1. aimi_aiko
    Offline

    aimi_aiko Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2011
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Kentucky

    Is Romance Overrated?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by aimi_aiko, May 4, 2012.

    I've been thinking about writing a romance novel lately, and this begs the question, is romance overrated? The many concepts of romance stories have been repeated throughout history, and I've never really come across a different way of telling the story. It is always : star-crossed lovers, rich man falls for poor woman, in YA I've seen many popular boy falls for nerdy girl, etc. My question is, is there any possible way of creating a romance story without familiar plot lines? I don't want to write a story and my reader say "I know whats going to happen" or "I've read something like this before", I want to catch my reader's attention and make them say, "Wow! That's different" or "I definitely didn't expect that!"

    Register to remove this ad


    In this way, is it a good idea to mix multiple genres and make it a bit more interesting and different, other than your typical romantic drama? Such as, fantasy romance, mystery romance, horror romance?

    Have any of you wrote something different along the lines of a romance? If so, would you like to share? Keep in mind that your ideas are your own and it is wrong to steal another writer's idea, even if you do tweak it.



    Thanks and sincerely,
    aimiaiko
  2. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    40,098
    Likes Received:
    1,435
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Not really. Same answer for any other genre.

    There aren't that many storylines, across all genres. If you refuse to write any story if the storyline has been written before, you'll never write anything.

    It isn't the storyline that makes a piece of writing compelling. It's the writing: the characterization, the imagery, the use of language, all the little details.

    Ideas can't be copyrighted. An idea means nothing, Whether it's perceived as a crap idea or the quintessence of genius, the writing is what makes or breaks it. No two writers will do the same thing with a given idea.
  3. BallerGamer
    Offline

    BallerGamer New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    0
    Twilight mixed in vampires and romance together and that is insanely popular.

    It's not a bad idea to mix in different concepts, just as long as it makes sense and doesn't feel gimmicky at a lame attempt to attract those different fan bases.
  4. The Tourist
    Offline

    The Tourist Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Wisconsin.
    I'm going to use romance in my story, in fact, I have no story without it.

    The nice thing about being my age is that I actually know the nuances of this bumpy road. For example, my female half of the romance actually tries to kill the lead. Oh, he has it coming, but oh well, it all works out...
  5. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Senior Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,511
    Likes Received:
    123
    Location:
    A place with no future
    I think romance is underrated, because people keep talking about it as something silly but as far as I've heard it's the best selling genre in the world so there's apparently a market for it. You just need to take a new approach to it. Of course you can mix genres with romance, I've read several novels classified as romantic suspence and it's an intriguing mix :) What you say about it being difficult finding new stories is valid for EVERY genre, not just romance. If you find the too limiting (they are after all quite similar shaped) why not write a story with a romantic theme or whatever it's called? The actual genre is quite limiting but not every romantic book is romance (the Harlekin-kind), remember. :)
    1 person likes this.
  6. The Tourist
    Offline

    The Tourist Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Wisconsin.
    Well, when discuss literary romance we are actually discussing lust or hedonism. Very strong passions, and I admit it confuses a boy's mind. It's not romance.

    I've known my wife for 40 years. Yeah, we were kids. But the romance in its honest form came much later. Many times it comes when the other is not around. Like when I paced while she was in surgery.
  7. louis1
    Offline

    louis1 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    Messages:
    238
    Likes Received:
    7
    I am writing a fantasy/mystery/horror story with a touch of romance. and I do not think I am re-inventing anything but I am pretty sure what i do is original, perhaps not good but at least original. Personally what I did to not fall in the typical romance plot that anyone can predict i decide that the love interest of my MC will not appear before the sixth chapter, so instead as being a romantic story with horror, it is a horror story with a romantic plot. I think it works fine because it comes in a the right moment to give some kind of relief to the reader.
  8. bakalove
    Offline

    bakalove New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Honesdale, Pennsylvania, United States
    Well in the trend lately a book cant be just romance take twilight for example you need a buffer. Unless the romance that your going to write is gonna be the most amazing piece of work on the face of the planet. I would add a buffer it doesn't have to be werewolves and vampires it could be a loved one at war, someone on the other side of the country and they love each other to the point that they fly to eachother there's a million possibilities your goal is to make it so the person cant figure out the ending 2 chapters into the book because what's the fun in a book you know the ending to.
  9. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel I do not like snoopy reporter Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    3,820
    Likes Received:
    1,247
    Location:
    IoW
    I don't think romance readers are looking to be surprised on that level. There's a level of comfort in knowing what will happen, but not knowing just how it will happen. Romance novel is just as amenable to unexpected plot twists and turns as is any other genre novel. But I think you are right, there are just a few basic romance plots, which you can re-work in your own way. It's the setting, characterisation and the way they "fulfil" the expectation (happily ever after, for example) that'll make your story different.
    Basic plotline will usually remain the same - two people fall in love and there are obstacles they have to overcome to be together. That's it.

