I’m kind of a book nut. I read a lot, and I write a lot. And I’m also a girl, and that means I like a bit of lovey-dovey happy-ever-after mixed into my stories. [Obviously…I’m a romance writer!]
I’ve noticed lately that us romance writers tend to take a pretty bad rap. It amazes me that anyone can think that what we do is easy, and it saddens me to think that we have to put up with such nonsense.
I hate to break it to the masses, but no writing is actually “easy.” It doesn’t matter the genre. The technique and basic processes are still the same. Just because we romance writers choose to manipulate emotion instead of worlds or elements doesn’t mean we’re taking the easy road. We’re building a mood and a theme, just like any other author. Only we have to make it tangible and believable because we’re messing with people’s feelings. We want to make our readers feel what our hero and heroine feel. Deep down. On a fundamental level. It’s the whole point of romance – to fall in love over and over again.
And then there’s the sex.
Sex throws romance into a whole different category, because reviewers – at least before the coming of 50 Shades of Grey – had a bad habit of looking at romance with erotic elements as “lowbrow” or “trash” and I’m so very sorry… but it is neither. Sex is a tool used to convey emotion without speech. If it’s done properly, it’s a very powerful tool. Granted I don’t believe in sex for the sake of sex in fiction – it has to move the plot along in some way – but I don’t see anything wrong with a physical display of emotion.
Obviously. I have kids.
If you want a good article that shows exactly what goes into writing a successful romance novel, Read This Article. This says it more eloquently than I ever could.
I recently received a review for Loki’s Game that struck a nerve. Actually I think it was an unconscious catalyst for this post now that I think about it. The review itself didn’t bother me in the slightest because I’ve learned to take them with a grain of salt. It was a snide comment the reviewer made in the review about being unwilling to admit to college friends that my book was on her list because of its genre and plot content. Honest, yes, but overall an unfair and unnecessary comment. Oh, and a low blow to someone struggling to gain ground in an over-saturated market.
I completely understand that not everyone is going to like everything s/he reads. I definitely don’t. That doesn’t bother me at all because I’m very much the type that will admit if something isn’t my cup of tea. To be perfectly honest I’m not the biggest fan of reading romance novels because they seldom live up to my expectations. However, I know what goes into writing a romance novel, which means I respect the trade.
And we don’t just manipulate emotions. If we’re writing contemporary romance we have to worry about believable settings and situations. If it’s historical, then it has to be accurate. If it’s paranormal, then we’re bouncing between romance and whatever particular mythos we chose to write about.
Suffice it to say, writing romance is not the cakewalk many believe it to be. It takes careful plotting and planning. For example: take my contemporary Something in the Air series. It will eventually be four books, and all for happen simultaneously. It’s tough to keep so much straight at one time!
I have four separate sets of characters that all revolve around each other. They’re on a cruise ship together, so they can’t venture too far and they’re all working on the same time frame. I have to make sure that Kelly Ray and Nic in Book 1 don’t do something to upset the timeline Eva has spread before her in Book 2. At the same time I have to keep watch on Dani, because her story intertwines with their stories in Book 3. And Book for gives Trevor his moment in the spotlight.
In addition to a series-based plot, yes my characters do, in fact, have sex. However, the sex isn’t the focus of the story. Nor is it so frequent that it becomes routine and boring. It’s a delicate balance, but one I hope I’ve managed to achieve. My publisher liked it well enough to accept the books, so hopefully my audience will too.
In the end I only ask for two things from the peanut gallery:
(1) Don’t think any sort of writing is any easier or harder than the other. We all go through the same trials to get to the end result.
(2) If you feel the need to criticize, please make sure it’s constructive and the comments you make are something we as authors can learn from. Otherwise you’re just insulting us, and none of us benefit from that.
Oh, and one more thing… Purple Sword Publications has both books on sale 20% off! Click on the pictures and go buy a copy. And while you’re at it, leave me a comment or review to let me know what you thought!