Have you ever read a romance without romance?
Unfortunately, I have. It was a lot like the time I ordered a Southwest Salad at Wendy’s and only got the lettuce, no chili. Bland, bland, bland.
The day I got the salad (a friend went through the drive through and didn’t check my order to notice there was no chili) I ate the plain lettuce as I was starved and didn’t have time or money to get more food. But I didn’t enjoy it and I was mad at Wendy’s for awhile for cheating me. I also boycotted them for a time.
When I read a book labeled as a “romance”, sweet, erotic, or in-between, I want my romance.
I don’t mind sex. I don’t mind no sex. But I want to fall in love. I want to savor the emotional journey. I want to lose myself in the magic.
A romance writer myself, I try very hard to put a lot of romance in my romances. I also know how tough it is, especially in short erotic stories where the editor demands a lot of sex up front as well as often in the book. It’s a real juggle to fit in all the required elements.
It’s sort of a joke: “More sex, more sex, more sex.” But it’s not. My editors are deadly serious. That’s what sells their lines. I hear their mantra in my sleep. They do not mean, however, “less romance”.
Still, when you’re writing a story under 15,000 words, it’s a real test of talent and every scene has to zing. An even greater challenge is trying to write 1,000 words or less like I’ve been doing lately for the Log & Short Reviews. As of today, L&S has only published one of my ultra short stories and I’m waiting for work whether not my three other submissions made the cut.
Don’t get me wrong. I like sex and reading about it. As a kid I used to dog earl all the juicy scenes in my Harlequins to reread and I occasionally snuck into my Dad’s stash of his, uh, romance.
However, if I had to make a choice between lots of romance with no sex or lots of sex with little or no romance, I’d choose romance every time.
So what is romantic?
Here’s what I think is romantic: love, longing, affection, caring, pining, awareness of the other, hope, poignant memories, heartache. I may have missed some characteristics, but notice, I did not say anything about sex.
Again, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not dissing sexy books. I love them – as long as they include romance. To me, romance is the sexiest thing there is.
Recent posts you might like to read:
Don't Bomb Your Audience With Turkeys
Are You Writing Me Into Your Book?
Dont Give Up Too Early
Welcome to the Spookiest Month of the Year (+ don't burn your Ouija Board!)
Friday Fill-ins Oct. 2 (& e-Readers)
You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook, Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch, Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)