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Aromantics in writing


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Hello my fellow aros and aro-spec folks! Got a question for y'all who enjoy writing/roleplaying... what's your experiences with romance in these types of media?

For me, as a writer and an artist, I struggle to write anything related to romance. Closeness, or QPPs? Perfectly fine. I'm not asexual (only grey-ace), so I have no issue with... that side of things, but romance? Nope. My writing is part of how I finally came to an understanding that I was, in fact, aromantic. I would struggle, pretty consistently, with figuring out how to write romance. I read romance in books and other media, sure, but it always felt somewhat awkward, even if it wasn't rushed or probably made sense. The lead-up and tension was relatable, but the romantic feelings? Nah, not really. 

I've also struggled in roleplaying, too. I can't play characters that are alloromantic - it feels too strange and unnatural. Like I'm playing at a role I don't understand... which is pretty much the truth, haha. It can be alienating though, at times, as people love shipping and I just don't really get it. Closeness, QPPs, and friendships? Those are cool! But romance? Yeah... I don't really get it. 

So I'm curious! What are y'alls experiences? Are they the same, different, or somewhere in between?

Edited by SilentShadows
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For roleplaying: I've done romantic RPs before and didn't have trouble with it. Both with writing characters experiencing romantic feelings, and with having the other player's characters experience romantic feelings towards mine. But I'm also a selfshipper so my perceptions are a bit skewed there.

For writing: I don't have anything against writing romance, but it's far from a priority. I really enjoy being a creator and getting the chance to express my identity and ideals through my work- part of that involves focusing on nonromantic relationships. The two main partnerships in the series I'm currently writing are nonromantic (with one explicitly being a QPR), and none of the main characters are romantically involved or that hung up about being single. I do plan on including some romance in the future though, and I don't think I'll have trouble with writing it. But my perspective will probably be different than the perspective an allo person writing for an allo audience would have.

If I was gonna write a story that had a heavy focus on romance, I think it'd have to be a human/monster situation or something similar 😅 I have little interest in "normative" romance and being aro plays a part in that.

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Complicated. 

I don't necessarily have a problem with writing the build-up to romance, even if it sounds weird to me sometimes.

But the romantic relationship in itself ? Hard time. I'm trying right now and I know I fail. I have to make an effort to remember my characters have to act like a couple now, and I have no clue on how to do that naturally, it seems fake, like, some actions I had to their relation to make it look romantic but are not connecting to each other in a consistent way. Like, I don't know, a neurotypic person who tries to write an autistic character by giving them all the traits they read on the internet, but doesn't understand how being autistic really impact how they think or how they live. I don't know if that makes sense, sorry. What I want to say is : it feels forced, even if I do think the characters could be a great couple.

 

Maybe part of it is due to media ? Usually a movie ends little time after the first kiss. When there is a sequel, or this is a tv show, usually it focuses on relationship's drama. Happy couple moment are details before the storm. And don't get me started on toxic romance.  So I have a lot of exemples of build-up to romance, of people fighting, but not really of people in a (healthy) couple dynamic. That's probably why it is so hard for me to write it properly.

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For my comics, romance is just not in the picture. My current webcomic is a slice of life story about a young witch (she’s 9) and I don’t bother with writing romance because I feel there are enough stories about romance.

As for roleplaying, I never play romantic characters, even if they have a ‘romantic’ relationship in game. For our current Burning Wheel campain, I play as a governess who has a husband and a son. The marriage is one of conveniance (as I assume most relationships were in ye olden days) and my character is too busy solving a murder case to bother with romance.

22 hours ago, SilentShadows said:

I can't play characters that are alloromantic - it feels too strange and unnatural. Like I'm playing at a role I don't understand... which is pretty much the truth, haha.

Yeah pretty much this. Luckily my group is not much interested in it either.

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On 10/18/2022 at 10:25 AM, Apex said:

For roleplaying: I've done romantic RPs before and didn't have trouble with it. Both with writing characters experiencing romantic feelings, and with having the other player's characters experience romantic feelings towards mine. But I'm also a selfshipper so my perceptions are a bit skewed there.

For writing: I don't have anything against writing romance, but it's far from a priority. I really enjoy being a creator and getting the chance to express my identity and ideals through my work- part of that involves focusing on nonromantic relationships. The two main partnerships in the series I'm currently writing are nonromantic (with one explicitly being a QPR), and none of the main characters are romantically involved or that hung up about being single. I do plan on including some romance in the future though, and I don't think I'll have trouble with writing it. But my perspective will probably be different than the perspective an allo person writing for an allo audience would have.

