Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Contemporary Romances Are Not Dead

Despite rumors out there, contemporary romances are not dead!

I thought that maybe, if I made that statement, we could see some more contemporary romances moving to the surface of the submission pile.

Over the past several years, I have seen more and more people shying away from the contemporary romances because, (at least I think this to be the case) contemporary romances just lack the excitement and passion that the other subgenres have. Honestly, what this statement is really saying is "I need to have all of this extra baggage going on in the story to make this a great novel." Bah humbug!

As most of you know, I am always screaming that I want characters and story lines that don't have excessive baggage and plot devices. I want to follow stories and characters that are real and show great depth. I want stories that have people that I would want as friends. I don't want stories that are so plot focused that really, it doesn't matter who the characters are in the story, the plot line will be the same. Too often, though, writers are moving to these alternative genres just to get that excitement. I hear them say, "But contemporary romances are soooo boring. I want excitement!"

My answer to them is simple - "Make it exciting."

When I describe contemporary romances, I often say I want big stories with the depth of a historical. In other words, all of that world building and scene setting you do with those regencies needs to get transferred to the contemporary setting. I want real people.

Think about some of the people around you that are honestly IN LOVE. Are these people being chased by demons from the underworld? Are they all in some disfunctional relationship with an ex that is stalking them? Are they involved with some mulit million dollar deal that is there to ruin the town? No. They are real people.

These are the stories we want to see.

I am going to give you a hint here. When things open up in June for submissions, this will be one of those genres I am looking for! Make me see that real people can fall in love again!



  1. Hey Scott,
    Your comments are a big hit with the authors on the PASIC loop!

  2. Big hit with the Women's Fiction chapter as well - especially with me. :)

  3. Hum. I don't read them because in addition to being,well, boring, they are set in a world that I know only too well. Nothing to learn. I read historicals because I enjoy learning something new.
    Your comments do interest me, therefore, could you name some titles that are both set in contemporary times and engaging to the reader? Thank you.Always willing to give it another try. I did enjoy two now-classics, Ordinary People, and Deep End of the Ocean, both beautifully written novels set in my own time, more or less. The good ones seem far & few between.

  4. I do think there are great contemporaries out there -- but they're not getting enough attention for people to find them. I love stories with real life issues, deep characters and, yes, it does add excitement, even if it isn't the kind that races through a city on a life or death mission.

    I think there's room out there for all genres. As a women's fiction author I say, Thanks Scott for championing this one!

  5. I'm with you - I love contemporaries! And I don't need every character to have been raised in the foster care system or to have an alcoholic / abusive father to find them interesting, either! We're all quite capable of being messing up our lives without the assistance of the foster system :)
    Give me real, screwed-up, empathize with-able, lovable characters any day...

  6. Just came back from a conference where I found out historicals are in. I write contemporary romances. But inspirational. It's all I read!