An Unromantic’s Attempt to Write Romance–Roasting and Ranking (most) All of the Couples I’ve written

Hullo friends!

So last year a post landed on Valentine’s day; I wrote about some of my favorite fictional romantic couples, from the perspective of a non-romantic (which is what I am).

Somehow, it’s my most viewed post of all time.


So apparently you people enjoy when I torture myself (and you) with discussion of romance stuff.

Thus, we are doing another Valentine’s post this year. Except I’m excited about this one for my own entertainment as well.

We are going to go through (almost) all of the romantic couples I’ve written and roast/rank them.

Yep, that’s the post. I’m also going to attempt to assign a song (folk or indie singer/songwriter, which is the other genre I listen to regularly) to each couple. Just because I think it would be amusing.

Sidenote: I conceived and began writing this post, and then was tagged by my dearest Nutmeg for this tag. Which is basically what I’m already doing, except without the roasting and with snippets.

So the only change I’m really making is adding snippets. Everybody go read Nutmeg’s post because her couples are 10x more charming than mine.

Okay, tallyho.

#12: Phoebe and Adam, The Seventh Wish

These two were from my first real novel project. I was a fourteen year old with dreams of becoming a novelist who had just read Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I had no concept of subtlety, and really no concept of romance other than mutual crushes (which is as it should be for fourteen.)

I mean. She was a textbook ‘not like other girls’, he was a textbook ‘goody-two-shoes’. She was a mess, he had everything together. She was an overwhelmingly confused agnostic, he was bang-you-over-the-head-with-a-Bible religious.

They were clearly well-matched (I hope you can hear the sarcasm in my voice).

It resulted in such glorious awkwardness as this:

Taking a deep breath, he muttered, “I don’t want to lose you like I lost Kit. Kit was my sister, my confidante, my friend…you’re all these to me. And maybe, someday, something more. If you die, I will never forgive myself.”

*wilting from the Authoress*

That’s it guys. I’m handing in my pen. This is second-hand—or kind of first hand, I guess–embarrassment at its finest.

How did I possibly manage to make them constantly friendzone each other while also being the absolute cringiest teenage ship I have ever encountered?

It’s honestly quite incredible that I managed to accomplish both things at once so wholeheartedly.

At least I killed one of them before it got out of hand…even if that did add to the angst.

Ugh. Guys. Why were any of us ever fourteen.

If I must choose a song for these two I shall choose this Gaelic song, just because it’s meant to be a kind of innocent crushing-on-somebody song, and for all my terrible results, these first attempts were well meant and as innocent as they come.

But I feel it’s really not fair to this song to associate it with this…situation.


Okay, let’s just get away from here ASAP.

#11: Fiadh and Aine, A Blind Man’s Tales of Emberwood

Okay, don’t let the sappy aesthetic fool you. These two are terrible for each other. They’re from the project I unequivocally consider to be my biggest disaster/mistake. And not in any way because it was inherently bad. The worldbuilding, plot, and to a certain extent even characters of a Blind Man’s Tales of Emberwood was actually some of my best work. And the project certainly took me the most work. (450 pages of the stuff.) But the execution! Guys I don’t know what kind of hole my brain was living in (actually, I do know, but I’d rather not say), but Emberwood happens to be the angstiest, most mind-numbingly melodramatic thing I’ve ever written. I had no excuse of being a comparitively new writer, like I did for the Seventh Wish. It was just insufferable. I realized that in the middle of the climax and entirely abandoned the thing as a result. But I do hope and plan to rewrite it sometime.

However. Whenever I do, I need to make some changes to these two. Fiadh and Aine are possibly the most YA thing I’ve ever written.

Okay, let me correct that. Aine is the most YA thing I’ve ever written. Fiadh is only slightly YA. I still love Fiadh. A lot. He’s one of my best characters. But he did not in any way shape or form deserve to get stuck with Aine. And it makes me mad that I put them together. Aine is insufferable. It’s like if Jim from the Office ended up with Kelly. It’s like if Mr. Darcy did actually marry Caroline Bingley. Actually it’s worse than that, because Fiadh isn’t near as arrogant as Mr. Darcy.

Case in point, Aine ought to conveniently fall off a cliff and rid the story of her angst. The story has about a million issues and Aine is 2/3 of them (any story is ruined, after all, by an insufferable protagonist, and she certainly is that). Fiadh also has a lot of issues he’s facing, and Aine is 4/5 of those.

(She’s also the POV character in the snippet below.)

“Well, yes, I’m older than ten. I’m Fiadh. What’s your name, little one?”

And he extended his hand to her; it practically swallowed her chubby toddler paw as she offered it with the solemn announcement,

“I am Máire.”

