Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Why Romance Will Always Be A Big Seller In Fiction

We go into bookstores and have to go to a back corner to find the romance section. We go to general fiction writing conferences and hear other writers say "Oh? You write romance?" with a tone as if they are looking down their noses. But, I am sorry to say this to all of you who think so little of this genre, romance has been around for a long time and is not going anywhere.

Obviously the numbers say it all. This is a $1 Billion dollar industry with 64% reading romance at least once a month. These figures come from the Romance Writers of America, but if you ask romance writers and readers, the numbers really are not the big picture.

Why is it that people read romance? For the simple fact that we love the happily ever after! We love watching a couple go through the same struggles we face every single day, and always triumph. Good does triumph over evil. We read these novels because, although we know how the story will end, this is a chance for us to work through our own issues through the lives of the characters.

Romance novels are not about the things that happen behind closed doors, like so many believe. These are stories about real people (O.K. some may be vampires and other paranormal beings) with real emotions and real feelings. We read these stories to watch relationships build and, for those of us in relationships, this is a chance to relive our own relationships.

If you ask the followers of the Diana Gabaldon OUTLANDER series, although they might take a bit of pleasure in seeing Jamie run around in a kilt and no shirt, what they really talk about is how the Jamie and Claire truly love each other. They talk about the relationship. They talk about the things they do for each other. That is romance!

These stories make us smile. We can be sitting on a commuter train or bus in the busiest city in the world, coming home after a completely terrible day, and disappear into a world of complete happiness. And people have been doing this for centuries. When you consider the time Shakespeare was writing and performing his plays, this was not exactly the most pleasant of times. The real world was pretty disgusting, but when that audience walked into the doors of the Globe Theatre and saw Romeo and Juliet, they saw romance. When they watched Beatrice and Benedict struggle during the early acts of Much Ado About Nothing and triumph in the end as they recognized they truly were in love, that ugly world outside was gone. And, I am sure, when they walked out the door, back into the real world, they probably did so with a smile on their face.

Romance is the ultimate example of a humanities genre. These are stories about humans. These are stories that study humans. And these are stories that celebrate humans. So, is romance going away soon? I think not.

1 comment:

  1. Although . . . Romeo and Juliet didn't end so "happily ever after."