    It's in genres like science fiction that readers are looking for something they never saw before, although, even there, basic plots are few and well known, what differs are the details.
  10. Nakhti
    Offline

    Nakhti Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    16
    Nope, Crime is the biggest selling genre on the planet. Romance is quite possibly runner up though. Why not combine the two? :)

    And Jazz is right - readers of GENRE romance are not looking to be surprised so much as to get their sugar fix - they want to know that the boy and girl get together and live happily ever after in the end, but making it hard for them to get there is how you make the reader frantically turn the page just to make sure they do.

    If you're writing genre romance, you have to accept that there are certain conventions and formulae that the reader not only expects, but DEMANDS of your story. A HEA is just one of them.

    If you're writing a different genre with romantic elements, then you're a little freer of those conventions, but they're still lurking in the background...
  11. Piankhy
    Offline

    Piankhy New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Everywhere but home
    As a person who hates the romance genre, the romance books that made my top 20 were the ones I didn’t know were romances at first. They generally had an intriguing main plot and the romance slowly crept in little by little until it stole the show. I can’t read a book if it’s just romance alone and the characters don’t have any other goals in life. I’ll tell you a few things that irk me about the genre though, and it might help you to know what to avoid and how to be different.

    It really annoys me when someone falls in love at first sight. IMO, love happens over time, not right away. If you like someone without really knowing them, it just seems like lust. Nothing wrong with lust, I just don’t like when people mix the two.

    I also steer clear of the romance genre because the love interest always seems to either be a super stud ultra-gentleman or a ridulously hot chick. That’s fine every once and awhile. But every romance novel I take a chance on, the love interest is too perfect either in looks or personality. How about a plain Jane or an average Joe? Most people are not a 10 out of 10 or multi-talented and you’d think that would be represented more in books? Seriously, if there was a book where all the characters were hot and gorgeous, I assume it would be a fantasy novel instead of romance.

    Lastly, the cheesy dialogue kills me. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy and I’m a 90’s baby, but when I read a dude from this era saying “My lady” to address his girl more than the once, its awkward and embarrassing to read. I just want to take his man card and send him back to medieval Europe where his speech belongs. Nothing wrong with being a gentleman but gentleman from my era don’t talk like Romeo or Casenova.

    Even though I said all of that though, I’m just 22 and I’m a guy (society makes us bias against lovey dovey stuff). I’m sure some of the older readers can point out books that don’t have the above issues I mentioned. But those are just my personal experiences. Still, if you want to be different, I’d say write a romance that the average guy would be interested in. Most romance novels don't target the male audience. Hope that helps!
  12. AmyHolt
    Offline

    AmyHolt New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Warsaw, IN
    You're right what is classified as Mystery, Thriller and Crime rank 1# for most books sold but Romance has the largest market share (meaning they have the highest revenue or make the most money). I'm sure you can find this information several places but I found it in the Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2011 . I think it's strange that of those buying fiction books a whooping 48% bought Mystery, Thriller and Crime but Romance makes more money and they (Romance) come in 4th with only 21% behind Sci-fi and "Literature" (I'm not sure what they group into this category). I guess that means that romance book are more expensive?

    As far as romance ideas - I think truth is stranger than fiction and provides the best ideas. Ask people how they met, then combine a couple of the best stories you hear.
  13. Nakhti
    Offline

    Nakhti Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    16
    Yeah, that IS weird... especially since I was always under the impression that the opposite was true, and romance books were cheap - you can pick up a mills n boon for a couple of quid, whereas a standard fiction paperback is about £6.99 - £8.99. Wonder how those figures work out then?
  14. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Senior Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,522
    Likes Received:
    84
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    Romance will always sell, and there are as many takes on the theme as there are relationships in the world. Everyone's romance seems unique and fascinating while they are in it, so the trick of a romance writer is to convey that excitement and mystery to the reader. If you are cynical about the existence of love/romance, don't write romance. Not mainstream, anyway.
  15. AmyHolt
    Offline

    AmyHolt New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Warsaw, IN
    I was under the same impression (that the opposite was true) so when Nakhti said that about Crime being the best selling genre I had to go see for myself. Maybe this is one of those instances where statistics say whatever you want them too. :) I would love to have someone explain that one.
  16. shaylyn
    Offline

    shaylyn New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think romance always makes a story more interesting. Not only do you go through the book rooting for the hero to win in the end, but you also tend to root for the hero to get the girl as well. The book I am working on has a slightly different romantic twist than what I've seen before. Though it seems this idea is appearing in newer books like The Mortal Instruments series.

