Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Don't Run!

Okay, don't run away. I'm going to talk about Romance today.

Still here? Good.

It's funny how the word Romance can send people scurrying. It happens all the time. For some reason people become very uncomfortable discussing romance. Why?

As humans, I believe we have a need for relationships of all kinds - familial, friendly and romantic. Once people hit puberty, we spend a fair amount of time thinking about romance. It's natural and normal. We want to find that special connection - that relationship that makes us more than who we are on our own.

It's certainly not just about sex - although as we move farther into puberty that plays a part in it. Again - natural and normal.

So why is there such a stigma around the Romance genre? Most romances are about people searching for and finding that connection. Natural and normal. Romances give us what we'd like in the real world - a happy ending.

I want to explore different aspects of the Romance genre over the next while, and I'd love to hear your input.

Do you like books that include a romantic relationship? Do you read romance? Is it hard to admit it? Have you avoided reading romance because of the stigma?

54 comments:

Arlee Bird said...

I read a chick-lit cowboy romance over Christmas holidays. I was impressed by the quality of the writing and technical structure, but the story was a bit much for my tastes. I probably won't read too much more romance, but I do have one waiting to be read.
You might be interested in my Tossing It Out guest on Monday. She's a romance writer and her guest post is quite good and her novels sound interesting for men and women alike.


Lee
A Faraway View

DL Hammons said...

I enjoy a romantic element when it is secondary to the overall plot/premise. This should be an interesting thread your exploring! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Lee - I look forward to it! I love all kinds of stories - romance included! :)

DL - I hope a lot of people feel that way. I'm looking forward to hearing how people react!

And congratulations gentlemen! Not only did neither of you run, but you 2 men are the 1st 2 commenters! Love it! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I don't read romance, but I did include one in my last book. After all, if it wasn't for romance, none of us would be here.

Jemi Fraser said...

Alex - exactly! I think all of my favourite books have some element of romance in them - except maybe the Hobbit :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...
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Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I have to agree with some of the guys that I like romance to be part of a bigger story. I don't have to have a happy ending, either. One of my favorite stories is Tristan and Isolde, who had an extraordinary romance within a society at war. Their sacrifice is heartbreaking, but they end up saving their people's future.

Jemi Fraser said...

Tricia - that story broke my heart when I read it way back. I find the older I get, the more I want those happy endings. Wonder what that means?! :)

LD Masterson said...

I seem to be in the majority her. I don't read straight "romance" but I like a romantic element in my mystery, suspense, whatever. I always include one in my writing as well.

Jemi Fraser said...

Linda - definitely seeing a trend developing here! :) I like stories that cross a few genres too!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

My favourite book and film is PS I LOVE YOU. I saw the author being interviewed at a tv programme I was attending. It is a real tear tear jerker.
Enjoyed your post.

Yvonne.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yvonne - thank you! I can only do tear jerkers at certain times - I'm a bit of a wimp that way! I love that we all have our different versions!

mshatch said...

I love a good romance. In fact, it was the book Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers which not only prodded me to write again (I gave it up for a couple of years when I was very young) but led me to majoring in history. True story! So bring on the romance :)

Jean Oram said...

Yeah, what IS up with the stigma anyway? Hmmm.

Yeah, sometimes I don't like to tell people I love to read and write chick lit. Weird, isn't it? I'm giving people entertainment and fun as well as a happy ending. And hopefully some laughs too.

Jemi Fraser said...

Ms H - awesome! That's a great story! I love how a book really can change a life and a direction!

Jean - I know - it's weird. I've had a hard time saying I write romance, so I figured this was a great way to come clean! A HEA always works for me - and add in a few smiles and I'm all yours! :)

Old Kitty said...

Romance and Stigma?!? Does NOT compute!! LOL!!!

Awwwww who doesn't love a good romantic story!??! Philistines!! Take care
x

Lynda R Young said...

I tend not to seek out romance books, but I love reading stories with romance in them. I'd rather the romance be the subplot.

Elsie said...

I love a good romance included in the plot but not as the plot.

Be well, Jemi =)

Charmaine Clancy said...

I think a lot of people shy away from romance because it can seem like a weakness. We all want to think we're strong individuals and would never go all blubbery over a love interest. I tend to be hard on characters in romance novels because I want them to toughen up and move on.

Jemi Fraser said...

Old Kitty - love it! I do love a good romance too :)

Lynda - I like those kinds of stories too. Have to say I have pretty eclectic tastes :)

Elsie - thanks! I think the majority of people enjoy the relationship aspect as long as it's not the main plot :)

Charmaine - interesting! I've read a few books like that - but not in a while. For the most part I find romance characters to be pretty much the same as other MCs :)

Buttercup said...

I do like romance and enjoy mysteries where there's a human element of romance as well as a murder to solve.

Jemi Fraser said...

Buttercup - I like stories that blend elements of several genres too :)

Angela Ackerman said...

I don't mind romance at all, but it really needs to be fresh. I feel like a lot of the romance I read (YA) tends to be the same. I find I enjoy it best when it isn't the main genre, but more of a side plot.

Angela

(great question, BTW)

Jemi Fraser said...

Angela - thank you! :) A lot of people feel the romance should be a side plot rather than the main focus. With my own story, I think the 2 plots are pretty balanced, so we'll see how that does! :)

Teresa Coltrin@Journaling Woman said...

I used to read romance for the romance of it. Now, I love comedy/romance.

T

Jemi Fraser said...

Teresa - I tend to like soemthing along with the romance - some kind of puzzle or mystery or threat - but comedy is good too! :)

Ciara said...