Fiadh shook it gravely. “Well, Máire, would you like a ride?”

She nodded, pleased, then lost her dignity in a squeal of delight as he hoisted her onto his towering shoulders. 

I couldn’t help smiling myself as we trotted along, Fiadh bouncing a little for Máire’s benefit, as she grinned proudly atop her perch.

“You know,” remarked Fiadh, “you’re the tallest person in the whole camp now. You’re even taller than me!” 

She giggled, as he continued,

“I suppose that must make you…well, the Queen. Don’t you think the tallest girl should be the Queen?”

And he winked impishly me at me.

I laughed, and replied,

“Well, maybe he’s right. Queen Máire does have a nice sound to it, don’t you think?”

She nodded, and said, raising one hand, her pointer finger in the air, while the other clutched Fiadh’s dark hair for balance,

“Queen Máire! Charge, horsey!”

The horsey obliged, whilst the Queen shrieked with laughter in a most unseemly fashion. I couldn’t keep up with the charge at all; we were about at the middle of the camp, and the Queen and her mount galloped all the way to the last tent and back while I stood watching (and laughing, in spite of myself. Tall Fiadh looked so comical, running wildly and making hoof noises with his mouth, as his imperious monarch directed him from his head).

Did I mention she’s under five feet and he’s a giant (7 feet) due to…some interesting heritage?

Basically, she couldn’t be worse for him, and I will die on that hill.

However, I shall obligingly give them a song all the same. I’m not sure why I had Send in the Clowns on my Emberwood playlist, but I think it very well illustrates Aine’s self-centered, self-deprecating nature, which is the reason this would never work (like the relationship in Send in the Clowns). Plus, the Voces8 version of Send in the Clowns is just glorious. So there you have it.

#10: Sorcha and Irimias, A Blind Man’s Tales of Emberwood

Here we have yet another problematic Emberwood couple, although they’re not nearly as problematic as the last. It’s about the same formula, though. Irimias is a golden retriever personality with a tragic backstory. Sorcha is a tragic backstory with a ruined golden retriever personality. If they hadn’t been in love before Sorcha lost her golden retriever-ness, they’d have zero excuse. As it is, they have very little. Irimias really ought to understand that Sorcha needs to get over herself and her trauma before getting involved anybody. And Sorcha doesn’t seem to have any interest in getting over her trauma. So they’re destined to fail.

Conveniently, one or both (not saying which it is) of them dies before it can go too far.

You may be noticing a pattern here. You’d be correct in your noticing. I had made it a habit and almost a rule to kill off at least one member of a couple in each of my stories. I’ve since broken the habit and erased the rule, but I did not get over my vicious obsession with breaking up romances until Molly From Hugo.

So yeah. That’s a thing.

“Ah—see, you’re still the same person in some areas. Now, let’s try one last thing, but this time, I have a question, not a statement, and I’m going to try to guess the answer. What do you love most in the world, object-wise?”

It was a familiar question, and both of our faces twisted into looks of reminiscence. I had asked her that a long time, before we were courting, as a supposed joke, and then brought her as much as I could of the answer to signify my interest in her. She had been so delighted…

There were no flowers in this place to bring her, but if there had been, and if it would help, I would’ve brought armfuls. 

She leaned forward, and now we were practically nose to nose. 

“I have a question for you. What’s the point of all this?”

I sighed. “I just want to know.”

“Sure you do. I don’t trust you, Irimias, and I don’t like flowers anymore.”

“What do you like now, then? I’m just wondering.”

“Nothing. If you’re going to sit up, I may as well go to bed. Goodnight.”

And she flopped down on the ground without another word. 

I remained awake, staring into the fire, my own hair falling into my face, my wounds smarting like the devil, and I wondered whether I had told the truth.

What were my motives in trying to get to know her again? 

Did I have a reason?

I didn’t know.

I just…missed her.

Yes, Sorcha. I still miss you. I miss the old you, the one who laughed only occasionally, but smiled much, the one who loved flowers and baked the best bread in the camp, the one who would take my hand with that trustful, innocent look in her eyes as though I was the best man in the world, the only man in the world. 

But it’s too late to get you back.

I suppose, then, my motive is simple.

I want to know what this new Sorcha is like.

And I want to see if somewhere, buried in there, there is my Sorcha, the one that I fell in love with. 

No matter how futile an endeavor it is.

*facepalms* Guys the angst here is palpable.

(what does it mean to ‘palp’ something? I think that’s the real question here.)

As for a song, I shall relent and give them a song that is very clearly about romance. Beeswing is kind of a cautionary tale–and I feel like this romance is sort of a cautionary tale as well. They may not be the same cautionary tale, but I think the song still makes sense for them.

