Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Romance is everywhere!

Ah yes, Valentine's Day is almost upon us.  That day when corporate and small town America both turn to thoughts of love and flowers. Romance, as they say, is in the air.

But in the book world romance is around us all the time.

I'm not just talking about Romance books, although given the size of the reader market they command, they need to be looked at seriously.  I'm talking about the"non-Romance" books that still have plenty of love and romance in them.

I am a proud member of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and have learned far more about writing from my chapters and friends in that organization than I ever could have from any other source.  Yet, I  don't write Romance books.  I write SF/F with romantic elements in them.  AKA- my books could technically survive without romance, but it would turn them into flat, heartless versions of what they currently are. The life would be sucked out of them.

And my books are by far not alone in that classification.

All of my favorite books, whether they be Fantasy, Science Fiction, or Mystery, have romantic elements interwoven in them (yes, I have favorite Romance books too, but that doesn't actually help in this example ;)).  Between my own voracious reading as well as years a bookstore manager, I'd say a vast majority of "non-Romance" books out there have romantic elements. Yes, there are some fiction books with no romance, no love, but I'd claim they are a small minority limited to a few sub-genres.

Think about your favorite books, the ones that didn't come from the romance side of the bookstore--chances are there was a romantic element to them.  And most likely they wouldn't be the same story with that element gone.  So romance is not just for "that" section of the bookstore--it's all around us.

Love and romance are part of the human condition. An element that gives way to problems, heartache, feats of great strength, conflict, sacrifice--all parts of a great story.  Is it any wonder that writers from all genres often put it in their stories? How many classics would we have today if the romance was taken out of them? 


  1. So true, Marie. I personally adore the romantic aspects in most stories. Will the two characters we've come to love fall for each other? Will they be able save each other's bacon when the time comes? Will both survive to the end of the story or will one be lost to the other forever? Hope. Angst. Suspense. All great additions to any story.

    The question I pose back to you is: Are romantic elements in a story sometimes there because the author believes they are expected? I often feel that a woman (or man) is thrown into the mix so that a) we have at least one woman (man) in the story and b) having this said extra person increases our audience, or c) it introduces a character that propels the story forward because we now have someone in it that can do stupid things that the hero has to correct or compensate for. Okay, now that I've written it, c might not be a bad thing except for the stupid part.

    Nice, timely post, Marie.

    1. Thanks, Sharon! In answer to the question, I'd say some folks are just adding that extra person in--sadly, it usually shows. But I think most folks with any type of love interest planned it for the very reasons you mentioned. I know when I'm coming up with characters- the leads always come in pairs ;).

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  2. Jane Austen - she's my go-to author for romance AND intelligent observations about society. You're right - those classics wouldn't exist if not for the relationships. :)