Monday, February 29, 2016

Why Romance?

I was asked the other day (by another writer) why I bother to write Romance.

Bother?

I usually ignore dismissive attitudes. Life is short and precious, and I don't like to waste any of it on ugly feelings.

This time, however, it was a direct question and merited a response.

Life can be very, very hard. To prove it, spend about ten minutes on local or national news broadcasts. The world can be full of pain, hatred, cruelty, and prejudice. As a teacher, I see the up close and personal results of some of these and I can't always make it better. That's hard.

Personally, I need something else in my fiction. We all have different ways of coping, and reading & writing help me cope with the ugliness that exists. I read a lot of genres (always have), but I've settled on writing Romance.

For me, Romance is about a lot of things.
  • Happiness
  • Self-awareness and self-belief
  • Striving for positive change
  • Trust
  • Love
  • Family
  • Honesty
  • Learning how to cope with setbacks
  • Risk-taking

And a whole lot more. But, most of all (for me), Romance is about Hope.

Hope can change a day around, change an attitude, change a future, and, yes, it can change the world. Hope is sometimes all a person has.

Romance offers that Hope. It reminds us that, with some hard work, we can achieve a Happy Ending.

So, no, I won't apologize for bothering to write Romance, or for reading it.

I won't apologize for enjoying reading and writing all kinds of other genres either. Every book I read (and every story I write) offers something different. Each one changes me a little bit, hopefully for the better.

I hope all writers and readers love the best parts of their genres the way I love the Hope that Romance brings to me.

How about you? What's the best part of your favourite genre? 

46 comments:

  1. Why do you bother? That was a rude question.
    The world does need hope. That's why so many turn to faith looking for it.
    I'm looking for escape and for good to triumph over evil. Fantasy and science fiction fit that well.

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    1. Good triumphing is another of my favourite themes! :)
      Hope is indeed a biggie!

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  2. Yes, I want hope, love, happiness, good over evil, etc. in stories, not a depressing ending like sometimes in life.

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    1. I agree - I love those happy endings :)

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  3. Good answer, Jemi, very good answer.

    It's a shame that some of us writerly types can't seem to respect what other writerly types are doing. Write what you love!

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    1. I agree! I love a lot of genres, but my writing voice works well with the romance one :)

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  4. There is romance in my fictional stories because it is so important. And hopeful.

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  5. What a lame question. Romance is not my genre of choice. However, love is integral to many good stories.

    IMHO, that statement is just controlling behavior. If I thought someone should try another genre, I would say "Have you thought about ...?" I don't know why someone would critique romance. It is one of the better paying and read genres.

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    1. So true!
      I love that we all love so differently - in fiction as in everything else - makes the world so much more interesting!

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  6. Every once in a while I like a good romance to cheer me up and make me feel the world is a beautiful place and love's what helps it be that way. Keep writing your romance. We need it out here.

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    1. Thanks Lee! I agree whole heartedly :)

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  7. Sounds like the kind of person who might only understand one answer: it sells better than any other genre out there. And that's the truth.

    Most important, though, for most writers, is your answer...that it's an optimistic, hopeful genre that's fun to write. Being able to write it convincingly takes a ton of talent to pull off...wish I had your abilities in it. I've got a romance in a subplot and I do a terrible job with it.

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    1. You're such a talented writer, Elizabeth - I bet it's not a terrible subplot at all!

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  8. My response to people like that is, "Look out, your prejudice is showing." (And those types of statements usually come from someone who's never read a romance. So what empirical data is their opinion based on?)

    I write and read romance. It gives voice to women and their stories. Where else are women so diversely represented in books? It shares hope, overcoming obstacles, perseverance and love. Hope you put that person in their place!

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    1. I bet you're exactly right!
      There's was a fair bit of silence after I explained :)

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  9. Wow, the person who asked you that is so disrespectful! It always saddens me to see writers dismiss certain genres like that. (As someone who writes in the horror genre a lot, I've come across my own fair share of rudeness, too.) Romance is such a fun and lovely genre, so no one should be surprised whenever someone chooses to write for it!

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    1. Sad but true. Dismissive attitudes are tough to counteract because their often based in ignorance or fear. In this case, I'd guess the former

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  10. Jemi, I love your answer. Romance stories offer so much, as well as dealing with so many issues. To me, I'd think writing romance would be hard because you're dealing with so many emotions. All genres should be appreciated.

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    1. Thanks, Mason! I agree - I think every genre has its own special qualities to offer :)

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  11. Every good story is a love story. Romantic love or familial love drive any story that is interesting. It can a love of country, humanity or something else but without love, there is no story. I write romance and read it but I also write other things.

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    1. Totally agree on all of that! To me, it's the emotion that pulls me in (in any story) and makes the story come to life

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  12. You said it so well Jemi. I like all stories to have some romance in them...romantic fiction...but not all modern romance floats my boat...that gratuitous, silly kind which tries my patience and credulity, but I do love it as a form of escapism if it is a great story.

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    1. So true! I love a story to have some oomph too! :)

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  13. There's no need to apologize for writing what you love.
    That person was totally out of line!

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  14. Romance is good as long as it is not cheesy and cheap :) What I don't understand is why people bother with grittiness, dark genres etc.

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    1. I much prefer the hopeful/happy side of things as well. the real world has more than enough darkness for me!

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  15. Hey! Without romance where would we all be?

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  16. I agree with Alex, rude question! And a bit hurtful, imo. I love romance, whether there's a little bit in the story or a lot. Because love is the best thing there is.

    Keep writing romance!

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    1. Thanks, Marcy, I intend to!! :)
      Love truly is best!

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  17. Hey Jemi,

    That other writer was rather insensitive. Obviously, the romance genre is one of your passions. Good on you, I say.

    Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar's favourite part of her surreal fiction genre is the fact that I'm actually a fictional character created by Penny. You must keep this a secret, Jemi! :)

    Take care, eh.

    Gary

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    1. Thanks Fictional Gary ... um ... Ooops! Sorry.
      I mean, thanks Real Life Gary & Penny,
      I do love my romance stories! :)

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  18. Romance books tend to have positive elements, so they put me in a good mood. They're also just plain entertaining.

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  19. I like reading happy ever afters so romance it is for me.

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    1. Me too! Those HEAs keep me going some days!

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  20. I love that you love your genre and I am sorry someone bothered to ask you why you write it. Ridiculous! Inspiring hope is a wonderful thing. :) Happy writing!
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks Jess! As a romance writer, it seems I have to get used to a bit of disdain - which is sad!

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  21. I've also heard some comments about how writing kids' books must be easy. (?) Funny how people make comments on things they know very little about. I just plan to keep doing what I'm doing, knowing that I work on the projects that call to me.

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    1. Exactly! I've had the comments about writing YA as well. Bizarre.

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  22. I generally write the person who said something like that into the story and make them suffer something horrible.

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    1. Love it!!!
      Off to do some plotting :)

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  23. I don't have any particular favorites when it comes to genres, but I will say that writing romance is often the most challenging thing I do. It's not easy to write good romances.

    So part of me often "bothers" to write romances because I like challenging myself.

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    1. Love it! I enjoy the challenge as well :)

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