As a romance novelist I find it very difficult to get reviewed. It seems writers, bloggers, and everyone else have preconceived notions about what to expect in a romance novel. Generally these expectations are not very positive. I personally am a very selective romance reader. Currently I read only about 4 to 5 authors religiously, and have a hard time getting through a story that is poorly written. I also have had several people who only read "Sci-Fi", "Murder-Mystery" and even YA claim that they enjoy my novels.
I love romance because of the scion of love defying all odds. When done right it is the ultimate feel good story. I want to write good romance that tells a captivating love story. But it's very hard to do without any feedback from writers of other genres.
So I'm wondering how many people decide to not read a book just because it's labeled as romance? And if so please share with me why that is. What are your 'terrible' romance experiences, and what has actually worked for you.
I think if you check your discussions on your main page and click that link it should take you to the page you are on.
What I love about romance novels is how the author portrays the chemistry between the protagonists. No it doesn't have to be erotic and I think that a brilliant author will succeed astonishingly by writing about the underlying waves of strong attractions that go unspoken like in Pride and Prejudice. I thoroughly enjoy a love-hate romance story with favourable and unfavourable twists and turns. I think contemporary Romance authors can derive a lot of inspiration from classic romances like Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte), Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Ann Bronte) Ruth (Elizabeth Gaskell) etc.
What I hate about contemporary romance novels is the erotic part and unfortunately many writers believe that they can sell their work by focusing on this aspect of the story. Explicit love making scenes is too suggestive of low quality writing I think. I am a huge fan of paranormal romances but I get turned off when there is too much meat involved and when the story becomes all too similar with a novel I just read a week ago. Writers of Romance do have to look for certain perspectives that are uncommon and find a really good subject to evoke great readership.
Ahh, wonderful points and good insights Yoshay. Thank you all for this wonderful discourse. I think romance should be thrilling and so many other things. It's hard sometimes to convey in the written word how falling in love feels. However I think this is the challenge of all authors. In horror you have to relate fear, in mystery a sense of confusion, and a puzzle being put together. In YA you have rites of passage and a coming of age.
In romance you have to relate love. Which is by turns all of the above with a side car of tepid awkwardness and uncertainty. There is foolishness, unrest, disclosure, anxiety. . . what else. What are some words that should be used to describe how romance should feel and read?
The one thing I hate about romance books is the loss of privacy.
Everywhere I go I get asked for autographs and photos do to my amazing likeness to Fabio.
I love a good romance. I think, though, that part of the problem is we're all attracted to slightly different things. Some women like nice guys, wome like domineering men. Some like men they can reform. Others have trouble suspending disbelief on that one. (Raises hand!)
Another problem with getting romance reviewed is because it is, just as you said, the ultimate feel-good story. It's a cozy thing, something you read in an afternoon, and that doesn't really change your life. When I first started reviewing on goodreads, I had trouble giving romance novels 5 stars for that reason, but more recently, I realized I was being entirely unfair. Why not give a book 5 stars if it speaks to something in my soul?
I love characters I can relate to. They don't have to be just like me (how could they be?) but they need to gain my sympathy. I want a man and a woman with real problems, and real obstacles. I want to see them overcome those problems in a way that touches my heart. In my favorite romance novels, there are these moments that twist my heart because I so desperately want the hero and heroine to get together, and yet...even though I know it's an HEA...their problems are real enough that I fear for them.There's more than one way to make me feel that way, but that's what I love. You can dish it out with some fantasy, scifi, paranormal, mystery, suspense, or straight up, but it's those problems and connections that win me over.
I don't like romance novels in which one of the characters rapes the other one. I hate to have to say it, but it happens, and it's a drop dead deal breaker. I will put the book down.
Other than that, most romance novels I dislike are more subtle. Flat stories bother me. The ones in which the same obstacle prevents their union throughout the entire story, and nothing really moves or changes. This is boring, and is all-too common. I like to see character overcome obstacles, and stumble across new ones on the path to love. Twists and turns. This is particularly important in a straight-up romance. (If there are other important plots, it may not be as important, but the single obstacle that is there needs to compel.)
I also dislike the quest for the three magic words. I blogged about this a while back: http://christineamsden.com/wordpress/?p=142 ... Basically this happens when the hero and heroine pretty clearly love each other, but for whatever reason, refuse to say the words.
I don't turn away books just because they are romance. I certainly like to know what I am getting into, but wont shy away from a well written novel.
My biggest turn off from Romance novels is when they are poorly written (but I could say that about most books!) I have encountered a few authors who are really good at writing the sensual naughty bits, but not so much on the content of the story.
Keep going forward, petition to Romance Blogs for feedback, but also don't stop trying to get feedback from eclectic blogs too! If a book is too steamy, I may not post a full review on my blog, but will still give you my open and honest feedback. I have been thinking of starting up a seperate blog for just this reason!
Best of luck to you!
I'm with you on the rape. I've started calling it Luke&Laura syndrome. It's like Stockholm but based on the terrible General Hospital storyline : )
I'm still very new to the self-publishing world so I've given myself some 'trial and error' time. You get so excited when you finish something. You get it out there knowing that everyone will just love your wit, and then you realize that the hardest part isn't the writing. You love the writing. It is the best part. The hard part is trying to convince people to care about the writing.
I started this discussion because I was ready to face the truth about my chosen genre which is romance. No matter what that truth might be. I think I've been getting it, and honestly it is not as negative as I thought so this has been a very useful endeavor.
I would review romance books. I have never had one sent for review though.
I don't mind if you don't : ) I sent you back a reply. Thank you!