February is a month when love is in the air, along with loneliness and envy and lots of fun emotions. As a writer of Romance, I find a lot of other writers look down on my genre. It’s been like that for years and contributed to the formation of Romance Writers of America. Big publishers at the writers conventions that were didn’t take romance seriously.
Now, decades later, we don’t seem to take ourselves seriously. When asked about our writing, how many of us say, “Oh, just a romance story.” I have been guilty of that, but no more. I am now quite proud of my work and my self-published writings.
My husband calls it Honey Porn. Hmmm. Even as my publisher, he doesn’t take it very seriously. I suppose once we figure out how to make more money at it, he will. But I am not writing for the cash. I’m writing because these are the stories I want to read, the kind of feelings and characters I love.
People who denigrate Romance (I know there’s a difference between Romance and romance, because the capitalized word means also a style of painting and music, as well as books of adventure. But to me Romance means my genre.) are unaware of the broad aspect and wide appeal of the books.
However, does that mean we should continue to support writers who create female main characters who are whimps? Who must be rescued by an Alpha male? Who for the life of them cannot figure out how to solve the problem of where to go and what to do? No, really, we should not. Unless somewhere in the story the woman stands up, puts on her big girl panties, and tells the man to get out of her way.
I expect there is an audience of a certain age who really likes the old fashioned, virgin in need of rescuing by a billionaire style of story. And if that’s what sells, some people will write it. But we have a great sub-genre called New Adult. This audience is about to step out into the Real World© and want to read about characters just like them. They are not likely virgins, not likely billionaires, and not likely to take crap from anyone. The taste of freedom has made them concerned about the world in many ways: Environment, Health Concerns, Politics, and Global Community.
While it would be nice to have everyone on board for the new, improved Romance books, now with more interesting women, it’s not going to happen. Just as we see voters changing as the older generations pass on and the younger generations step up to vote, we will see a swing in the direction of supporting women’s causes, normal people characters, and maybe a different kind of happily ever after.
I’d like to be around to see that. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.