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Ashana Lian's Fantasy Lab

Fantasy and Fantasy Writing from every angle: fantasy and sci-fi novels, films, artwork, superhero cartoons, children's and YA books, manga, anime, video games and comics. Put the microscope on 'Geek Culture'.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Romance In Fantasy Novels Should Not Be A Shape, But A Squiggle (Beautiful People #6)

Image - Jason Long

Romance. Urgh. I only have to hear the word and my heart sinks. I wasn't even going to do this post, until I realised I never talk about romance in fantasy novels on this blog. Maybe because I was afraid I would rant. I swear this post will be rant-free. BLOGGER'S HONOUR.

I am a romantic at heart. But I'm also a fussy romantic; it needs to be done a certain way. Relationships are often complicated because of our emotions (which is why it should be represented as a squiggle). I don't really want to read (or write) romance about vampires stalking teenagers, girls who will fall in love LITERALLY at the drop of a hat, guys who are players but are looking for "true love", fairytale-style relationships where nobody ever has problems - and most importantly, romances where every character has to be matched up with somebody, and nobody ever gets left alone. Fact: some people want to be alone.

Beautiful people is a meme that interviews the characters of any story you're writing. It's excellent for character development, so if you want to join in - do so via either the marvellous Cait at Paper Fury or fabulous Sky at Further Up and Further In.

This BP will be about Brilliance Of The Light, a brand new fantasy novel I started last week.

Brilliance Of The Light - Romantic Subplot
August by SteamKid. This image reminds me
of a 'spirit' of the forest.
This novel is about a very shy girl called Sati. She is horrified when her father's death is ignored, because he was accidentally killed at the hands of the Hero of the Kingdom. Being non-violent, she doesn't wish vengeance, but she becomes determined to make the people of the Kingdom remember her father's name.

Her love interest is a boy called Nandin. He lives in her town and hears her singing from the window one day. He doesn't join in with a harmony, Disney-style (LOL), but he does come back the next day and play the same song on the flute outside of her window. She leaps up but isn't able to see him, and so for the next several weeks she looks around anxiously whenever she around town, wondering who it possibly might have been.

Sati's father hears from her gossiping sisters that Sati has an admirer. At first he's angry, because he thinks Sati's timidness makes her vulnerable to 'wolves'. Because of her father's warning she becomes afraid to tell him she has been seeing Nandin now and then and they have been talking. Sati's mother, who knows Nandin's family, slyly arranges for Nandin to coincidently end up at town festival with Sati's father. They get to know each other as 'strangers'.

When Nandin plucks up the courage to ask to marry Sati, Sati's father trusts him by then. He still didn't like giving his daughter away, but seeing the smile on Sati's face, he begrudgingly gives his blessing.

... *coughs* SO, the questions!

Da Questchurns - Sati and Nandin

1. How long have they been a couple?
They see each other over the course of a year, and after they are married they remain together. I guess this story goes on until Sati is about... thirty-five.

2. How did they first meet? Hee hee. See above! ^

3. What were their first thoughts of each other?
When Nandin heard Sati sing, he thought how unnaturally beautiful her voice was, like a forest spirit was singing. Sati's first thought of Nandin was, 'I'd better tell my brothers. There's a stalker outside my window.'

4. What do they do that most annoys each other?
Sati fell in love with Nandin because he was quiet and peaceful in nature, like her. However, it annoyed her sometimes that he wouldn't voice his opinion, and therefore seemed indecisive and or indifferent. When Sati becomes a bit more confident, she makes unapologetic remarks that annoys and embarrasses Nandin.

5. Are their personalities opposite or similar?
Similar. They both quiet, musical, artistic, and good-natured.

6. How would their lives be different without each other?
Oh man, who knows. They would have married different people, which couldn't have turned out anything but disastrous, with them both being so passive.

