As writers, we are encouraged to “know your genre.” We must know what genre we are writing in order to ensure our stories meet the conventions that readers expect. For example, a writer can call his or her book a romance, but if it doesn’t have a happily-ever-after, or at least a happily-for-now, reviewers are going to skewer the author, leaving him or her curled in a fetal position, sobbing into their Wheaties. Hell hath no fury like a reader scorned.
The journey to knowing my genre lead me to a surprising discovery. When I first made the move from fan fiction to original works, I considered myself to be a sci-fi/fantasy girl. I knew the stories that I wanted to write, but, try as I might, I couldn’t get the pieces to fall into place. One day I read a blog post about knowing your genre and decided that I needed to take a good long look at what I had already written. I logged into my fan fiction account where my gaze was drawn to the categories that I had selected for my stories. They were:
It didn’t take long for me to see a trend. I was a romance writer! When the realization struck, I was horrified. What would people think? What was I going to do? Romance novels, as well as those who read and write them, get a bad rap from, well, virtually everyone. Once the initial wave of dizziness passed, I decided to look at my situation from a new perspective.
I adored the fan fiction that I had written and some of my stories seemed to resonate with readers. As a matter of fact, it was their positive feedback that had given me the courage to begin writing original stories. For me, the growing love between the main characters is what made the story work – everything else revolved around it. Once I realized that, I practically heard angels singing. The romance was what was missing from my sci-fi/fantasy stories! Once I added it into the mix, all of the formerly disparate pieces began falling into place.
Once a reluctant romance writer, I am reluctant no longer. Romance novels are the best-selling genre. Obviously, happily-ever-afters resonate with many, many readers. I’m honored to be a part of the romance writing community and proudly hold my love banner high. I hope that my stories make readers laugh, sigh, and feel better for having read them. After all, isn’t love what makes the world go round?
Tell me, dear readers, what do you love about romances?
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