Friday, June 29, 2012

The Essence of Romance


She was aware of him the moment he stepped into the room full of laughing, talking people.  As he made his way through the crowd, the sights and sounds around her faded.  She could see only him, and she felt her skin tingle, her chest tighten.


They had parted in anger two weeks ago.  And when she walked away from him, she knew their relationship could never work out.  Yet here he was, stalking purposefully toward her.
  
When she saw the look in his eyes, her heart skipped a beat, then started again in double time.  He was silently telling her that he needed her in every way a man could need a woman.  That their past differences were nothing compared to his love for her.

That’s the essence of a romance.  Two people in love.  Aching for each other but unable to work out their problems until the end of the book and sharing their emotions with the reader who is rooting for them to solve their problems.

There’s a reason why more romance novels are sold than any other type.  And it’s not just because women buy more books than men.  Romance is a genre of hope and optimism.  An affirmation of life and the values of love and commitment.  In a romance the heroine wins.  She ends up with the man she loves, a man who puts her above every other aspect of his life--and a relationship that will last because it has been forged in the fire of adversity.

And the reader gets what she wants.  A happy ending where the hero and heroine walk off together into the sunset, leaving you wishing you could read more of their story.

Like every other genre, romance has grown and evolved.  When I first started speaking at conferences or gave workshops, I used to tell people that the plot of a romance novel is the development of a relationship between a man and a woman.  Today I say it could be the development of a relationship between a woman and a lizard creature from the planet Alpha Lasagna.  Or a relationship between two men.  Or two women.

Yet the fundamentals remain the same.  And they always will as long as we want to laugh and cry, lust and love along with the characters in the books we read.  And as long as writers can give us characters who dare to reach out for love in the most unlikely place and then are rewarded with a relationship that will last a lifetime.

If you’re reading my first blog entry, I assume you’re interested in the romance genre.  Are you a reader or a writer?  And what’s your favorite type of story–historicals, contemporary, romantic suspense, inspirational, paranormal?

If you want insights into how a romance is written–whether from the perspective of a reader or a writer--come back for the next entry.  Next time I’m going to talk about great beginnings and how to grab the reader’s interest immediately.

I’m giving away a copy of my Harlequin Intrigue, SUDDEN INSIGHT, to one person who comments on this post.

 Copyright © 2012 Ruth Glick

34 comments:

  1. Enjoyed your first blog. I'll be back to sample more. Thanks!

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  2. Hi Rebecca,
    I write romantic suspense with a light paranormal thread.
    My reading habits follow the same theme but also other genres with favorite authors being Nora/JDRobb, Feehan,Evanovich, Hooper, Adair and York.
    Your new blog sounds great and I thank you for offering to share your wisdom!
    cheers
    Kathryn Jane

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  3. I agree completely about the idea of optimism being at the heart of romance's popularity. A great story about two beings (or sometimes even more) conquering their differences and committing to love is something to hold onto and make us smile, even when times are difficult.

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  4. The heart of a romance to me is the inevitable Happy Ever After (or the Happy For Now) the lends a certain optimism to the story, no matter how bleak things appear for the heroine and hero. I'm looking forward to your future posts!

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  5. I write Scottish historical paranormal and contemporary paranormal, and I totally agree. Even the most wounded heroes in these books heal with the help of the heroine, so no matter how dark the beginning, they find their way to the HEA.

    I'm looking forward to the rest of your blog series.

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  6. I write inspirational and paranormal. I started writing because I read and read and read. Now that I write I don't have as much time to read. It is interesting how learning the craft of writing has changed the way I look at a story. I'm excited to read your insights on writing a strong HEA.

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  7. Thanks everybody for the great comments.
    Rebecca

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  8. Cindy, I did have "and more" in my original blog post. I read it to my critique group, and they told me to take it out.

    Jolene, I have the same problem. I have less time to read because if my writing schedule.

    Rebecca

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  9. Hey Rebecca I like your post.
    I will stop by for more. I'm a little late here posting. I love how a romance flows and ends. I tend to lean more towards suspense with romance and romantic suspense too. A really good blend of the two is what I love to read when I take the time. I read at doctor's appointments, and other places. I've even taken a book with me if I go to McDonald's alone to eat lol

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  10. Ckcrouch, I've written about a dozen romances w/ no suspense, but I do love the mix of romance and suspense.

