I had good intentions of posting about anything but Valentine's Day and romance today, but it's been the kind of day where I realize that I haven't defrosted the chicken and thereby just give up and have cereal, so ... path of least resistance, here we come!
Recently, a conversation came up on a writer's forum about our favorite / least favorite romantic tropes in fiction, and I confessed a weakness for the best friends who become lovers. As much as it's done or overdone, it's a personal favorite, and it resonates with me. I think what draws me so much to the concept is the fact that the romance is the last step, built on a foundation of friendship, compatibility and trust. The spark isn't unimportant, but it's the last step, the final piece of the puzzle. An answer rather than a question. In fact, there are times when I have to consciously avoid it ...
It's true that sometimes, friends developing into something more can seem lazy ... especially in Hollywood, which sometimes seems at a loss for how to build chemistry between two characters without making it romantic (or one of the pair gay). In some cases, it can come off as obvious and ham-handed, with the reader seeing it well before the characters do. But done correctly, with or without the hide-and-seek of other interests and obstacles, the result is very satisfying: a deep, comfortable sigh.
What's interesting is that I had an inversion of this when writing Pens In Silver And Gold, where I had initially set up just such a relationship ... and it refused to happen. Instead, I ended up with the quarreling, love-hate interaction that frankly, has always been my least favorite trope.
So I suppose what it comes down to is the characters dictate the direction of their hearts. Suspiciously like real life, hmm?