1. Finhorn
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    Finhorn Senior Member

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    No Love for Romance?

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Finhorn, Apr 15, 2011.

    I’ll admit to staying away from the threads for Songs and Scripts because I don’t think I have anything useful to add. I’ll even admit I don’t have any Non-Fiction reviews, because I don’t like non-fiction.

    But why is Romance dead? Five of the top fifteen books (by sales) are romances (three of those have other plots too). Many of the others have a romantic sub-plot. -- Yes, I recently put something up in that thread and would like a comment or two but that's not why I ask this question.

    Is it harder to critique than other things? Do we feel unqualified because we've never had a tryst, or knew how to spell the word before I looked it up?

    Any thoughts on why we don't write or review romance's would help me.
     
  2. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    I would suspect the romance writers once they get a lay of this sci-fi based land bounce to other sites, sucess begets sucess vice versa/in reverse type thing....your piece in short stories ?
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well this site is hardly condusive to Romance Writing ideally we need an over 18 section. Plus they have several large forums of their own.

    My stories have romance in them despite my best efforts lol but they started out as fantasy, crime, general fiction etc Gus&Iris, Socrates&Nate, Angus&Beatrice. Joe&Tim, even the Abbot&Uncle Tom, but they don't strictly fit into the Romance category because I don't often write a HFN or HEA ending to my stories. Also I can't write heros with the whole alpha/beta thing mine are gamma heros, my heroines the same - my stories are unlikely to be taken on as romance books. Romance has very specific rules it follows and is a craft all of its own a lot of things we get away with in other genres they can't. They also more likely to be published on a more regular basis and make money from their work. We could do with a few of them they know their way round a synopsis, blurb, how to submit etc better than most other genres.

    I have been a beta reader and critique partner for a few now published Romance books (think one might have tipped over into the E category) if you have a piece you want me to look at just ask.
     
  4. Finhorn
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    Finhorn Senior Member

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    I think I'm hearing you two. Your explanation makes as much sense as anything else. When I'm ready to revise a fantasy fight-scene I have confidence in the forum.

    I've looked at groups that write 'romance.' Much of it borders on erotica. But I guess I should join another forum (without leaving this one). What I was trying to do was switch genres for a little bit then take what I learned back to what I want to write.

    Elgaisma, when I have something ready for a serious look, I'll message you. I've also read a bunch of formula romance novels in the last six months. I bet I could write a formula plot but I'm a ways from that style of prose. When I try it seems to be lacking feeling. But I'm getting off topic for 'Reviewing.'

    The impression I'm getting is that almost no one here wants to write anything more than an obligatory romantic subplot. So they don't. And when they don't, nothing gets posted in "romance" and the section dies. I think it'll stay dead though I'll personally still review anything I see pop up. Since I posted this Killian was kind enough to offer a suggestion on my romance piece, it's received 450 views and the other two most recent threads there have gotten about 50 a piece. Yet no other critiques.
     
  5. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Hadn't seen it, my apologies. I have romance on my shelves as well as everything else. I have no problems with reading it, and I have no problem with reviewing it. I'll head over :D
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I still maintain a good fight scene is a good sex scene in disguise lol I'll go and look at your piece my brain hasn't been in a good place and been to busy haven't critiqued anything really recently.

    In my case it is simply I don't know what I am writing when I start. Also because of experiences in my life it became important to me when my first characters came out the closet that the books weren't Romance or about being gay. I wanted characters they just happened to be gay in other stories.


    When I started writing Angus, Beatrice didn't exist. They really are a subplot to the story but a good one and more a teen romance. Socrates and Nate or Socrates and Fy when I write them are not really subplot they are crucial to moving the plot forward - however they do not fall under the standard personality for a Romance novel - now if I wrote Nate and Fy together they might be, it is Socrates that pulls them out of the Romance Genre but he is half a character without Nate.

    Joe Cream and Tim Black are hardly ever apart in my novel - not sure actually if they are the subplot or the main story and the murders are the subplot.

