(intentionally cheesy image)
"Great romance" is full of larger than life elements. You love each other at firs sight but you can't be together. You hate each other at first sight but are forced to be together. Your separated by an impossible socio-economic gulf. Your love is kidnapped by pirates. You have amnesia, being blackmailed, and the object of your affection doesn't know you exist. Your love is forbidden yet it is unstoppable.
Fittingly, on classic romance covers the heroes and heroines with perfect skin, heaving bosoms, and lustrous hair strike dramatic poses in front of dramatic backgrounds. Contemporary, photographic covers are not quite as theatrical but the idea is the same.
Okay, I admit, these over the top stories can be a lot of fun. There's nothing wrong with enjoying them. I have one little problem though: I can't imagine those couples beyond the wedding bells.
Ordinary life doesn't fit them. Domesticity seems so unromantic—no grand gestures, moon-lit beaches, and raging seas. I doubt those couples would last long.
I happen to think that real romance lives in the small things. To me the most romantic scene I've ever seen is in Fargo: Margie, the pregnant police chief gets a call at dawn. She has to get up to go to the crime scene, and her husband insists on getting up too to make her breakfast, even though he's barely conscious. Now, that's true love. The movie ends with them—two ordinary people—in bed, talking about duck stamps.
It was only recently, reading Cole Riann's review of Hanging Loose that I drew a connection between my fondness of the above-mentioned scene and the type of romance I tend to write. I'm not capable of composing stories with grand gestures and grand emotions. It's just not in me, but I take pleasure in exploring love in the details. And that's pretty much it.