Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Romance Instruction Manuals

Today I'm stealing ideas from other people again. What's new...

But something that the wonderful Margaret Moore said in a comment to Molly's last post really struck a chord with me -- and I love when new light bulbs go off--mixed metaphor much?--especially when they give me more great ammunition for defending the romance genre to naysayers.

Fiction isn't meant to be a how-to manual. It's not supposed to be life. It's supposed to be bigger and better and way more interesting than life. Otherwise, why would we enjoy reading it?

People forgetting this, is one of the reasons that the romance genre comes under so much criticism and derision. Real men aren't like your heros. People don't fall in love that quickly. It's all fantasy. Women who are pretty realize they are. Just a few examples of criticisms I've heard of the genre.

The disadvantage romance has in defending itself against these types of critics is that most people have experienced falling in love at least once and therefore they think they deserve to have an opinion about what happens in your FICTIONAL story. Whereas... not too many of us have been involved in a murder mystery, or a war in outer space, or a terrorist plot to blow up the world, or fighting off monsters -- and I don't know you, but I've never tracked or been tracked by a serial killer. (That I know of.)

But at the same time, this "disadvantage" is an advantage and why the genre is the most popular of all popular fiction genres. People have lived it and want to relive the feelings and emotions of falling in love, but in a better than real life situation that holds their interest.

That's what it's all about. (At least this is what I think, today.)


Molly O'Keefe said...

Yes! I love it! Totally right and my new come back against nay-sayers will be "it's not supposed to be real - that's why it's great."

Kimber Chin said...

That's EXACTLY why I was told my business based romances wouldn't sell. Women want some fantasy and duking it out in the boardroom is too "real" for most readers.

They're likely right. LOL. Lucky I'm not in it for sales.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Maureen. So true, everyone has an opinion on love.
And everyone thinks they can write romance.
I don't want real. My life is real and kind of boring. I want drama.
And excitement and for shit to happen.

Maureen McGowan said...

Here's to books where shit happens, Sinead!!!

Wylie Kinson said...

You've never been embroiled in a terrorist plot or survived and interplanetary war??
What the heck do you do all day?! Sheesh...

Great post, Maureen!

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