#9: Alisdair and Rhonwhen, The Weakling’s Diary

Okay, so there’s really absolutely nothing wrong with these two aside from the fact that they’re boring.

Hear that? You’re boring, Alisdair. I don’t care that you carved a pendant for Rhonwhen. I don’t care that Rhonwhen came and looked after you when you got injured by a troll. You’re really not that cute. You’re just boring.

I can already hear the friends that have read the Weakling’s Diary complaining in the comments, but I’m afraid this is just the way of things. Alisdair and Rhonwhen were wholesome, tropey, and predictable. Nothing to remark on, except that I somehow managed to write a couple that wasn’t unbearable.

Well, not much of great consequence has happened, that’s for sure; much time is spent inside during the winter, mending things, eating preserved foods—and just being with one’s family. We three bachelors have managed tolerably well for food; every few days Rhonwhen and Aithne come and cook what they call, “a real dinner”, and that’s a nice change.

 Alasdair has healed completely of course; the only remaining sign of that horrible wound is some occasional trouble breathing. Tam and he are still less merry than of old, but losing both parents in the course of two weeks would do that to you…Rhonwhen and Alasdair are to be married in exactly two months from today; it makes me smile to see them together, they seem so happy and at peace…

yes, this whole book was written in journal format. Hence ‘The Weakling’s Diary.’

Yep. They’re predictably, wholesomely vanilla. For which reason I shall assign them this Gaelic song, because it’s also pretty predictable and vanilla, although also very beautiful.

#8 and #7: Ayun and Aithne, Natarr and Fianna, The Weakling’s Diary

I’m combining these two because I can’t decide which is preferable–also because they may as well be the same couple. Also because this post is getting atrociously long.

Both couples are only slightly less meh than Alisdair and Rhonwhen. Only remarkable thing is both of the dudes are messed up due to generational trauma (makes sense since they’re twin brothers) and both of the girls become their reason to improve themselves.

Which is nice. But I also don’t care that much. It’s kinda predictable. My brother once went on a rant about a different couple of mine, saying that I had only put them together because I was ‘playing Barbie with my characters, decided they both needed somebody, and decided to stick them together!’ While he was incorrect about that couple, that statement would be right about both of these pairs.

I mean, the book literally starts with Natarr getting arranged-marraige betrothed to Fianna, and Aithne confessing her attraction to Ayun. So even though I like both couples, the characters kind of feel like they only exist to be coupled. Which I have learned leads to some major problems in writing romance.

I like them better than Alisdair and Rhonwhen, but I still don’t think they deserve to be put any higher.

I’m not going to bother with a snippet or a song either. Mostly because I feel like y’all get the idea. They’re pretty stereotypical. I was in a stereotypical phase of my writing journey when I wrote that book.

Aside from the worldbuilding. The worldbuilding was good and that is yet another hill I will die on.

#6: Tom and Sarah, For Old Time’s Sake

I kind of feel like I more need a tier list than a ranking at this point. Because I think these two really belong on the same tier as the previous three pairs.

They’re fine. They’re good. But there’s absolutely nothing left to guessing about them.

Yet…I kind of feel like their charm lies in their predictability, in their lack of drama or ‘romantic tension.’

He walked off. Sarah watched him, pitying him. He looked as lonely as she was.

She didn’t realise she had said it aloud (albeit quietly) until Tom tut-tutted and said,

“Well, you need to come for dinner too then, Miss Sarah.”

“Oh—I didn’t mean to say that–I’m sorry–”

“About what…?”

“That I’ve made you feel bad.”

“You haven’t. I just don’t like to see you unhappy.”

She blushed. “You hardly know me.”

Tom laughed. “Maybe, but I don’t like to see anybody unhappy, and especially people I’ve taken a fancy to.”

She turned even redder. “What do you mean, you’ve taken a fancy to me?”

“Well, I…” 

Tom scratched the back of his neck; she was worried she had upset him. Finally he said, with a grin,

“Hang it all. I’ll show [REDACTED] how it’s done. Yes, Miss Sarah, I fancy you. I don’t know as I intend to do anything about it currently, because I’m too much of a mess myself to get involved with anybody else, but it’ll definitely incline me to hang around you a bit more, if that’s all right.”

Yep. They’re boring but cute enough. I feel like they’re one of the more realistic couples on this list, also. They’re just kinda…there. No drama. No ‘will-they-won’t-they.’ Just vibing wholesomely in the background. Which is honestly, in my limited experience with and observation of healthy Christian romance, kinda how it is. Not much to note. They like each other, they court each other, they end up married. They have their disagreements, but overall they get along great. Ta-da.

For reasons I really can’t remember, I always considered this Arcadian Wild song to be their theme.