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  11. Rebecca, I wanted to drop by and inaugurate your new blogsite. I was completely taken in by the mini-scene you wrote. You are such an icon for me. I write in the romantic suspense genre, but my books are more romantic mysteries, without the driving hard edginess of the genre. I don't know how you have time to sleep with all you've accomplished. Perhaps your hands are typing as you sleep... Wishing you all the best, Maggie

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  12. Maggie, thanks so much! Yes, I had fun writing that little scene. It's not really "from" the kind of book I usually write, so it was fun getting a chance to do something different.

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  13. Rebecca,
    You are "romance". Your stories are what we as romantics dream of when we think of heroes and their heroines.

    When I write, I look to the 'what if...' equation and let my characters take over from there.

    I'm looking forward to hearing more from you in lessons to come. Hope you keep us posted.

    Hugs!

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  14. Loni, thanks. Yes, I'll keep posting. Thinking about how to break up topics to make them short enough for a blog.

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  15. Love romance. It's my favorite genre, hands down. I suppose, that's why I'm writing romance, too :-) For some reason, maybe because I'm wired as a woman, I find these stories deeply satisfying.

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  16. Rebecca, I thoroughly enjoyed your blog.

    I write humorous contemporary romance and I'm all about the character arc. I love seeing the characters when the book opens and watching them develop into the people they were meant to be with the help of their hero/heroine. The heat and the HEA are real attractions too.

    As for reading and writing, I have the same problem--too much writing, not enough reading. But still, I read almost exclusively romance.

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  17. Congratulations on your first blog post. Great insights on the evolution of romance as a genre. I really like your banner.
    I'm a reader and a writer. My favorite genre is romantic suspense and I read contemporary and paranormal. I'm sharing a glog (group blog) with two other authors and it's not that easy to come up with one post a week, let alone two. I will be checking back often to read your posts. Great good luck with this.
    *hugs*
    ~J.D. Faver

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  18. JD Favor--I know what you mean. Hard to come up w/ a couple of blog posts a week. But--um--this is a subject I know A LOT about. And I've made myself an outline of the topics I want to cover. The project started w/ an article I did for THE WRITER on Romance Writing 101. I got a lot of good response to it and thought--I can expand on each of the points I made, and more. So I'm not doing it by the seat of my pants. As I said earlier, the hard part is breaking it up into small enough chunks.

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  19. So glad you're doing this blog series. I try to continue my writing education through reading (mystery and romance, with some general fiction occasionally) and taking classes, as well as writing books. Since I'll miss the Nat'l conference this year, this comes at a great time. Always wise to learn from the best. :)

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  20. Hi Rebecca, I'm so glad you've started this blog, I'll definitely be mining it for inspiration. Anything to keep me on the path of writing the type of contemporaries I love to read. I'll definitely be checking back to see more. Thank you!

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  21. Wow, love that little scene you wrote. Just like the "some enchanted evening" moment in South Pacific. Really interesting post--I'll be back!

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  22. Hi Rebecca, great post! I write a quirky combination of mystery and paranormal (romantic elements rather than romance). For reading I really enjoy romantic suspense especially if it comes with a dash of paranormal.

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  23. Enjoyed the post - best wishes on the new blog! I write Science Fiction Romance and also Paranormal Romance (set in 1500 BC Egypt) and I *read* everything LOL!

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  24. Hi, Rebecca,
    Really enjoyed your post. You had me with your opener!
    Looks like this will be a fascinating blog.

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  25. It will be great to get the scoop on romance from someone who knows the genre so thoroughly. My stories tend to not have quite enough relationship in them to please romance fans, so I need to learn to work that in better.

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  26. Have fun with the new blog, because, you know, you need to write more.:)

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  27. Thank you for this. (Sent here from Twitter.)

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  28. I really like that beginning from "Chained." Is that part of an anthology, so I can get my hands on the rest of the story, because you have me hooked. WWRYD . . . hmmm.

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  29. It's not in an anthology, but you can get it for 99c on Amazon or B&N.

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  30. Thanks, glad to know it's on B&N because I'm a Nook Shnook.

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  31. Great blog on romance writing and the feeling a romance should leave you with. I adore your writing!!

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  32. Rebecca I have enjoy reading your books thru the *coughs* years. Lately I have been doing some role playing on line to pass the time in between waiting on new books. I saw your blog and though why the hell not read it. I have trouble not putting in more detail in my story lines to "catch" the reader.I am hoping by reading your blogs they will help me to better write my story line. Thanks and keep up the good writing. And looking forward to your next Night Creature book.

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