Monday, January 28, 2013

What Makes A Romance

So what makes a romance? I felt it was time again to revisit this idea for many writers who seem to think this is what they are sending out to editors and agents. Let's visit a few of these myths.

"My story has a romance in it, therefore it is a romance" FALSE
The thing that makes a romance is the fact that the relationship building and the romance is the central story arc. The goal of the story is to watch the romance build to that final culmination of the Happily Ever After.
A writer might insert a romance in the middle of the plot, but if this is not the main storyline, then it falls outside of this genre.

"My story is set during a romantic period of time, therefore it is a romance." FALSE
Location and setting do not play a role in deciding if something is a romance or not. I can set a story in a very romantic period of time and focus on the ugliness. Again, I would also remind you of that first myth. What is your central storyline? That determines if it is a romance. Think plot here, not setting.

"My two characters end up dating and getting married therefore it is a romance."
O.K. so your charcters are dating and maybe get married. This is an element in the plot but are you focusing on this arrangement or something else? (Are you getting the idea here that you have to look at your central storyline?)

"My story is a autobiographical work about my wife and I getting married, therefore it is a romance." FALSE
This one should have jumped out at you from the beginning and the 5th word. You just told me it is an autobiography. This is what you pitch. Not the romance.

I bring this up because there are many writers out there that seem to think they can just market their books in any way that meets the needs of the agent or editor you are contacting. You cannot change something that is what it is. If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, then it is a duck. You can't simply change the name if you need something else.


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