Friday, September 2, 2011

Some Thoughts On Contemporary Romances

People often ask what I am looking for in a contemporary. I was working a couple of days ago and had on some cheesy 80's ballads and this one came up and of course got me thinking.

One of the things that I honestly feel is missing with the contemporary romances today is the real sense of passion and relationship development. The stories seem to be all focused on over-the-top sex scenes, outrageous plot developments and "witty" dialogue. While these elements are certainly fine when used in the right places and the right time, the passion and the true romance is what seems to be missing.

I honestly remember this when it was live on TV and remember at that time how impressed I was at the drama and the clear sense of romance that was being played out on stage. Even though this is a break up song, you can still see the passion that was there, and honestly, if the right spark was in the right place and the right time, that passion would again show up.

If I were to place this song anywhere in the story, this is really toward the end of the story. We have seen all of the great things heading up to the romance, and then the dark moment shows up. If a writer has done a great job of building the romance, then this should be an amazing emotional scene.

So, you wanted to know what I want in contemporary romance? The passion that Neil and Babs have right here!



  1. Ooh! That video gave me goosebumps! And I so agree with your post. I was thrilled when NAL let me return to contemps, but the the books have changed a lot since I last wrote them ten yrs ago.

    Still, although I suspect my stories fit somewhere between a lot of the contemporary romance on the market and women's fiction, I'm sticking with my preference to spend time developing the relationships, not just between the main characters, but also with others, because I've always believed that each secondary character should reveal a different aspect of the main character.

    And, as you've demonstrated with that song, passion can certainly come from more than hot sex. ;)

    Thanks for bringing this up; it's a great topic.

  2. I think that the ability to bring forth that type of strong, heartfelt emotion is every writers goal, and every reader's delight.

  3. That gave me chills....

  4. That clip made me cry. I remember when it was on TV too, but I was too young then to have been in a relationship that would have connected to that song. I'm, um, over 40 ... and I would argue that this passion, this depth of backstory and honest connection is missing from other genres as well -- literary fiction in particular. Characters can have all the sex in the world, but there was more tension (sexual & emotional) in that performance than in many films we watch today too. Thank you for making me feel something this morning.

  5. Yes. I watched the movie ALWAYS this weekend (Richard Dreyfess and John Goodman were awesome) which didn't ring the bell for me as a romance though that's all it really is... I was also reading Nora Robert's "Bed of Roses" which also missed the emotional power but was easier and more entertaining.

    I'm getting tired of quirky characters and snappy dialogue. But the market is loyal romance readers and introducing passionate love stories to a new readership who has no interest in reading romances is the challenge of a romance novelist today.