    Gus and Iris are just too cute to fit in the Romance Genre and I think them being over sixty-five probably pushes them out.

    Angus and Beatrice are both fully blown characters and can function alone.

    Socrates and Nate. Gus and Iris, Joe Cream and Tim Black on the other hand struggle when apart and make each other complete characters. I had to give Socrates, Fy and a dog called Russ to make him a more complete character when I took Nate out of the picture.

    I write my books in chatroom with some Romance ladies and have learned an awful lot from them. Not to mention the challenges are useful to get me writing.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    isn't there a "general fiction" section where we can post the romance? or would that be out of question?
     
  8. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Testosterone fueled gore may be cool even gnarly, saving Planet Diptron from carnivorous moth’s may make you a superstar in the eyes of the chat-rats but learning how to weave some romance in to your fiction greatly increases the marketability, I applaud Fin’s effort
     
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  9. Raz
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    Raz New Member

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    I personally think is not that romance has being set aside as a subplot but we are getting used to more complicated themes, is hard to find a pure romance nowadays as it is hard to find a pure thriller or a pure magical story, this gets harder the longer the story goes. So who says a post apocalyptic world filled with zombies where a man and a woman have to escape for their lives is not a love story? This depends on the author and how the characters play their roles. So I think romances as well as other styles fluctuate in the story as this goes on and you discover the world the author set upon you.
     
  10. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    My stories all tend to have romantic subplots to them, but I never have it as the main focus of the story. I treat it as secondary. IDK, I don't have a problem with romance but I like my heroines to have a brain and not put a guy before everything else in their lives - that's my personal rule for writing, and I think it reflects in my stories at to why the romances are secondary. I have to say, however, that I am a sucker for a good love triangle if it's well-written :D

    I concur :D
     
  11. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    Hi... I think I am a pure romantic at heart and love to a good love story. But, I don't like 90% of the romance books out on the market even though I consider to be the genre I have tendencies towards. I'm beginning to think that the type of stories I want to write won't really fit in the genre as much as I find it difficult just to find a book as the type of stories I want to read. (Of the ones I find, they're just considered general fiction) This is why I think I'm pursuing a bigger story which also incorporates a strong central romantic theme as well... There are so many historical and renaissance romance novels out there and while of the few I've read, I like, I hate them just as much. And I haven't found one that just made me fall head over heels with... nothing like I feel for Harry Potter or Lord Of the Rings

    Mainly because of how the girls are portrayed. As objects, demure, insecure, predictably flawed, or their exact opposite of what they're supposed to be so that they are portrayed as the "wild-spirited" type that defies the odds. It annoys the fook out of me and maybe this is my feminism talking. It's cliche and it is done SO much and I can predict the what will happen within the first five chapters of the book. There are a lot of other things that annoy me and a lot of is characterization of the girls and guys or the twisted again and again contrived plots.

    It's also difficult because the romance market tend to be women in their 30's, 40's, 50's mainly... or teenage girls. And in doing research, not many want to read about hard or controversial subject matter but a certain type(s) of plots. The ones that do cover subject matter outside of the romantic elements in the books is often strong that those books are not classified as romance and so... it's difficult to gauge.

    I also dislike that romance is split into so many categories that you have a hard time finding what you want. Historical etc are great, but as a writer now, I want to read something contemporary. So, you look for contemporary romances and what do you get instead? Chick-Lit!! Which is not bad, but is like fluff. It won't give you that emotional punch, it's sassy and witty and cutesy and that's about it.

    Then there are ones like Jodi Piccoult and Meg Cabot. Which are great for what they are, but I'm not into YA. I actually really dislike YA genre to be honest and maybe If I was in middle school, I would have liked it then, but now as an adult, I don't want to read about teens yet the YA romance genre is more realistic than half of the adult romance novels out there.