#5: Eabha and Eoghan, The Irony of the Shadows

We’re actually getting into couples I think are good now, so I’m afraid I don’t have much roasting to do. Yes, these two are the ‘arranged marriage’ trope. Yes, he starts the story off as a jerk who doesn’t deserve her. But I also really enjoyed using this romance as a means to play with the philosophy and theology of gender roles (I hate that term; it sounds woke) and just in general the philosophy and theology of marriage. So even though they’re tropey–I’m sorry, I just really like them still.

Eabha, hovering back still, heard the announcer say Sigrid’s name. She heard the gasp of awe and the applause that went up as Sigrid swept down the stairs in glories of crimson silk and chestnut hair. She bit her lip. What was she, Eabha, doing here? Why was she here—here in this sultry, tainted hall full of rich, snobby, flippant people who probably knew nothing of all that she held so dear.

That’s why. She was there to show them. She wouldn’t speak, she wouldn’t preach. 

She’d just show. She’d be a visual sign of all that she knew was good and wholesome and important, no matter how simple those things were.

And this old coat…how could she be that visual sign without it?

It positively screamed, ‘I’m poor. I’m faithfully married. And that’s good.’

She set her teeth and thrust her hands into the coat pockets as the announcer called her name. She hated being humiliated, but if Cliodhna and Diarmid and Eoghan could make great sacrifices away on their quest, if Juska could faithfully await Arne for three years, if Arne could suffer in prison for that same time—by Ost, she could do this little thing for the heart of her future queen and thus for Taladh. She stepped out and began to walk down the stairs, eyes scanning the crowd. Most of them looked shocked or disgusted—some looked positively horrified. There were general murmurs of indignance and disdain. At the bottom of the stairs, Sigrid was practically breathing fire judging by the expression on her face. 

But Eabha walked on down, quietly, with no defiant looks or flair, her husband’s sea-coat wrapped around her as his arms had never been. And she wore who she was, quite literally, on her sleeve. 

She never looked back. 

So yeah. I dinna ken. I just like ’em. And while they don’t start the story off with a lot in common, they’ve both got a nearly unpronounceable Gaelic name (you actually just say Owen and Ava, but it looks real messy), so they’ve got that much going for them.

While it’s not technically a love song, I’m going to assign them the Arcadian Wild’s ‘The Storm’, because I feel like it’s very applicable.

#4: Charles and Anne, Molly From Hugo

Finally we get to these two! Guess what–they’re as tropey as it comes! While they themselves aren’t angsty, they have a supremely angsty storyline! I don’t care a whit! I love them to death. They’re wholesomely married at the beginning of the story, even if they spend practically the whole book apart. In case you can’t tell, I have a thing for couples that are married or about to be married by the time the book actually starts. I just really like married couple romance. It’s just good.

I really don’t have much else to say about them.

“Any other plans?”

         The two exchanged glances again, and Charles said, with a sly grin,

         “Bask in each other’s company, obtain a coat that fits, drink tea—I did miss tea dreadfully—play music together, and generally enjoy scandalously impractical luxuries.”

         “Tea hardly sounds scandalous, impractical, or luxurious,” remarked Gregor dryly.

         “It is when you’re in jail,” said Charles.

         “Touché. Still—scandalous impractical luxury isn’t the best plan if you actually mean it in regular terms.”

Charles shook his head, and winked at him, and Gregor added,

“Although I wouldn’t mind hearing some of that music you mentioned.”

  “I honestly don’t know if I can still play the banjo,” Charles muttered. “It’s been so long.”

       “If it makes you feel better,” said Anne, squeezing his hand, “I don’t think my fingers remember their skill on the fiddle either.”

And for their song, I feel like I must, absolutely must, assign them Stephen Foster’s Angelina Baker. Because Charles is meant to be Stephen Foster, and Anne’s full name is, in fact, Angelina Baker, in tribute to that song. So even though the plot isn’t applicable to them at all, that’s what I’m going to give ’em.

Although amusingly, The Ballad of Donnie Gene is the song I always thought of as theirs. I guess I’ve just reassigned it now haha.

#3: Ardan and Gretta, A Blindman’s Tales of Emberwood

Okay, somehow, with all the disaster contained in a Blindman’s Tales, there was one decent couple in there. One couple that was good enough to make it into the top 3 couples on this list, moreover. Was there still angst? Absolutely. A hallmark of Emberwood was too much angst. Every single one of the characters was in their ‘It’s not a phase, Mom!’ stage of life.

Except Ardan. Who was not in the slightest going through a phase, unless the phase was ‘lovably stupid moral center of the story.’

Because Ardan was 100% the moral center of the story. And Gretta was Ardan’s reason to be the moral center. Which is why their romance kind of worked when none of the others did. Both of them were great characters, but they sort of needed each other in a wholesome way that the other couples didn’t. Plus, I think I wasn’t trying too hard with them. Which definitely helped.

