Well, it was inevitable that on my search for something to write I would come across the romance genre. Not just because it is an EXTREMELY prolific category, but because I am a personal fan, if somewhat picky about what I will read. Recently, my considerate and tolerant mother picked me up a copy of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting your Romance Published. It’s written by Julie Beard, an experienced romance writer with a jaunty, easy-to-follow style of writing that makes it seem like getting published is the easiest thing in the world. (If you just get that pesky novel written first!)
Anyway, it was a great read, and filled with lots of helpful tips, even if it WAS written a few years ago. The back has entire pages full of publishing companies, literary magazines, and websites that are resources for the aspiring romance novelist, which I may try to become shortly. (Not to worry– if I DO write a romance novel, there is little chance that I will stick to just that genre, even if it does sound like a great one for someone just dying to see their name in print!)
The book covers a lot of things, among them the fact that there are two types of romance novels– the kind that they sell in bulk every month under a name like Harlequin Silhouette, and the single-title kind. You’re more likely to sell your story if you’re
trying for the every-month one, but those have pretty clear guidelines, and unless you stick at it for a long time, you’re probably not going to be rich and famous anytime soon. (Of course, romance guru Nora Roberts, one of the biggest names in the business, started out selling stories like these, so like I said, if you keep at it…) It’s harder to get your single-titles sold, but the chances of bigger notice and reward are higher. They are choices that need to be weighed certainly, especially if anyone reading this is considering pursuing this writing venue.
So, anyway. I’ve never read any of the in-bulk romance titles, though don’t get me wrong, I’m sure many of them are good books. There are many people, and not just women, who faithfully buy every single one of the released sets each month, and eagerly await their romantic fix. But I tend to like a little more meat in my story, not just bumpin’ uglies. (Needless to say, erotica isn’t really my cup of tea either, though if that’s what you’re into or what you write, there ARE certain publishers that would be happy to cater to you!) Danielle Steele, another heavy contender, tends to write stories aimed at a slightly higher age bracket than I occupy– namely 30’s, 40’s, and occasionally 50’s, mostly women who have been married and are either divorced or widowed getting a second chance at love. They sound great, but I go more for Nora– 20-somethings, usually (although not always) first-timers, with a great story to accompany all the smoldering looks and lingering passions.
A lot of people say that romances are easy to write, that they work off a pre-set template… And they would be half-right. There is a template, so to speak. For example, no killing off the main characters, or making them irredeemable douchebags. There’s a time and a place for that, but a romance novel isn’t one of them! Usually boy meets girl, or vice versa, they go through a courting period, some sort of hardship or misunderstanding thrusts them apart, and then they get back together for a finale ending with marria
ge, or at least a proposal and promise of marriage. (And, depending on the length of your novel, you want to fit an appropriate number of sex scenes in there as well. ;D )
Sounds easy, right? Well, yes and no. It’s a lot more than that, especially when you have a lot of people bringing their own interpretations to the table. There’s setting, characters– not to mention a plot worth following, and side-plots that add to the building story, while leaving your main lovers in the spotlight. Really, it’s somewhat dizzying when you consider how to meld all those ingredients into the wonderful gumbo that is an excellently-crafted romance novel.
Sorry, I really didn’t mean to blather on so much– I just know a lot about the genre. (Could you tell?) My own attempts at romance are distinctly Roberts-esque, but seeing as her romances are pretty much the only ones I’ve read, this is probably understandable. (Well, I’ve read some stuff from Deirdre Knight, but I’m not sure anyone should be trying to use her as a role-model for writing. Her Red Spartan series, based around a group of Spartan warriors in present time who can transform into giant birds and have sex, very often and in scenes that use the word ‘erogenous’ seven times, is a source of amusement to my friends and I. Oh, my bad, they’re the ‘Gods of Midnight’ series. Right.)
Well. I guess that brings me to my own novel-writing progress. Has there been any worth mentioning? No, not really, I’m still in the thinking stages. Besides my vampire idea, I also have a demon story, a fairy story, a somewhat religiously-toned story (cooler than it sounds from that description), and a futuristic scifi story, and a romance story– bet you can guess which inspired this post. 🙂
The guy to the left is a rough representation of my leading man. Except… sort of not really. He just looked really, really good when I was googling images of Romance Novel covers with Horses.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking, and stop it. Stop it now. It’s not like that, I swear.
Back when I was coming up with this idea, roughly a couple years ago, Amanda and I were talking about what I should write about. I’d thrown more than a few promising romance novel ideas around, several of which I still might like to write someday, when I came across my ‘Aimless Rider’ series. Yeah, series. Go ahead, groan– I get that a lot. xD
Basically it’s six stories based around a horse farm in Iowa, and the family that owns them. They can stand on their own, supposing that I got the first one published and nobody was interested in the others. However, I’d rather they went as a bunch though, because they’re just that awesome. 🙂
I think I’ll save the details for my next mini-update– I’ve rambled on here long enough. Hopefully you’re interested to hear more. If not, I’ll write it anyway!
Book Progress: Uhm.