PURE ROMANCE BOOKS
It's true that in general, females read more than males; statistics prove it. There's also no denying the popularity of straight-out romance novels, whether mainstream, erotic (bodice-rippers), or Christian-themed. I admit that in college I read Harlequin romances, although then they were probably more tame than nowadays. You may know the formulaic plot: girl meets guy, girl hates guy for varying (and often superficial) reasons, girl falls for guy against her will, girl adores guy until it's finally mutual, and then they live happily ever after.
Despite that formula, I had a friend who actually read the END of romance novels to make sure they ended happily, before she'd read the books!
SPLASHES OF ROMANCE
There are also books or stories where the romance is not the whole plot, but a subplot. The percentage of romance subplot varies from book to book. Paranormal romance novels take romance a step further by combining two genres, weaving a tale of romance between a character and a paranormal being. A girl falls in love with a fairy king or a fallen angel or a ghost or a werewolf or a vampire or a merman or a goblin king…etc. TWILIGHT by Stephenie Meyer is of course a famous example, as is SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater. Not to mention FALLEN and HUSH, HUSH.
In my own writing, I tend to include at least some romance, because I'm writing YA. When I was a teen, that was one of my favorite parts of a novel (was it yours?). The fun part of writing and developing characters is their interactions with each other, and quite often that works naturally into a romance.
BEWARE: DESCENT INTO CHEESINESS
Writing romantic scenes can be challenging. There is a risk of sounding melodramatic, cheesy, sappy, or even ridiculous. That first moment the hands touch, the first time a couple kisses--it can all be overdone as the electric tingles run down the arms, the lips press firmly together, and the arms clasp around each other's backs.
Ah, exquisitely true love! Um…yeah.
Especially be aware (and beware) of adverbs while writing romantic scenes. They not only Tell instead of show, they often give the prose a distant or melodramatic flair. Don't wax too poetic in these spots--especially if your prose or voice isn't that way during the rest of the novel. And don't strain too hard to be original, so much that you perform outrageous literary feats with your metaphors and similes. Often, simpler is better. It's a tough balance between too much attention or description, and not enough. Sometimes I write my rough drafts and cringe when I return to them!
Have you ever written a straight-out, pure romance book?
Do you feel confident writing romantic scenes into your novel or story?
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1=lowest), how important do you feel romance is in a novel?
Do you think it's more important to include romance in a YA/teen novel, compared to an adult novel?
Come back next Wednesday: BOOK AND CRITIQUE GIVEAWAYS!!