early Anniversary, Ay ^_^ <3