7. Are they ever embarrassed of each other?
Sati becomes embarrassed when they have company and Nandin refuses to answer questions he doesn't like. When Sati's father dies and Sati begins to insist the Hero of the Kingdom is 'no hero', many of their friends are horrified that she would say such a thing and turn their back on her, which embarrasses Nandin.

8. Does anyone disapprove of their relationship?
After they are married, Sati's father is less suspicious and become happy for them. There is one person though... Miyni, Sati's best friend. She's a giggler and a gossiper, and is brave where Sati can't be. She doesn't like Nandin and never has a nice word to say about him, saying he's 'useless' and 'spineless'. But as they get older, Sati realises Miyni has become pessimistic and poisonous. When Sati gathers the courage she finally says goodbye and ends their friendship, so that Miyni can't hold her back from being happy.

9. Do they see their relationship as long-term/leading to marriage? Heh. See #1!

10. If they could plan the “perfect outing” together, where would they go?
Oooo great question! They would go to the holiday home they went to on their honeymoon, which belongs to Sati's sponsor, Madame Robinaird. It stands on the edge of a meadow, and the other side look out to the sea, so the view is breathtaking all around. The most peaceful creatures and spirits of the forest dwell there, making it a very safe place to be.

Cait asked what sort of romance we normally write and gave a few examples - but I can't stomach fluffy, forbidden is really overdone, triangles drive me nuts, and steamy is not my thing.

I quite like tragic romances, and also impossible romances like that manage to defy everything including the laws of the universe to exist (LOL!). Immortal Rain and Across The Nightingale Floor are the first that come to mind.

Thanks for reading! If you wish to read the questions for my first novel Karalan's Legacy, they'll be posted tomorrow (Here). (Only linking once tho.) Click here to see the Pinterest board for Brilliance Of The Light.

Ashana Lian .

I'm taking a small blogging break and will be back next week. I'm also taking a small break from my reading challenges, but any new people who come along during that time, do sign-up!

How do you like your romance? Is there a particular shape you abhor, and do you agree that it is a squiggle (ie. complicated)? Do comment! I always reply. c:


  1. Ooh! Quite an interesting story! (And relationship!) Hope it goes awesome! :D Also, I like the names of your characters!

    Awesome post!
    Follower via Bloglovin', follow back?
    ~Fari 0:) @ My Little Corner for Books

    1. Glad you think so! At least that's the subplot sorted. Now I need to make sure the actual fantasy plot makes sense O_O They're Indian names! I've wanted to have an indian protagonist for some time. I need to find a pic of Sati. Hmm...

      Sure! I don't use Bloglovin but I can follow with GFC. =]

    2. YES to Diversity! Hehe! :D There aren't nearly enough South Asian Protagonists! Awesome!

      Thank you! 0:)

  2. Oh! I love this!! Especially Sati's first thought of Nandin!XD

    1. If I had been in Sati's place, I would definately be like 'WTF' and call ALL my family members!!! I'm glad you like it, thanks for commenting. Comments are awesome >.<

  3. This is such a sweet story! I really like the way that you've developed the romance so that it also includes different people outside the immediate family, like their friends and embarrassing her husband in front of other people, etcetera. I mean, all romance is like that, but sometimes I think writers think it's too hard, and so it's like couples live in their own bubbles, which is silly. So I like how envelopish it is. :)

    1. Hi Heather! I had hoped it would be sweet; with their reserved personality, it made sense to me. The town is small enough for everybody to know everybody else's business (like Sati's mother), but big enough for a shy girl to be uncertain, say, who in town can play the flute.

      Hey, I never thought of that! You're right. In real life, we juggle many different types of relationships, but in books many female (and sometimes male) protags drop everything for the person they're dating. Well, some people out there must do that but not anybody I know. I hope I can keep this aspect of the story strong when writing it up in full! Thanks for mentioning that, very useful.

  4. Hi, Ashana! This looks interesting and well-developed. I like the depth to it -- it's not just a surface tale and it seems to hold some true "human nature" elements. How long have you been writing?