I write romance, so yes I read it. :) I'm morphing into more sci-fi/fantasy and less romantic elements, but there is something about a great love story.

E.B. Black said...

I write and read romance novels. I've done so regularly since I was 12 years old. I remember reading these books instead of doing homework sometimes and yet, when it came to book reports, I'd shamefully choose some book I hated, completely unrelated to the novels I did like because I didn't want to be mocked by the other kids. And trust me, the other kids mocked me for the books that I did choose (I HATED book reports for this reason) and would have had more fuel if I admitted to liking romance. Also, no one in my family likes romance movies or books. My Mom likes action movies, so she kind of makes fun of them, too. It's something I've gotten used to doing in private and kind of shamefully. I don't know why people encourage others to be embarrassed about it, but they do.

DEZMOND said...

it's true, whenever I write about romantic or positive films at my site, I get the smallest number of visits and comments :( I despise the world for not being romantic and positive :(

Jemi Fraser said...

Ciara - I love a good love story too :) I do like stories that blend in the romance too!

EB - exactly! My folks totally disdain any kind of romance. My mom calls them all trash. Needless to say (although she's a fabulous person & mom) she doesn't have a clue I write :)

Dezzy - that's just sad! It's so frustrating that it's easier to admit to liking things on the darker side *sigh*

L. Diane Wolfe said...

All five of my YA books focused on romance.

Mary said...

I do love a good romance. Actually, it was the first genre I became obsessed with and devoured like it was going out of style. There is a terrible stigma to romance novels, which I totally don't understand. Maybe because of the HEA? Of course life doesn't end with a happily ever after--life is hard. But isn't that why we read fiction? To escape reality?

Jemi Fraser said...

Diane - and you did it well! I think YA has definitely been more romance focused in the past while (or at least the ones I've read!)

Mary - I'm going to talk about the HEA in another post. I wonder if that's part of it too. Real life can be very hard some of the time - finding an HEA (even in a book) is a good thing!

Deniz Bevan said...

I think it's the ridiculous covers. But actually, even though I love writing romance, I find I can't read too much of it. I mean, how many different characters' relationships can you care about? Sometimes you need to read about other adventures in characters' lives too.

Jemi Fraser said...

Deniz - I'm going to devote a post to covers and how they attract and repel various audiences. :) I like to have some adventure or mystery or something else thrown in with the romance too :)

Deniz Bevan said...

Good idea! Author Jo Bourne did a post like that while ago too...

Jemi Fraser said...

Deniz - I don't know her - I'll have to check that out. Thanks :)

Deniz Bevan said...

Then you have three more awesome books to add to your TBR pile, starting with The Spymaster's Lady. Woo hoo!

Jemi Fraser said...

Deniz - I've just checked out her books and her blog - looks fabulous! Thanks again! :)

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...
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Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I like romance best in a novel when it is like seasoning--to enhance a good story. It can be another way in which characters grow and develop (or not).

No running away for me. I'm glad you're taking on this topic. It's worth exploring, I think.

Jemi Fraser said...

Cynthia - great description! Romance can be an awesome seasoning - it can definitely add a little spice! :) (And thank you - it should be fun!)

J.L. Campbell said...

I love me some romance! And I write the stuff. I will admit though that sometimes I do have a complex about it because it's almost as if you're not really a writer if you write in that genre. That said, I also love the HEA aspect after all the struggle.

Jemi Fraser said...

JL - yay! I love the HEAs too. I figure those poor folks have worked so darn hard throughout the book they deserve it! There really is a stigma out there - but hopefully we can open a few eyes :)

Lynn Proctor said...

i have never read much romance except books a friend of mine wrote---and they were okay---although she only wrote them to be published--i think she went on to another style of writing--but many classic books have romance in them!

Jemi Fraser said...

Lynn - they do. So many books have a romantic element, yet straight romance books have such a stigma to them. It's interesting!

Rosalind Adam said...

Maybe a lot of people cringe at romance because they've been stung by divorce and coincidentally the relationship between the two in your photo, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez, was a fiery up and down affair ending in a pretty horrible divorce if I remember correctly.

On the writing side, when I was writing for the women's magazine market they said that romance had been 'done' and that they wanted something fresh, which is a shame because I used to love writing those light-hearted romance short stories but we have to abide by what the publishers want... or do we?

Talli Roland said...

Well, since I write romantic fiction, I have to say yes... I do! :) I generally tend to focus more on the development of the MC than the relationship, though.

Jemi Fraser said...

Rosalind - excellent point! The divorce rate has skyrocketed over the past few decades. Maybe people aren't believing in happy ever after anymore. But, for me, that's one of the strengths of an HEA - hope. Great thinking - you've got me thinking!

Talli - yes, you do! And I think my stories focus more on the individuals as well - as well as the mystery. :)

nutschell said...

I do enjoy good chick lit every now and then, and YA is chocful of romance.

Btw, I just gave you an Award. Drop by my blog when you're free.
Happy Friday!

Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Jemi Fraser said...

Nutschell - thanks so much! I'll pop on over :)

YA really is FULL of romance these days! So many great stories out there :)

Leslie S. Rose said...

Why is it that if you call romance a love story it makes it sound more legit? Weird. I'm a sucker for romance in any way shape or form. Bring it.

Medeia Sharif said...

I think some people equate romance with fluff--conjuring up images of bodice rippers and so forth--which I don't agree with. Romance is a part of life and it runs deep.

Jemi Fraser said...

Medeia - well said! I think a lot of people have a negative impression of romance, and they've never read it :)