03 June 2010

Why Romance You Ask?

Therapy Session Two. This one also free.

I feel a need to revisit this issue again as I tend to find myself faced with the look so often. You know the one, writing community. The one that says, "Really, you're a writer, how exciting!!!" Then, "Oh? Oh [tone has fallen, nose is scrunching up] You write Romance? That's....great. Right? Wh...why did you choose romance, anyway? [all casual-like, added giggle for effect]."

My husband even gave me the look and still on occassion sighs with a grin until I nudge him into reality that his wife WRITES ROMANCE! AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! 

Needless to say, here is a post I am revisiting, taken from my now 'Archived Blog'. Enjoy!

I have ventured beyond my own expectations, begun many journeys I never thought I could through my writing. It began when I plunked myself down in front of an old hand me down computer and started to write a few notes for a short story idea I had. I didn’t know where it would go, how many pages, who the characters really were beyond demographics and one single scene that had been running through my mind. It turned into a novel sized book. The romance writing began somewhere else, somewhere a couple of years later.

My cousin read my second completed mystery novel; my second novel period-—very raw and with an inexperinced voice-—and wondered why I didn’t try writing more romance. The mystery was good, she’d said, but the very small romance line in the story came much stronger, much more easily. I think I had found my niche without even knowing it, and wouldn’t realize this until over a year later when I actually tried to do it.

I thought she was insane. I laughed at the comment. Romance? Me? Really? I’d not written, much less read, many romances in the last ten years at that point. Who does, really?...Old women, lonely single mothers, our mothers and grandmothers...come on, we’ve all scene the old Harlequin’s sitting on the bookshelf and dared to open them up at age ten, laugh, turn red and wonder to ourselves, ‘why would someone read that crap?’

There is a world out there I never knew existed, I’ll tell you that. And my mind is forever changed.

So I picked a few up. Some were smut, some written purely to see a sex scene in print, I’m sure--porno for women, my hubby calls it--and I could barely get through them. I have to say I was embarrassed for women everywhere.

Other writers, other stories, have come miles beyond the days of near-rape style sex scenes so elicit they overpowered the guts of the story. Some of them-—I can’t honestly say all because there is a load of crap in every genre of writing whether fiction or non, romance or not—are good. Great even.

The writing has much improved, the storylines set in greater depth, sex on levels from barely mentionable to erotica. Take your pick. Fortunately for me, or so I think, I’ve always been a romantic at heart so I fit into the genre pretty well. (Just count me out of the erotica, or the religious for that matter, thank you very much).

But I didn’t stop there. I wrote two novels (‘throbbing manhoods’ and ‘heaving breasts’ gladly witheld) that were, for lack of a better expression, "romancy" and may dare to fit into the Harlequin section of the bookstore, though those have vastly expanded, too. I have written Chic-lit from a first person and witty perspective, and lingered a while on a darker side as influenced by my love for the Bronte's and classic gothic romance. I even set my head in the early 19th century for another.

When I look back to my first few books, I laugh. I laugh at the writing. But I love them. Ten novels and many short stories later, they still hold some of my favorite moments and characters. If nothing else, the feeling of finally getting down on paper some of my first thoughts and ideas, watching them develop, taking count of my growth as a writer in the meantime, drives me. I haven’t been at it long enough to call myself a "Jane Austen" or "Emily Bronte", perhaps never will, but I know I can make my way to a higher place eventually. And we get nowhere without dreaming.

All of my books say something about who I am as a person, a mother, a wife. A nurse, a writer, a woman. That’s where it counts. I love romance, am no longer afraid of it or the cliché’s and negative thoughts it brings in the eyes of many.

As Jane Austen once said, "Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery." Mine is dwelling with Jane’s.

"Far away in the sunshine are my highest inspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see the beauty, believe in them and try to follow where they may lead."
~Lousia May Alcott~

A quote from K8:
"So, did you write alllll the words in that book? Like on all those pages?"

1 comment:

  1. I fought being a "romance writer" almost to my last breath! I was supposed to be a mystery writer, dammit! But... when you start a book from a self-assigned writing exercise, and it's based on a personal fantasy (Oh, that man is soooooo hot, much deserving of a fantasy or sixty), and when the characters hijack your brain and make you write their story, you can call it "romantic suspense" if you want, trying to make it a "mystery," but it's still a romance. Plus, I couldn't keep those two out of bed. So. Turns out my romantic heart, my belief in love at first sight, a thing for hot guys with tattoos, and a seriously smutty mind meant I couldn't be anything but a romance writer. But my next book will be a mystery. Maybe. With lots of sex. (Damn. It's going to be a romance too, isn't it?)