    And, yeah, it funny that we both did this link-up on new stories. I usually prefer to use Beautiful People on older projects, but this one fit better on the new one. :)

    1. Hiya! =D WOO HOO! I'm so thrilled you said that, I really did want to capture 'human nature elements'. I think I don't see enough of TRUE human nature in romance-focussed novels which is why I get a bit like =/

      I've been writing... wow, almost ten years now. O_O It's weird. I never planned to be a writer and I certainly didn't think I'd be writing this long. But I came to realise it was what I enjoyed best. Oh hey, you just reminded me! I DID write a romance, around this time last year. It was a superhero romance, and I could've written about that. But it's not what I'm working on right now so it's doesn't count as a WIP. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Hmm, I like the way you see romance! I'm not much of a romantic myself, but I think it's just that romance is so... I'm not sure, cliche? A Walk To Remember was the first love story I truly liked. The Notebook is also among the few. (These are always the first two I think of. There's probably more... possibly...)

    I love how their story started. The singing out the window is common enough, but how he came back the next night and played that song on the flute is so neat. (And he wasn't like: "Oh, look at me, young maiden with the wonderful voice, I'm awesome and can play the flute!") The word beautiful comes to mind.

    Sati's answer in #3 made me laugh. Awesomeness. And Miyni's part in the story is interesting. It's different that the best friend is the one to disapprove in that way. That in and of itself intrigues me into reading the book.

    Cool, title, too. Brilliance of the Light. I'll be back for more for sure.

    1. I think that the first time a person hears a cliche story, they probably will like it because after all, it's only cliche because it became popular. But after that it's boring, you don't want to see anybody else do it again. I do like romance, but not the way a lot of, say YA authors do it. On the one hand, sweeping romances are a nice fantasy. On the other hand, done a certain way, it's just laughable, ridiculous, and unsatisfying as a plot. But I've read some really beautiful romances too. I haven't read The Notebook but I've wanted to read at least one Nicholas Sparks book in my life! Will bump it up the TBR list.

      I wasn't sure if I liked the window thing, but then I changed my mind. I think Sati would never have been brave enough to speak to him face to face without time beforehand to work up the courage and think of something to say. Oh, yeah! Nandin can actually play three types of flute!

      Miyni is a tricky one! I haven't fully finished her character development yet, but I do know that she would've wanted someone more charismatic and charming for Sati, to help bring her out of her shell. As it happens, Nandin's patience is encouraging for Sati and her courage grows naturally. BoTL is a working title! I like it though. Glad you do too. Thanks for commenting!

    2. Oh, I should probably mention... I've never read either A Walk To Remember or The Notebook, only seen the movies. They're both by Nicholas Sparks, though.

  6. Ashana Lian,
    "Love is not a shape. It is a squiggle." I haven't ever been really and truly "in love", but I have a feeling that is quite true. :) Did I catch that right -- about their being married for a great part of the story? I hope so, because those type of stories can be some of the best. :) And having the heroine (and hero?) Indian is also really neat!

    1. Squiggle is a GLORIOUSSS WORDD. =D
      Oh, heh, me neither. But a lot of people I know in relationships get stressed or in a tangle for one reason or another. And I have never known ANYBODY that has two people fighting over them. (Stupid triangle. (I'm kidding. You're not so bad, poor little triangle.))

      Yep, tis true! My current chapter plan is that they get married in Chapter 5, but the story goes on until chapter 20. O_O They were inspired by Indian culture, although it is set in a fantasy location. It confuses me sometimes when fantasy heroes or heroines have a cardboard cut-out heritage/background and there is no diversity. I don't just mean ethnicity. I know some writers can only write what they know or what they're used to writing in fantasy, but on the other hand, that's not all there is out there. So, fingers crossed, this'll be good! I hope! ._.

