(cookies for anyone who gets that sort-of reference)
Earlier this week I found my brain going back to my old fandom days, and my favorite ‘ship.’ I even decided to “let” myself return to fanfiction one night per week, if I so desired. It hasn’t happened yet – I’m still hammering out edits on The Switch so I can hopefully release it this month. But I did indulge in re-reading a couple of old fics, one of which was left unfinished and the other I had started a prequel to. While the writing was cringey in places, I still love that ship, or rather, my version of those characters together.
This led me to a deeper understanding of probably one of the most important (if not THE most important) aspects of romance writing, which is The Ship.
I mean, it sounds to obvious when I try to explain myself. But I think one of the big struggles in writing romance is maintaining your love for your own ship throughout the process. How do you do that, really, when you’re mired in the “work” of writing – building strong settings and clean prose, not overusing semicolons, etc – ?
This is why I am giving myself permission to Ship. Including fan fiction, if necessary. Whatever it takes to make me sigh and melt a little, so I can bring that back to my characters – is fine. And it has helped, so far. I don’t know – I feel like I’m not explaining it very well. It’s sort of a vague shift of perspective. But the important take-away is that you have to Ship your characters. Ship them like burning, like Fed Ex, like it’s your goddamned job (which, hey, it is). If you don’t, chances are pretty slim your readers will. If you don’t squee and pant and sigh over your characters’ relationship, that will come through to the readers, without a doubt. And then they’ll start shipping your heroine with your villain and your hero with your heroine’s brother. Which is fine, but at least give your own couple a fighting chance to be believed, yeah?
And here is where I ask you what some of your favorite off-the-wall, rare ships are. We already know about Spock/Kirk, Catwoman/Batman, and Hermione/Draco. But what about the weird wtf ones (or just kind of wtf)? Let me know!