If I was gonna write a story that had a heavy focus on romance, I think it'd have to be a human/monster situation or something similar 😅 I have little interest in "normative" romance and being aro plays a part in that.

 

Very fascinating! I definitely find it enlightening to hear of different experiences in the community. I do distinctly relate to the idea of human/monster and non-standard romances, humans with monsters or non-humans I find fascinating because it's no confined to the human idea of romance. If I ever wrote something romance/adjacent, I'd totally start there.

 

On 10/19/2022 at 3:59 AM, nonmerci said:

Complicated. 

I don't necessarily have a problem with writing the build-up to romance, even if it sounds weird to me sometimes.

But the romantic relationship in itself ? Hard time. I'm trying right now and I know I fail. I have to make an effort to remember my characters have to act like a couple now, and I have no clue on how to do that naturally, it seems fake, like, some actions I had to their relation to make it look romantic but are not connecting to each other in a consistent way. Like, I don't know, a neurotypic person who tries to write an autistic character by giving them all the traits they read on the internet, but doesn't understand how being autistic really impact how they think or how they live. I don't know if that makes sense, sorry. What I want to say is : it feels forced, even if I do think the characters could be a great couple.

 

Maybe part of it is due to media ? Usually a movie ends little time after the first kiss. When there is a sequel, or this is a tv show, usually it focuses on relationship's drama. Happy couple moment are details before the storm. And don't get me started on toxic romance.  So I have a lot of exemples of build-up to romance, of people fighting, but not really of people in a (healthy) couple dynamic. That's probably why it is so hard for me to write it properly.

 

Very relatable, I find the build-up is a lot easier but anything where it crosses into "real" romance feels strange. I know, realistically, what folks do, but it does feel fake and always leaves me with the feeling "why would anyone do this/want this." I do agree as well about writing romance feeling less authentic and off-putting just due to not fully understanding it due to lack of well... experiencing it! I think media could definitely play a role, though I find even the happy couples to be kind of strange - I don't quite get the appeal or why someone would want that as opposed to a close friend or life partner/roommate who is committed to living with you.

 

On 10/19/2022 at 4:59 AM, Nix said:

For my comics, romance is just not in the picture. My current webcomic is a slice of life story about a young witch (she’s 9) and I don’t bother with writing romance because I feel there are enough stories about romance.

As for roleplaying, I never play romantic characters, even if they have a ‘romantic’ relationship in game. For our current Burning Wheel campain, I play as a governess who has a husband and a son. The marriage is one of conveniance (as I assume most relationships were in ye olden days) and my character is too busy solving a murder case to bother with romance.

Yeah pretty much this. Luckily my group is not much interested in it either.

 

Ooo nice! What's the name of the comic - is it posted online at all? Definitely agree on there being quite enough romance stories, haha. That's really fascinating though with playing characters in a "romantic relationship" who really aren't romantically involved at all. Fun workaround, too!

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37 minutes ago, SilentShadows said:

Ooo nice! What's the name of the comic - is it posted online at all?

It’s called ‘Chancy Chloe’ or ‘Linke Loesje’ in Dutch. I post both the Dutch and the English version on Instagram and on this page: https://ko-fi.com/nicolemulkens/gallery  It’s really a fun side project at the moment, which means updates are slow.

40 minutes ago, SilentShadows said:

That's really fascinating though with playing characters in a "romantic relationship" who really aren't romantically involved at all. Fun workaround, too!

Thanks! I thought I was being quite clever here too. You see, having a husband as a female character in Burning Wheel means you get a ton of extra resource points, so the marriage of convenience is mainly convenient for me 😇

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've never had problems with that. Well, as long as I didn't have to involve my personal feelings and/or experiences. 

I've played allro characters in RP's multiple times, and I've never had problems with creating romantic scenes in my fanfics/original stories. Although the problem came when I was trying to write a romantic letter for my (now ex) girlfriend, which happened earlier this year - in January, I think.

Despise my introvertism, I've always been a talkative person, so I never had problems with finding correct words for things I wanted to describe. But while writing that certain letter, my mind was absolutely blank. I had no idea what to write. It took me about 2 hours to even start, and another 2 to finish. After I've finally finished it, I realized, that it wasn't really a romantic letter. I mean sure, I wrote that I want to stay by her side for as long as I'll be able to, and I made sure to include the key word "love", but it still looked like something that you'd rather write for your close friend other than a significant other. (That's what made me realize that I'm on the aro-spectrum.)

 

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