Sooooo… I have a bone to pick, and I am in a fighting mood.
Who are you people who turn your noses up at romance novels and beach reads? Who are you heathens that think because one is not talking about blowing stuff up or spies or gore or a dog, God help me, it simply doesn’t add up?
This is not a new conversation, it’s a legacy argument that makes its way round every season, every year unfailingly. The powers that be simply think if one is not talking about whatever “literary” it-trope is banging about, one cannot be taken serious as a writer or a reader even. Books about dogs and horses are fine, maybe a bit of a bore, and I really love dogs; but there is no reciprocity enough to capture the emotions of complication, fear, love, sex… A good old chick-lit, or whatever we are calling the genre these day, where emotions are bare knuckle and all out, the complexity of the start, the not so pleasant middle ground, the HEA ending… is some kind of magic! Romance delves into the complexity of emotions, language, and dialogue in the unspoken that is in itself a majesty in writing and don’t even get me started on spoken dialogue that moves the story along.
Romance is a money making genre, it is the reason we can get books by authors who want to write about their dogs and will be proclaimed as literary geniuses, it is the genre that makes money and holds up the publishing industry that fails to acknowledge its cash cow or give due to the section of the industry that props it up so that it can publish books that cost seventy-five quid by music legends that will let’s be honest; not really stack up.
I mean, I did say I was in a fighting mood innit.
Romance has heart, it is emotional and most importantly, emotive and for a writer to capture those emotions in words, on the page, words that move a reader to drop all they are doing, email the author whom they may never meet in real life, to tell them what they have done because of the power of their way with words… that shit is bloody incredible. When an author adequately captures the essence of a love connection, a sex scene, heightened tensions, by the words on a page… it is such a level of greatness. It can be something as flimsy as going shopping and the level of complication that mundane action takes in a romance novel or as rigorous as grieving the loss of a great love that leaves you in wreck (although please authors our heroes/heroines in HEA must never die)… that level of greatness does something for the human in us. It tells us that the author considered our feelings, knowing that their words would mean something to someone someday.
One of my favourite moments in any romance is the third act conflict… these are the moments that can make or break a story and romance novel authors, often times get it right but make no mistake, this is not an easy skill to master… because the third act break is a moment that can be divisive however, when done right it brings the reader along because depending on how the writer has set up the story, readers should be invested in their hero/heroine and still root for them, but this is the climax of the book that fairly or unfairly makes the writer earn their stripes. It’s hard work because break up are messy in real life let alone in plot. The third act conflict is driven by something outside of the hero/heroine’s control, but these moments takes us to a crescendo that they fall can either smash to piece and reduce it all to smoke or the characters can build something new because it is going back to who they were before meeting their partner, and divesting themselves of whatever falsehoods had led them all through as they decide to be who they can be with their other; partner, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife… this cannot be done with a dog or a horse. Forgive me, it simply cannot. This is where the best of our characters are revealed and to a great extent, the worst. It is make or break in dialogue, plot, scene, lust and in love… it is similar to most situations we find ourselves in, as humans because we are always in some sort of third act break up in life. It is the moment you determine what it is you want for yourself; at this juncture you are either ready to move on with or without the person; a good romance novel that leads to happily ever after with the characters will bring the reader along to let us root for them to get their shit together and get it done. The third act break up is a masterclass that most other genres could never.
These are facts.
So, to all of us who have been made to feel less than because of our choice in books, please note that you are far more emotionally adept and superior to those who will mock you for your choice because they simply never could understand the level of complications and emotions. Dare I say, you are more emotionally intelligent. Besides, life is a shit show these days so we take our happiness where we can get it. In a Happily Ever After… INJECT IT ALL.
And on that note; one of my all-time favourite books got a re-read and the review is up to read. Go here…
And if you are in the mood for some summer reading; I am continuing the short stories so go read here.
And happy reading of the ever afters.