    I'm talking about the main character and the love interest starting out not liking each other. Almost hating each other. It adds to the passion (in my opinion) when the two finally do realize they've had feelings for each other the whole time. It's like they don't want to have these feelings, but they are overtaken with them.

    It's just an idea.
  17. James Berkley
    Offline

    James Berkley Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2011
    Messages:
    448
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    NYC
    “ something for everyone”
    Romance is a huge selling market. The thing is it helps stretch a story out to more audiences in non “romance” stories. That’s why there is almost always a romantic subplot, even 300 had one.
    The Sci fi I am writing has some romantic subplots. I don’t have them be significant to the plot, they are just sort of their happening around the two MC’s.
  18. John Eff
    Offline

    John Eff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Is romance overrated? In fiction: a moot point. In life: possibly, though in this household it's certainly overstated. On a continual and grinding basis.

    There's always a place for romance in any genre of the popular arts, be that film, literature or painting. People can identify with it. At the outset, I had no intention of including any romantic interest in the story I'm writing but as it developed I thought, why not? Nothing overt - merely a subtle undercurrent.

    Romance is another tool to use. Another strand to exploit.
  19. BlogTwits
    Offline

    BlogTwits New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2012
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think historical romance is always popular, just look at the popularity of Jane Austen novels. I think this kind of book makes for good romantic writing and will always be popular.
  20. Nakhti
    Offline

    Nakhti Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    16
    Sorry, but just to prove the OP's point about there being nothing new in romance... this is a very established trope. Have you read Pride and Prejudice? And even that's probably a relative late-comer to this trope...

    So no, not a new twist, but an idea that can definitely work, and has done in one of the most well-loved romances of all time.
  21. LAHall
    Offline

    LAHall New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    While I do think the bank is pretty much cashed out on the cliche romance genre, I do think there's a lot of room to do great creative work with more realistic, personal ideas about love (Self-doubt, apprehension, ect.)
  22. Nakhti
    Offline

    Nakhti Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    16
    AAAARGH!!! DID you just call Jane Austen HISTORICAL ROMANCE??? NO NO NO NO NO. Jane Austen is ROMANCE. At the time she wrote the books, they were contemporary! It's only historical to you and me, but you don't call Dickens Historical Fiction just because it's setting is now in the past, do you??

    Georgette Heyer is historical romance. Jezuz wept...
  23. LAHall
    Offline

    LAHall New Member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Woody Allen = historical romance. HUZZAH!
  24. madhoca
    Offline

    madhoca Senior Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Messages:
    2,522
    Likes Received:
    84
    Location:
    the shadow of the velvet fortress
    Jane Austin wrote social commentary, not 'romance'. Georgette Heyer's novels are researched so well two of them are used at Sandhurst when teaching the Peninsula Wars and Waterloo, so she goes slightly beyond being a romance writer sometimes. I don't think there are many women who write to her standard now. The research Bernard Cornwell does for his Sharpe's series comes close, but he's not so focussed on the romantic angle.
  25. Nakhti
    Offline

    Nakhti Banned

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2012
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    16
    I dispute whether 'social commentary' is a genre - it is an important component of her writing, but I think the genre is actually more like romance than any other because the romantic relationships of the female characters are the main focus of the plot.

    And your comments on Georgette Heyer seem to imply that writing romance means you can't also be a really good writer and write well researched, historically accurate novels - I think that pretty much sums up the dismissive attitude and general prejudice against romance as 'low brow' fiction that exists today. Mostly that attitude has been fuelled by some really crap genre romance novels and the popularity of Mills n Boon/Harlequin pulp romance, but it's simply not true that historical romance = badly researched schlock. I'm sure there are plenty of women who write to her standard - just not to her exact style and formula.
Similar Threads: Romance Overrated
Forum Title Date
General Writing Any good ideas for how I should portray romance in my story? May 8, 2014
General Writing Age limit for characters in a romance novel. Aug 6, 2013
General Writing Plot vs Romance Balance Issues Dec 17, 2012
General Writing For Fans of Romance Jan 5, 2012
General Writing What Makes a Romance Work? Jan 4, 2012

Share This Page