I should probably mention that they meet thanks to Ardan getting captured by slave traders and sold to the mining barons of the mountains, who’ve formed a slave empire, of which Gretta is a very small, very wholesome member. Ardan takes it upon himself to protect Gretta, and Gretta is one of the only bright hopeful spots in the mess of despair that is the empire, so she’s sort of his only encouragement. Not that he needs any encouragement to be stupidly optimistic.

Basically, Ardan is what happens when the wholesome comic relief becomes the secondary protagonist/POV two-thirds of the way through the story. And Gretta is what happens when the writer actually works hard to write a likable female character.

So they’re kind of perfect for each other.

She furrowed her brow for a moment, thinking.

“How about this: somewhere the wind blows, Ardan. If I can have faith in that through everything…maybe…just maybe life will be better.

“I may never feel it on my face. But the fact that it’s there, somewhere, is a great comfort. It’s worth fighting against the system and maybe breaking the rules and keeping up kindness and following God’s law just for the sake of the wind. Or the flowers—I can’t see them bloom, but they’re worth fighting for. Or especially God Himself. He’s not…not for me to hope for, perhaps…but love of Him, faith in His goodness can still change everything for me.”

I wrinkled my nose.

“How can you go on, keeping up your ideals and your faith and your hope based on such little things as the wind?”

She smiled. “Surely you understand that. I’ve seen you full of joy over nothing but somebody giving you a cup of water.”

“But is somebody giving you a cup of water worth fighting for? Worth dying for? Or harder still, worth living for?”

“If you thank Heaven for it, then by all means yes.”

So yeah. Despite the fact that the execution of the thematic implications of their romance was as hamfisted as it comes, but I still think they’re one of my better couples.

Weirdly, I’m inclined to put La Belle Fleur Sauvage here. It’s not a folk song, unlike all the others, but it feels like the right vibe. I’m not sure why.

#2: Arne and Juska, The Irony of the Shadows

These two are predictable as punch. Pretty similar to Charles and Anne in terms of storyline–couple married well before the story started, something happens to the guy, everybody takes him for dead and done for, but the girl keeps on waiting for him, so on and so forth. But I really don’t care that they’re predictable and similar to Charles and Anne. I just think they have good chemistry. That’s really what the relative success of my romances come down to. In general (Emberwood aside) my romance ‘plotlines’, if you will, are always pretty darn simple–not much drama. Wholesome in a kinda tropey way–just not using the more ‘toxic’ tropes if you will, lol. So what sets one or the other apart to me as ‘good’ is really just how well I write the chemistry. And I think I really succeeded with these two.

(This is their aesthetic for the second book in the series. They’re not separated and nobody is dead yet. Q.E.D. this is their only happy book.)

Juska shrugged. “I’m not quite sure.”

“You think she’s all right?”

That was from Arne, sitting on the floor with his back leaning against the wall and his feet stretched towards the fire. He was only a foot or two from her wheel, and she knew he had sat there rather than in the chairs so as to be closer to her.

She nodded, but did not stop spinning.

“Oh yes, she’s fine. She just…doesn’t always like to come over, you know.”

“It must get quite lonely over there with Eoghan gone,” remarked Arne.

Brosnan and Juska exchanged dubious glances, and Brosnan muttered,

“Probably lonelier when he’s actually over there.”

Arne nodded. “Mm. Seems he doesn’t pay too much attention to her, it’s true. I’d like to beat him up for it when he comes back—may I, Father?”

His casual tone sent both his listeners into a gale of laughter, but he said, with a half-smile,

“I’m dead serious. Somebody needs to knock him into line. I’ll teach him to treat my sister that way, you see if I don’t.”

“Oh Arne, no fights just yet—you’ve not yet gotten over the shipwreck and the prison,” scolded Juska, her eyes still fixed on the spinning wheel.

“Yes, I have—I’m fit as a fiddle.”

He decidedly wasn’t—his cheeks were hollow, and didn’t seem to be filling. He was still painfully thin—and despite—or perhaps because of—the brisk pace he consistently kept, he always limped when he walked. It had actually been worrying her quite a bit.

“Well, anyway, son, I’m not sure that beating Eoghan up is the best way to get him to treat Eabha right,” said Brosnan, leaning back in his chair and folding his arms. 

“What is then? Because whatever it is, as family to both of them, we need to do it.”

A pause whilst Brosnan thought this over. Arne leaned over to tug on Juska’s apron with a plaintive,

“Hey, why can’t you sit down here by me? Haven’t you done enough spinning?”

