Monday, February 13, 2012

To The Romance Writer

Since we're only a day away from Valentine's, I thought it would be nice to focus on romance writing. Let me say up front that I'm not a fan of most romance novels; those that really get me are the ones that shy away from the typical knight in shining armor routine, have characters that are as unique as the book and a setting that is natural and not over-used.  Let me explain what I mean:

Photo by: CarbonNYC, courtesy of Flickr
  • If the good guy is always saving the day at the end, you haven't got me. If the woman is weak, you haven't got me. A better plot would be one where the woman is strong and can handle her life with or without the man. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for marriage and all that, I just think that the end of a story, especially the end of a romance, needs to take the reader off the beaten path, which brings me to my next concern.
  • Idaho Falls Campus, Idaho National Laboratory, courtesy of Flickr 
  • Setting. Overused are those settings that we always think of when it comes to romance. Paris. Italy. The Hawaiian Islands. Cancun. What if the romance occurred in an out-of-the-way place like Idaho or West Virginia? 
  • Photo by Cwasteson, courtesy of Flickr
  • Characters. When it comes to romance characters, quite honestly many of them are above human. Just substitute a different name and you have the same broad chested man that was in the last book. Please understand; I think romance characters need to be nice looking; we might not read a romance with a pot-bellied man as a main character, but consider this: many of us our dealing with men and women in real life that are not so perfect.
Okay, perhaps that's why you read romance, to escape. Maybe you write it to do the same, but it would just be refreshing if I could pick up a romance book and be pleasantly surprised. There is room in life for that, too.

I would love to read a romance like the movie, "You've Got Mail," except I'd have the main character keep her book store in the end, and I would expect the man in the story to want her to.

Take a look at the Jane Austen books. Sure, they have good looking men, but the main character doesn't always marry the best looking man, because, in the end, he isn't the best man for her. She may struggle with marriage, she may not even want to get married. In the end, she may find that she prefers the single life.

And can I say a bit about sex? Remember the movie, "Somewhere in Time?" Remember that tasteful bedroom scene? Remember how beautiful the scene was because of the lack of other things? Why can't a romance be more like that? Why do some romance books have to be so explicit?

Okay, I've said my peace.



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