Romance is a difficult thing to write about. It’s really easy to completely overdo it. On the other hand, one can get stuck in a rut or get lost in all the clichés out there. As for me, I kind of like to put romance to the side. I always have multiple plot lines going at once, and sometimes, yes, romance will be one of those plot lines. But it is rarely, if ever, the main plot. This is merely personal preference. I feel that this keeps things interesting for the reader. Not only that, but it allows for a slightly expanded audience. That is, I suppose it does.
I don’t much care for catering to specific audiences or groups. Anyway, just using these couple things as an example, there are two stories I am currently working on. One of them begins with romance as the center focus in a group of teens/young adults, and I have my main plot line sort of in the back ground. It is there, just written as less important. But where I am in the story now, the main plot is coming to the forefront and the main conflict is being revealed, and it turns out that this lovers’ quarrel that occurs here in the beginning is really just inconsequential. These characters will yearn for the day when that was their biggest concern. Now on the other hand, the other story I mentioned really focuses closely on two characters that are falling in love. This isn't usually my style, but I tend to make exceptions for things like this, that center a lot on the psychological, and are very much grounded in reality - at least as far as human emotions and such go. Continuing, I would say that the overarching plot line is not romance, but I also make a distinction between “overarching plot line” and “main plot line.” To me, “overarching” would be what is happening throughout the story, with or without the main plot line. In this particular story, the two characters are recovering from a negative event in their lives that impacted them traumatically, though each in different ways. Whether or not they fall in love has no impact on this fact, or on the fact that the characters know each other, are hospitalized, and are taking part in various therapy sessions. The “main plot line” is the romance that blossoms throughout the story as they aid each other in overcoming their inner demons and so on and so forth.
Again, I do not enjoy writing or reading anything that is simply “romance.” But if it can be like the story I just described, I do enjoy at the very least writing it. There is a lot of psychological discussion, and a lot of angst. There is, overall, a lot more grit than some sort of fluffy romantic teen romance. I leave nothing out when writing things in a realistic setting. If it is going to be romance, you can forget the bed of roses, and that’s exactly how I like it.