As you may have guessed from the pain the Muse experienced on Sunday, I’ve been working on the ending for my current book. You wouldn’t think the end would be a problem in a romance novel. After all, in a romance the man and the woman get together. Period. And yes, that’s the case. But the question is how they get together.  (I don’t mean it that way.  Get your minds out of the gutter.  LOL)

In most books, the world falls apart and is remade again, or the world falls apart and isn’t remade. But almost all the time, the world has to fall apart.

10 Reasons Why I Love Romance Novels



So, I kind of decided that I’m probably going to give up reading romance novels for Lent.

I usually try to give up something I like for Lent, but this year it was hard because I’ve already changed a lot of stuff. There just wasn’t much left.

After some thought, I decided to give up reading romances. I know, I know. It might sound silly to you, but it really will be a sacrifice. Romances are pretty much all I read, and Nalini Singh has a new book coming out on February 28th. Now I’m going to have to wait to get it from the library.

Prince Charming

I read a lot of romance novels. I think we’ve established that already, right? Right.

Anyway, I’ve decided that one of the things I find the most irksome in a romance novel is when the hero is too perfect.

Don’t get me wrong, I hate a perfect heroine too. But usually the author will try to give the heroine SOMETHING to overcome. She is, after all, the main thrust of most romance novels. There are still a lot of heroines who are too perfect for my taste, but they usually have received a few bumps and bruises along the way. That is theoretically what makes them interesting enough to carry a book.

Some Romance Authors I Read

As you may, or may not, know, I own well over 2,000 books. And I’d say that about 1200-1300 of them are romance novels. Have I read them all, you ask? Pretty much. And I’ve actually read more than I own because I periodically feel that I have too many books and try to divest myself – which means after a few weeks I’m out buying more books. Then there’s the library, friends…well, you get the idea.

But it seems to me that there are some romance writers who are very useful to read if you are interested in writing romance, and I thought I would give you four recommendations. These are just my opinions – your mileage may vary.

What’s So Scary About Romance?

You know, when I decided to concentrate on writing romance, I had absolutely no idea that I was threatening the fabric of society as we know it.  And yet, it appears that I am.

In recent months we have seen, first the public “outing” and castigation of a high school English teacher who has been writing erotic romance novels for years.  More recently there was a news report that reading romance novels can be as addictive as pornography, makes women unbalanced, and threatens marriages (presumably around the world).  Obviously there’s a real problem going on here, and it’s all centered around romance.

What Romance Is, and What It Is Not

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a few months ago I had a run-in with a rather rude man at a Barnes and Noble. As a result, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the romance genre, about what it is and what it isn’t. What follows are my humble opinions on this subject, for what they are worth.
What Romance Is
In a romance, whether novel or subplot, two people come together and form an intimate bond. At the end of their story arc, no matter how long it takes to get there, they have remade their world. They are now a unit beyond the sum of their parts. If their world is not remade, the story is not, in my opinion, a romance.  “Happily ever after” is required. Under this definition, a book like Wuthering Heights is not a romance. A book like Pride and Prejudice, however, is.
What Romance Isn’t
In today’s market, Wuthering Heights would probably be considered “chick lit”. I really hate that term, because basically “chick-lit” is just old-fashioned literature written by and about women. Romance can certainly be a part of a “chick-lit” novel, like Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner. But whereas the point of a romance novel is two people learning to become one whole, the point of “chick-lit” tends to be self-discovery.
Romance heroines grow and change and go on journeys of self-discovery too, of course they do. A romance novel would be pretty boring if the hero and heroine didn’t change! It’s just that the main point of a romance novel is the discovery of intimacy with the “other”, and that is not the main point of a “chick-lit” novel.
Because romance deals with intimacy, and intimacy between two adults is often expressed in sex, romance novels contain sex.  The sex is of varying degrees of intensity, depending on author and subgenre. But regardless of erotic content,  a romance novel is NOT erotica or pornography.
In erotica, the individual’s journey of self-discovery takes the form of an exploration of sexuality. The other people involved in those sexual exploits are, so to speak, tools for the journey. It may be that there will be an emotional bond with one or more of them, but that isn’t the point of the story. The point of the story is the sexual exploration.
And porn? Well, what can I say. In pornography both the viewer and the viewed are objects. Ain’t no journey happening there except the journey towards…*cough*… well. Let’s just say that character development is not a priority one way or another.  True intimacy is not involved.
So, there you go. My opinion of what romance is – and what it isn’t.

I’m glad I have a blog now so I can share these deep thoughts with you.  I’m sure you are glad as well. 🙂