She really ought to do more, but his eyes were pleading—and sincerely so, not in a joking or flirtatious fashion. She thought of all the evenings she had spent without him, all those days he had spent sitting in jail with her nowhere near his side. And she said,

“All right, I’m coming.”

As for a song, this particular Gaelic piece has been their theme time out of mind. Well…that and this choral piece by Eric Whitacre…but we don’t talk about that part of their story.

Yep. Moving on. Homestretch people.

And my number one best couple, according to my good self is…

#1: Mr. and Mrs. Crawford, Molly From Hugo and Associated Acts

I’m going to be referring to these two only by their last names, just because the very existence of one of the two in a romantic pairing is a spoiler.

Anyway. So these are the two that my brother insisted I was ‘playing Barbie’ with. What’s hilarious is that of all the couples on this list, this is THE ONLY ONE that I went into the story vehemently against becoming a thing, and in fact actively trying to not make a thing.

I didn’t want to ship them. I just didn’t. I don’t remember why. I think I thought it would distract from the more important parts of the story to have them chemistry-ing in the background. So at first I actively tried to not write them that way.

Fortunately, it didn’t work. I admitted to defeat to myself before I was even done the first book, and allowed them a smidge of purposeful romantic tension in a singular scene. I wanted to see if the readers jumped to shipping them despite my attempts to make it otherwise.

The responses, with the exception of my brother, were overwhelmingly positive. I think almost everybody that read the book was all ‘GRIM THESE TWO SHOULD GET MARRIED’ at the end, despite my not telling anybody I thought they had chemistry, and despite my actively trying to squash said chemistry. Even my brother’s response verified my guess; he usually tolerated my romances, but for some reason this accidental romance was absurdly obvious and overwrought to him. And this is the kid that did not understand the protagonist’s romance in It’s a Wonderful Life.

So yeah. I admitted defeat. I went forth with the good will of all men, and I gave the people what they apparently wanted. It was an extremely popular move. Almost everybody in my large and diverse (meaning age and state in life, of course) circle of friends has read my book (they’re all wasting their time), and everybody from the military guy to the 11 year old rapscallion to the middle-age mom to the teenage girls have at the very least not minded, and at the best, particularly loved this couple.


I finally renounce my notion that a novel must have at least one ‘unmarried’ romance, and give in to my unromantic’s heart by quashing such ideas. Then I accidentally write the best romance I’ve ever written.

I give up.

But I will admit that I, too, really love this couple. I think it’s that it’s a mature romance (meaning, between older folks). I’m a sucker for that.

I’m also a sucker for both Mr. and Mrs. Crawford on their own. In fact, they are my 2/3 of my three favorite characters from the series. So I guess it would make sense that I like them together.

Still. I’m salty that this turned out the way it did. Not displeased, just salty. What gives.

Tom stared, then stammered,

“By George—just like that?”

“Just like that,” said Mrs. Crawford, grinning, from the depths of Mr. Crawford’s coat.

 “Why—why—we should’ve made a wedding cake!” stuttered Sarah, shooting an accusing glance at Tom. “Or a proper dinner at the very least!”

“I had no way of knowing!” protested Tom, and Mr. Crawford said,

“What did you make, steeple?”

“Flapjacks,” said Tom, in a glum tone.

“I love your flapjacks Tom,” said Mrs. Crawford, smiling, and Mr. Crawford added,

“Additionally, it means Mrs. Crawford won’t have to cook, which is what I’d prefer, considering she’s been cooking for us for weeks. Flapjacks are delicious, steeple, and I’m hungry as a bear. Let’s eat.”

Tom smiled. “All right then. Let’s—it’s all laid out—I’m not sure if we should say congratulations to you people, considering how sudden and chaotic you seem to want this to be—”

“No, don’t say congratulations,” said Mrs. Crawford. “Just pretend it’s been this way all along.”

Mr. Crawford nodded, and Tom and Sarah looked at each other and shrugged. Tom muttered,

“You two are hopeless. I try to get you together for ten years and you stubbornly resist it; I leave for an afternoon and you’re married by the time I get back. Ah well. Let’s eat flapjacks, then. Welcome home, Mr. and Mrs. Crawford.”

And so they all settled round the table and ate flapjacks, while the sleet beat the windows, and the fire crackled, and Mrs. Crawford’s wedding ring glittered in the lamplight.

And I’m out of songs. Get over it.

Wrap Up

So what have we learned today kids?

  1. Grim, for all she’s not a romantic, has written a lot of romance in her near-on ten years of writing.
  2. But Grim has also kept up her image by constantly killing off members of those couples.
  3. Grim seems to have a thing for wholly or partially Gaelic romance songs.
  4. Grim can waffle on even about romance for an entire 5.5 thousand words.

And that is all.