    Of all the romance that I have read, the ones that I fell in love with are ones where it was a sub-plot of another story and usually of a different genre (Mainly Fantasy). Why, because the characters were more than just about the romance and I fell in love with them as individuals, respect them, root for them and care for them in their personal endeavors. Romance would be much better if we could really get to the root of who a person is, but most of the times it's not. And if there is any, not enough time is given and its more of ah as necessary to make the plot move. I hate that, sometimes DEPTH is needed.

    Of the romance writers out there... very few touch me to where I can read it again. Nicholas Sparks is one of them, and I use to HATE HIM. Until I started writing and suddenly I realized that it touches subject matters I like to write about... and I went back to read his books and I instead fell in love with him because he at least was doing something I for the first time liked in the romance genre. My twinge with him though is that he doesn't go deeper, those subject matters he paints are just like a shadow that follow the book. It's like a cloud that follows the character and it hardly gets touched upon in a depth that to me would be even more satisfying. Also... his girls are very sweet. Not bad, and I rather read sweet than not, but for his books that are supposed to be set in this decade, I find it hard to believe that a girl still talks in the manner he portrays.
     
  12. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    I'll admit that the sci-fi heaviness of this forum made me think twice before joining... but you guys have a lot to offer in other areas. But I agree. This forum is very sci-fi heavy and I'm sure that has deterred other romance writers. I don't fit in with the Harlequin-inites filling all of the more romance friendly forums so... hi everyone? :D

    @Finhorn How 'bout you and me, we fill this here Romance section up, eh? ;)
     
  13. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    I agree with you. I also like the romance genre, but it's true that women just don't seem natural in most of them. I liked Nicholas Sparks, but I also agree that his women just seemed a little too sweet, and also I felt a little emotionally manipulated by his plots. I mean, I literally threw the book A Walk to Remember when they spent all this time setting up this huge romance between the girl and guy only to tell us that she had cancer and force us to watch her die and get married in the hospital. It was just too much.
     
  14. Earlychop
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    Earlychop Member

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    If the author can make you throw a book, then they have done their job well.
     
  15. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    Or not well. That's 50/50. I have literally thrown a book away half way through and not pick it up again. Being frustrated with one book can also make me not want to check out an authors other works.

    I think you can be frustrated with the characters and hate when they do something stupid and/or root for them when the do something good, but you shouldn't be frustrated with the author and the book itself. It's a fine line.
     
  16. Sang Hee
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    Sang Hee Contributing Member

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    So what? Writing, just like art, is a subjective matter. You can't satisfy everyone. If this day and age makes people rather bitter and their idea of romance evolved into something than what it used to be then the authors have it rather hard to write.
    Who can write fast enough to find out what appeals to most people today? You try and try, do your research but in the end you still have no idea.
    I personally like romance as well but I like it when it's mixed up with any fantastic genre. Just a plain earthly romance is what I've seen too many times. People want the stories to be realistic but reality just doesn't appeal to me. Maybe that's why the topic.
     
  17. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I couldn't have agreed with you more if I had written that myself. You describe my exact feeling.

    Agree. Most women in romance novels really annoys me to death, even though I might like the story in itself. the guys are usually portrayed better and more plausible, I think. I habe never read Nicholas Sparks, I think Im going to have a look at some novel by him, just to get an idea! thanks for the tips, both of you. :)
     
  18. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    That's why I love (and WRITE) chick lit. I'm a dire hopeless romantic but I can't stand fainting swans. Chick lit is so much smarter and sharper. You've got these women who are powerful and on their toes, are put into more realistic situations, and fall in love with men who don't have to be overly masculine. You guys should check out some chick lit if you haven't before!
     
  19. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have! and I like it too. :p I think i'm like you in that way. I don't like the helplessness of the women in most romance or the overly "I'm-gonna-show-you-women-are-just-as-strong-as-men-in-every-way"-kind of attitude you meet in books from authors such as Nora Roberts (even though in the end they do nothing but mess things up). I have actually written a novel-lenght story in something similar to chic-lit, and it's waiting for me to start rewriting it. I am still trying to understand which genre I like writing in the most and which suit me better.
     
