Thursday, February 23, 2012

Single Title Contemporary Romance... What the heck is it?

For my RITA books I read a lot of single title contemporary romance. And in anticipating Molly’s big release this summer I started to think how wide open this genre is.

When I read Molly’s manuscript what struck me about it was the size and scope of the story. It was a BIG story. It has a lot of stuff happening. There are all these characters and side stories and things that seem on the periphery but eventually work themselves in to the tapestry of the whole book. And I think because I love this kind of BIG storytelling this is what I expected out of most contemporary romances.

However, this was not the type of stories I read which were classified as STCR. Most of these were just small town types of stories with normal people going about their everyday business in which two people met and fell in love over the course of some very normal events.

And I’m not saying this is wrong at all. One book in particular was a really nice love story. It’s just different. And it makes me realize that what I thought was a pretty defined genre, like so many others – isn’t defined at all.

When people say paranormal that can be any NUMBER of things. I guess I didn’t think that was the case with contemporary romance – because the world it’s defined in - let’s face it... is fairly defined. It’s like… now and that’s it.

But once again the romance genre has knocked me back on my butt and forced me to take another look. STCR can be many many things. And just like we think of dark paranormal, sexy paranormal, vampires or demons, I think we’re going to have to start talking in those same terms for contemporary romance. Maybe cozy STCRs and BIG STCRs and cute STCRs and sexy STCRs.

What about you? What kind of STCRs do you like?


Karen Whiddon said...

I just finished reading Kristin Hannah's THE HOME FRONT. *That's* the kind of STCR I love. I wish I could write it.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I keep thinking I know what works, but then I realize it's just what I like and MY terms are really narrow. I want high stakes - in everything - because that adds drama. And there are a lot of people out there who don't want any drama.
They want zany. Or a mystery. Or super hot sex.
I think Contemporary romance is gathering steam again and it's breaking wide open, hopefully everyone will get what they want!!!

Maureen McGowan said...

I'm betting that contemporaries are making a comeback too. And love that there's lots of variety. What I don't hope for though is further sub-genre lines being drawn. I get that some people like to read what they like to read... But some of the sub-sub-sub categorization that happens, say for the RT awards and even the RITAs makes me a bit crazy. Best zany contemporary mystery romance with a red-headed heroine... LOL And then writers start to think they need to fit into one of those tiny boxes.

Anonymous said...

I love a fantastic contemporary. I think it was Molly who introduced me to SEP and it changed my reading life forever.
But, as Maureen said, please no sub genres, just great books.

Simone St. James said...

Molly has always been a single title contemp writer trying to cram big stories into category books. At least that's my opinion, and I think? I've read all her books.

I love big stories, like SEP's. The other contemp writer I adore is Julie James. Oh, Jill Shalvis too.

Let's hope the ST Contemporary is coming back, because I love them!

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