Monday, March 4, 2013

Why The Romance Genre Will Never Fade

Genres come and go. For anyone who has ever studied literature, this is a pretty obvious statement. Every generation has a moment when they create a new genre as a way to express their feelings, thoughts and emotions. When a new generation moves in, the older style disappears and a new one comes into play. But, if we look throughout history, a genre that has pretty much been there throughout the thick and thin has been romance. Yes, the style and approach the authors used might have shifted, but, at the core of it all, the romance has still been there.

Although we might like stories of action, demons, or criminal investigations, it seems that readers, time and time again, still like that good ol' romance. We love it when two of our characters find happiness. In fact, regardless of what some might say, we still love that happily ever after when we close that book.

If you think about it, when we talk about movies that we have seen, or tv shows we become addicted to, the stories that we frequently return to as we talk to our friends about it the next day are frequently the romance element. We are naturally drawn to it. Sure, the chase scene might have been great, the cinematography might have been incredible, even the dialogue might have been spot on, but it is still the romance that we bring to the center of our conversation.

Why is it? The simple fact is that romance is at the heart of human interaction. Remember, literature is found in the Humanities department on college campuses. The thing about romance is that we as "readers" can learn, grow and relate to the things these characters go through. We can view the relationships as wishful thinking and, like Snow White, think that "someday our prince (or princess) will come." We can see how people overcome struggles and problems most of us would run from like  Anna and Mr. Bates in Downton Abbey. We can reminisce about our first loves and the people that will always be in our hearts like Winnie and Kevin in The Wonder Years. And we can certainly learn from mistakes those characters make when they do something stupid so that we don't face the same problem in our life, like Scarlett and Rhett.

Authors in romance should be amazingly proud of the work they are doing. This is far from an easy task to take on. Telling stories that have to mirror real human emotions and feelings is a tough challenge. In the end, the success of the storytelling doesn't come down to amazing graphics or world building, but the ability of that author to accurately portray a human emotions and feelings at the basic natural level.

I have often been asked why I have specialized Greyhaus Literary Agency on the romance and women's fiction genre. The simple truth is that I have always been drawn to stories that focus on the human being at the core. All of my undergraduate and graduate work in Literature kept coming back to finding stories and pieces of literature that put the human relationship and all of the feelings and emotions attached to it at the core. Even when I studied history, I would always look at the things that happened, not simply as a series of events with outcomes that changed history. I would look at it through the eyes of the individuals living it.

Romance is here to stay. We might change how we deliver the romance to the readers (digitally or on paper). We might change who the characters are (zombies, demons or scandalous Rakes). But, we will still want that happily ever after.

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