Thank you for reading, my friends! if you got to the bottom, you deserve a medal. I hope you enjoyed this little peek into an unromantic’s attempt to write romance. I will be coming back next week with my Mardi Gras post, which will be a folk music/personal Q&A. Although as of yet, only one person has had any questions for me, so if that remains the case, I’ll be supplementing those questions with the WordPress prompts. Which, having noted that they are amusingly dumb 90% of the time, I have been stacking up for a comedic round of ‘question answering’ anyhow. So that’ll be fun.

But if you do have any questions, please feel free to ask. Goodness knows I owe you answers about something if you read this far.

God bless you my friends and take care of yourselves!

6 replies on “An Unromantic’s Attempt to Write Romance–Roasting and Ranking (most) All of the Couples I’ve written”

This was a Great Deal of Fun, and I eminently enjoyed it. 🙂

It’s funny–you say that you’re a non-romantic, but you’ve written far, FAR more romances in your time writing than I have, which I think is amusing. Anywho.

Oh my goodness, that snipped from #12 is definitely the kind of thing that causes authorial wilting. I’m sorry. XD (My fourteen-year-old self was surprisingly free from angst, but I agree with the general sentiment of ‘why were any of us ever fourteen’. XD)

Aww, but that Fiadh and Aine snippet is SO CUTE! (Though it’s cute because of Fiadh, so I can see your point that you like him and not her, lol.)

And even though you think that the angst is palpable, the Sorcha/Irimias snippet hit me in the chest, just a leeeetle, as did the aesthetic.

WHY IS THERE A BABY GOAT IN THAT ONE AESTHETIC, I MUST KNOW. (Cuz that baby goat looks a LOT like one of our baby goats, and is SUPER CUTE.)

Maybe I need to read For Old Time’s Sake now? maybe? I’m still scared, lol.

(But okay, why did BLANK and Tom from Molly From Hugo not make it onto the list? That was totally a thing. It was. Don’t even try to tell me it wasn’t.)

I lowkey, as the kids say, want to know more about Eabha & Eoghan.

WHY ARE CHARLES AND ANNE FOURTH? I will not believe that they are anything less than second or first. Just saying. (Because they are STUPID ADORABLE and gave me Feelings.)

Awww, Mr. & Mrs. Crawford might be a reason for me to read For Old Time’s Sake. I’m just very happy about them. Just like the rest of the populace. (Get over it, lol.) (Although I love Charles & Anne more, for the record.)

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Okay you gotta understand something: Grim, even at her Grimmest, has a few odd ideas about what should be in every good novel. And one of them that I held for years and years was that a well rounded epic novel should have at least one unresolved romance. I.e. unmarried, and preferably not properly together. And then Grim is also genuinely fond of a good resolved romance and so will put those in at her own whim. That, and being a generally profusive writer is what led to all these romance. Write as many books as I have under those rules and you end up with a lot of couples. As I said above, heh, I only abandoned those rules for the first time with Molly…and of course then I finally managed to write a good unresolved romance while actively trying not to. *rolls eyes*
Yeah. *tries to think of something to say but then just wilts further* Just….yeah.
See?! Fiadh is great. I love him so much. As a pair they’re horrible. She doesn’t deserve him. I do think Sorcha and Irimias are salvageable though. If I ever do a rewrite, I’ll be leaving their plotline in for sure.
Because goats are a vital part of the worldbuilding and basically responsible for the survival of the wood cutters village that much of the story takes place in! I hope that’s a satisfactory answer lol.
Y’know, I’ve yet to tell you this, but you are in a perfectly legitimate camp of people. I’ve had two basic response to FOTS. 1. people who are skeptical of it, then read it and love it as well or more than the original. 2. people who staunchly refuse to read it because they think I made a bad decision to write it at all. I have yet to have anybody read it and think it’s terrible. If that’s any comfort to you. 😛 But you are also welcome to stay in the valid confines of camp 2.
(WHY DOES EVERYBODY SAY THIS IS A THING. WHY IS IT THAT I ACTIVELY AVOID UNRESOLVED ROMANCES AND SUDDENLY EVERYBODY’S SHIPPING EVERYBODY. BLANK WAS FOURTEEN. SHE IS ALLOWED TO HAVE CRUSHES BUT SHE IS NOT OLD ENOUGH TO BE SHIPPED. *takes deep breath, then scowls* Despite that…everybody seems to ship them. I even had one reader (the rough and tumble military blue-collar man, at that) say the main problem he had with the conclusion for BLANK was that it ruined the ship.)
Well, whenever I finish the Molly series and move on to writing theirs you’ll be hearing quite a lot about them… 😀
Yeah, I never really felt like Charles and Anne were too convincing. I guess that’s why they were 4th.
But I do love Mr. and Mrs. Crawford. And I would argue that they make FOTS worth it. 🙂
Thanks Sam! I really enjoyed this comment. As you may be able to tell by my monster response, lol.