  20. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    Amen! :) The Devil Wears Prada is another great example. So many strong women in there... and yes, they mess things up, but they also fix them on their own. No one had to rescue anyone. I love that. :)
     
  21. ZeaMayz
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    Are you talking about Mills and Boone kind of romance? Or some other form of romance? You see how clueless I am about this genre...

    I can't say I read anything that I would consider pure romance. Romance can gladly come into it, but if there is no good story ... I really can't be bothered with jealousy and trysts and flings and infidelities and lust and teenage heart-aches and things like that. Perhaps I would if it was something I experienced on a regular basis. I don't get anything out of it. Time is precious. I only read what I enjoy.

    I like reading about characters who have a deep, lasting love that sustains them and survives disasters etc. Or the slow budding of love, woven into a good story. But even then, I am more interested in everything the characters do and experience, how they develop and grow.
     
  22. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I loved The devil wears prada! but I never read the book, only watched the movie , lol. in some cases I just prefer the movie/tv-series for the book, for example SATC, I didn't get very impressed by the book but I absolutely loved the tv-series! :D I remember the first movie I ever watched after having read the book, and it was Sidney Sheldons "If tomorrow comes", a book I really liked but the movie was just amazing!
    We should start a little, exclusive chic-lit thread, hehehe. ;-) I've got a feeling there aren't too many of us chic-lit readers/writers on this forum... :rolleyes:
     
  23. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    Is that the book publisher that you're talking about? If so, and you're talking about who I'm talking about, then no. They do more of your regular old romance, you know, more like erotica. What we're (now) talking about is the more hip and modern version. Chick lit is romance but it isn't erotic. Think the written form of a comedy chick flick.

    Ohh, you should read the book! The movie didn't do it justice. Same goes for the Shopaholic series.

    And we should!
     
  24. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I don't understand this. In what way are Nora Roberts' women "overly ..... just-as-strong-as-men-in-every-way"? How are they unrealistic? I love Nora's characters and I think they are very realistic. Brilliantly so. Maybe that's just me? For instance.. I am a woman. I am perfectly capable of handling a circular saw, demo saw, sawzall, compound miter saw, chain saw, or any other kind of saw. I can build a deck, a dog house, remodel a bathroom, or anything else I need to do. I own a welder and I know how to use it. I also own a wood lathe and I know how to use that too. I can lay tile, I can reshingle a roof. I have refinished wood floors, I have put down linoleum. I train dogs. I can rebuild the engine of a car if I have to (but it's been a REALLY long time), the same goes for changing a transmission. I can change brakes on a car, and sensors, and air filters, and carbs, etc. I even had to change out the gas tank on a 95 Chevy Silverado once. Not fun, but it had to be done. I am a hunter. I own guns (many of them) and a Compound Bow. I am quite skilled with all of them. They put food in the freezer when money gets slim and it often does. I am not some Amazon woman. I am 5'3" tall. I own dresses, I know how to apply makeup and I look damn good when I do. I have fought for EVERYTHING I have in my life. From necessity ingenuity is born. Survival is a powerful force. Nora has a similar background to mine. Her characters are every bit as realistic to me as they are to her.
     
  25. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never said women aren't as capable as men in most areas, I just think her characters always try to prove to be something they are not. On one hand she provides this 'knight in shining armour', and on the other she has this neurotic woman who can never accept help in any situation, because she thinks it would make her look "weak", but I mean, no one can do everything and just because you do accept help from someone who is willing to help you out, out of pure kindness and doesnt even consider you a fragile, helpless little woman that can't do anything on her own,doesn't mean you are a weak person. Admitting your own limits is not a weakness, it is a strenght. Trying to prove you can do just about EVERYTHING and handle every situation that might occur even when its obvious you can't, just for the sake of it, to me it seems only silly, and I find most of her characters are that stubborn minded. Maybe I've read too many of them, because by now her characters all seem to be the same person, just with different names and professions. I like her writing style, I just don't like her characters that much.
     

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