  7. ohhh your pinterest board is SO BEAUTIFUL. And your story sounds seriously unique and gorgeous. GO YOU. I JUST AM SO CURIOUS ABOUT IT ALL. Nandin and Sati are absolutely awesome names sweet since they're both so similar an artsy. x) I had a giggle at the stalker bit too.
    OH. I like tragic romances too, those are my favourite. Romances-that-defy-all-odds are awesome to read, but I don't think I'd ever manage to write one. Everyone in my books ends up as dead or just mostly-dead and the concept of married life is quite awkward. (Why do I write about ghosts? WHY.)
    Thanks for linking up with us!!

    1. Thanks Caitoki! I'm still straightening it all out, it turns out that it has a LOT of holes O_O but hopefully it'll end up being awesome and cutesy and most importantly AWESOME!

      I'd struggle to write an 'impossible' romance too... I wouldn't be able to take it seriously! OMG I also just realised... my books often have somebody dying =/ I know deaths are emotive but... all the time?! I think I should sit up and pay attention to this!!

      I like ghost stories but I never write them. That's why I'm itching for more of your novel TDBatPC.

  8. That picture though. That picture is just so mystical and fits with your description so well. Nandin and Sati sound like a great couple, which makes me feel guilty because the couple I chose for this round is about as unromantic as possible.

    TRAGIC ROMANCES. They are the best thing ever, next to loyal-to-each-other side romances like Edwin Jarvis and his wife. But I don't really like star-crossed lovers coming out on top. ... yeah, that's probably why I chose an unromantic couple.

    1. You mean 'August' by Steadkid? Hey guess what? That picture inspired the WHOLE STORY =D

      I usually write 'unromantic' couples, ie. modelled off the couples I know in real life. It's almost like they're going through the motions, or just want to be able to say they're dating someone, or something. *shrug.* LOL! Star-crossed, I don't do. I like impossible but only in a certain way. It's hard to explain. If it's like, "the fate of the world depends on this romance existing/ceasing", that really pisses me off in books! Especially if it's included in the blurb. Anyway. Ha! Thanks for commenting!

  9. Wow! That squiggle part cracked me up.

    1. Heh heh, my job here is done. *smugly puts on sunglasses*

  10. GAH this story sounds so good, and it's not fair because I literally want to go out and buy it right now and I can't. Can you get working on this asap, I need it published and in my hands =P I tell myself I don't like tragic romances, but then most of my favourite romances are tragic ones. Clearly I like the pain and am just in denial.

    1. XD Hahaha I know!! Like, I'm quite into the whole, lovers trying to get back to each other things, the impossible romance thing, but I don't like, say, Twilight. I must be confused or something.

      WHOO I'm glad you like it! Which is good because I ran it by my sister and there are a TON of problems with this story, lmfao. Anyway, anyway. Working on it! Promise!

  11. First, I love the squiggle thing and I couldn't agree more! I like a variety of romance, I used to hate it all and I can't stand it when it takes over the plot of a fantasy novel but I do love a lot of different things. Mostly, best friend love, where two friends fall in love, and villain love where the bad guy isn't as bad as he first seems and falls in love with the main character...I just love it. =)

    I love the sound of this one, and your character names are awesome!

    Happy writing!

    1. Oooo! Oooo! Me too! I know so many people who despise it when the fantasy in the story just serves the romance. e_e I like that too. Sometimes authors don't do it quite right, but I've read some pretty incredible hero x villain romances too. Thanks Alex!

  12. Sati and is an awesome name! Also, her and Nandin sound absolutely adorable. :P

    1. Thank youuuu. I did some research on it and it has some very interesting history!! I wasn't certain at first, but the more I used it the more it suited her.

  13. This is the first time that I have come to your blog (I found your blog via Beautiful People #6 in-case you were wondering...) And I just have a question. What kind of Fantasy do you write?

    1. Hi and welcome, Mary! (It's a greeeat link-up. I've almost read all the links, just a few more to go.) Overall, I like to write what I mostly read, which is Epic and High fantasy. I also like to write urban/modern fantasy.


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