Friday, June 13, 2008

Guest Blogger: BRYN COLVIN

I am very happy welcome my guest today, Bryn Colvin... Thanks for joining the party, Bryn!

Fantasy Romance

I’ve been writing both fantasy and erotica for some years now. I hesitate to call my work romance because it doesn’t always obey all the genre rules. Some of my characters have passionate love affairs, but occasionally fall into bed with other people. Some get a ‘best possible outcome’ rather than a happily ever after. Now and then I write romance, but because I don’t do it all the time, I like to think it comes as a nice surprise when things do work out.

In many ways the key thing in a love story is not what draws the characters together, but what keeps them from getting married at the end of page one. Getting people to hook up is actually quite easy. Creating the romantic tension that comes from wanting, but not being able to fully connect, is what makes a really powerful love story work. In our real world culture, there isn’t a great deal to stop two people who fancy each other from doing something about it, which can make romance plots a bit unlikely or strained sometimes.

Fantasy settings are an absolute gift for romance. Not only does the obligatory magic have the potential to divide lovers (sending them across space and time, cursing them if they get it together, making them unable to notice each other – the possibilities are endless) but there are many other avenues to explore as well. In a fantasy setting, your lovers can be divided by cultural taboos, by war, religion, family, even species! All of a sudden, working out how on earth your star crossed pair can be together becomes the challenge, and keeping them apart is easy.

Furthermore, fantasy allows you to move beyond the standard human form. When writing erotica, this can be a lot of fun to play with. Want all your male characters improbably well endowed? In a fantasy world, that can be much more normal. Want breasts that defy gravity? Extra body parts? A third gender? Where sexual fantasy and mainstream fantasy blend, the results can be spectacular.

However, to do justice to both genres, you can’t use them for rabbit out of hat solutions. The love story has to make sense in its own right, you can’t just magic a happily ever after. Those endings are invariably a total let down. Equally, the fantasy aspect of the plot should be more than just a vehicle for the romance, the setting more than just an excuse for your plot devices.

The blend of fantasy and romance/erotica can be fantastic. Charles De Lint springs to mind as an excellent example. Or think of the movie Stardust.

My own forays into fantasy love stories can be found at:
On Borrowed Wings
The Girl Who Fell
Illyan Daughter
Strange Fruit
Tara’s Honour

Visit Bryn on the web at:


  1. And here's to the magic of fantasy and long may it survive in our books!

  2. What a wonderful post. A great way to end a week! :)

  3. Hey Bryn,
    Great post. I love the fantasy aspect in romance and the thought that magic can't just easily solve every problem. There are consequences to using magic.

  4. Yes, while fantasy bends some rules like a fun house mirror, others can't be divining up a ::poof!:: happy ending. Characters have to sweat, strain, and work to get what they want...IF, in fact, they're going to get it. Great post!


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