Romance – It’s a Tough Gig

1200Every time an author sits down to write a book, you ask yourself a lot of questions. Is the story any good? Is the plot okay? Are the characters believable? Is there enough conflict and suspense? Is it too predictable? The list goes on and on.

I just received a new book on how to write good conflict and suspense. The only books I read are how to be a better writer. I always hope that my next novel will show growth in my craft and become more appealing to readers. I’m still tuning my style and finding my voice. Of course, this being my fourth fiction, you’d think I would have found it by now!

Today I stumbled across a few historical romances on Amazon from best selling traditionally published authors. I wanted to read why people liked what they wrote or why they didn’t like it. Wow, what an interesting exercise, which reminded me that the romance genre is one tough gig.

Here is a sample of the few colorful comments written in reviews:


So predictable as to be tedious
No romance
Boring characters
The hero is an idiot
The heroine is stupid
Zero chemistry between the hero and the heroine
Unbelievable plot
Historically inaccurate
Just threw the book against the wall

So, what are women looking for in romance? I’m asking that question as I start the second half of Dark Persuasion. I don’t really follow the “rules” of writing romance novels (yes, readers there are rules). I’m becoming hesitant about adding the word “romance” to my search terms. I’ve been told by another author that my books are more “historical fiction, with romantic elements.” Perhaps, I should stick with that description. However, when romance is the best selling genre around, you sort of want to keep your toe in the water to get noticed.

In any event, I’m back to that question, what are women looking for in romance novels? It seems there are more earls, dukes, lords, rogues, and rakes than you can shake a stick at. Covers are never-ending back-bared women in flowing dresses with handsome men sliding their hands down their bodies. Does every story need to sweep a reader off their feet? Does every story need to have a strong woman as a character? Does every story need to have a hero that makes your heart melt into a pool of jello when you imagine his hot lips capturing your own?

After reading all those comments today, it makes me a bit nervous with this book. I find myself back to the question: Do I write to please the masses or do I write to tell a story? I’m waffling here.

I’ll do my best with Dark Persuasion; but if you don’t like it, I give you permission to throw it against the wall. It won’t be the first time, since The Price of Innocence has taken that journey due to its ending. I was glad to hear today it wasn’t the first book that had made that trip.

You gotta love it!


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