I started writing contemporary fiction and graduated toward romance. I thought I knew the reasons then, but I’m not sure, now. I believe it’s one of the most popular genres. Perhaps that’s it. Whatever the reason, its been a wild ride.
Being asked to write about romance from a man’s perspective is hard. I want to express a testosterone filled opinion, (one you might expect), but there really isn’t one.
Men fall in love and get all googley eyed too. They get chills down their spines, goose bumps, and their knees grow weak. Flower, the skunk in Bambi, called it getting twitterpated. Most men, however, can’t describe it in ways that make women sigh.
Many men cry in movies and feel elated when boy gets girl in the end. So, when I set out to write romance I was confident. That’s when the confusion set in.
When I started down the road of writing romance, I discovered many conflicts. And came to some conclusions. As the only male member in my critique group, I’ve been lucky to get women’s opinions of my love scenes. I took my work to them and was told I’m writing women’s fiction, not romance. I wrote about that experience on LDS Writer’s Blogck,
I asked them to tell me what romance is. To subsidize my lessons, I consulted a book called How to Write Romance, published by Writer’s Digest and edited by Romance Writers of America.
I found many answers, but my group said it has to follow the formula.
1. Boy meets girl.
2. Boy gets girl.
3. Boy loses girl
4. Boy gets girl back.
5. They live happily ever after.
“But what about Nicholas Sparks?” I said.
“He doesn’t write romance,” They said.
Now, I’ve seen, Nights in Rodanthe, and I consider, The Notebook, to be one of the most romantic movies of our time. They said, since Sparks mostly ends his stories with tragedy, they’re not considered romance.
I shook my head. Okay, I admit it’s a guy thing, but I always assumed that when two people meet and fall in love, it’s romance. I learned that even though a story could have romantic overtones, it has to follow the formula.
Through reading old books and watching old movies, however, I’ve learned the formula is subjective. No two love affairs are the same and opinions vary. One woman’s perfect match might be repulsive to another woman. Stories are like that. Some writers touch your heartstrings, some don’t. It doesn’t make one story any less a romance than another.
So, I can follow the formula and write romance for romance sake. Or I can write stories that, hopefully, touch your heart. If they also, touch your romantic side, It’s icing on the cake. If that happens, you might think of me as a sensitive guy, but in the long run, I’m just a writer who’s listening to his characters.