I love this. Wholesome couples are worth celebrating, I must say. I love wholesomeness. Mr. and Mrs. Crawford do sound kind of precious. But also trauma and angst, though. I relate too much to the over-the-top angst taking over the stories. And I’m not even fourteen anymore.

I really enjoyed all of the snippets!

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Thank you Sponge! I loved writing it. And I have enjoyed writing all these wholesome couples, even if I don’t enjoy looking back on some of them haha. And I do still struggle to keep the angst out of the story. It’s a real problem. I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow that.

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I LOVE THIS SO MUCH, GRIM. Let the record state that I voraciously enjoyed this post when first it came out…but I’ve defaulted to voraciously enjoying posts on my phone these days, since usually when I’m on a computer it’s a work computer, and my phone has taken a most unreasonable dislike to commenting on WordPress. *rolls eyes at the phone’s prejudices*

But anyway yes obviously Mr. and Mrs. Crawford are KING and QUEEN, respectively. *bows politely to them each in turn and then both together, as they should always be together*

I DO think it’s rather rough on Tom & Sarah/Charles & Anne to have them so relatively low on the list. I like them both muchly (especially Charles & Anne) (goodness, I just had this wave of remembering Anne as she was in Bk 1, and of how much I love her, and about her HAIR). But then again, I cannot judge the justice of their placements very well, as I don’t properly know the couples who beat them to more honorable seats in the hall of honor.

Alisdair. *pats him on the head* The main thing I remember about him is him getting hurt and lying gingerly on his side for weeks to the point where he was my favorite character cuz I felt so BAD for him. And then more or less refusing to finish the book because I knew things weren’t gonna get any happier for him than they were at that specific point, lol. I’m sure he would still be my favorite, because I dig wholesome vanilla couples. (Although come to think of it, I feel like what I REALLY appreciated about Alisdair was his friendship with Ayun. Yes. They were bros and I…”shipped” isn’t the right term for a bromance, so what is it? Friendshipped? I friendshipped them so hard. AYUN NEEDED SOMEBODY LIKE ALISDAIR and I will leave it at that.) (Also, I just love the name Alisdair.)

And aggggghhhh okay okay okay AGGGGGGGGHHHHHH




I REMEMBER MEETING THEM VIA AESTHETIC THE FIRST TIME AND BEING FLOORED AND SHIPPING IT HARD BUT THE SNIPPET HAS MADE ME SHIP IT EVEN MORE???? I, like, already love them A LOT? Like, enough to not be mad they beat Charles & Anne cuz girl, I can see why you’re proud of them.




To meet them properly.

That is all.

Thank you for this chance to fangirl over the worlds of Grim. It’s been much too long.

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Hey, well, as you know, I find myself unable to comment on your posts at all. *rolls eyes at technology* So we can have a mutual agreement to fangirl over each other’s stuff over other mediums, I suppose.
Yes, they are just the best. But about the ‘always be together’ bit…erm. *dithers* I may have separated them a chapter ago. Sorry.
Yeah, I do like Tom and Sarah, as well as Charles and Anne, but we really don’t get that much Tom and Sarah on a whole. As for Charles and Anne…I dinna ken. They’re comfy and cute in my head, but they don’t stand out. I feel like their chemistry didn’t chemistry as well as some of the other people higher than them. Which is totally fine. They were meant to be a sideshow. But it just means they don’t really stand out in my head.
Okay yes that is actually a really good point about Ayun and Alasdair that I’d somehow have to figure out a way to work in if I ever do a rewrite. Which I don’t really see myself doing because…well, the worldbuilding was good. The characters were decent. But the book was pretty boring and angsty on a whole, I think. Which was maybe one reason why Alasdair-Ayun-bromance (if you will) was so appealing to the reader…’twas quite positive and normal, and interesting in a very normal wholesome way. Y’know?
Aww, you flatter me. *blushes* But yes. I do love the dears so very much. Quite sad they end in such a…ahem…depressing manner. Arne is possibly one of my favorite characters in anything I’ve written? (excluding Molly From Hugo people, he might be my favorite. Molly and A. Acts tend to beat out my other stuff in terms of my favorites, but that’s partially because I put it in a different class in my head. Not because it’s better (though it is), but just because it’s a very different style of worldbuilding and plot and such than any of the rest.) But yes. I really love Arne. Just wholesome jolly big bro with a bad hand of luck. And Juska is just a wholesome demure little wife. Good vibes all round.
Thank you! This comment made my day. 😀 God bless you dear!


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