And the wave of groans bombards me. Stop right there. This isn’t what you think it is 🙂
Seven years ago, when I knew I wanted to be a writer, I didn’t know what genre I wanted to write. So I researched it. Nothing gave me more of an eye-opening perspective than Romance. Of all genres out there, romance is the top selling. It has the most books, it has the most authors. But that didn’t surprise me. What surprised me was the sheer quantity of subgenres.
My husband once shared that he read a romance and “never again.” I went to bat for the genre.
“One? Just one? You can’t do that.”
Because of all all genres, there are virtually dozens. In addition to having urban, fantasy, paranormal, historical, erotica, Harlequin, and contemporary, you also have the era’s to choose from. What do I mean?
Simply put, a romance written in the 1960’s DOES NOT read like a romance written in the 1990’s or the 2010’s. In short, romance reflects the feminist movements of the current day. When I researched romance, I had to read more than twenty books and not ONE of those books was anything like the last. Not all of them had men with rippling pectorals. Not all of them had a vicker’s son who swept the lady off her feet. Not all of them had sexual content.
For the record, my husband read a Harlequin (he doesn’t believe in judging without knowing). Harlequin literally prints a low-price monthly release. Most readers of Harlequin go in on the first of every month, purchase more than ten books (Harelquin’s monthly release), they read these books then trash them. That’s right. These books are meant to be thrown in the garbage after every read. They are printed, sold, and read just like a magazine. That is a Harlequin. This is the book with Fabio on the cover.
I prefer Karen Marie Moning, who writes historical romance that bridges the gap into urban. The sex takes a back seat to her plots, which are insane! The heroin of her book, “Iced,” was 14 years old. No, the 14 year old is not sexualized. The 14 year old has made it very clear she isn’t interested in sex. Too many dark Fae to slaughter to worry about sex while the apocalypse takes place in Ireland. Heheheee… I love it!
So we’ve established the romance genre. The market is currently swamped with vampires and werewolves and —ugh! I hated Twilight. The final book was actually good, but I may have been simply relieved to move on from the “I love you so much, Edward” and actually find a plot.
I’ve stumbled upon this…desire to write in a style most are calling “unusual,” but they’re loving it. My stories can only be described as “romance” and I cringe at that term. Because it is only as much a romance as The Phantom of the Opera was. So I thought, “Gothic romance.” But everyone thinks Twilight and once again I say, “No!” I then realize this is probably what H.G. Wells had to put up with when he said “Sci-fi” and everyone thought Jules Verne.
So this is me telling you my “romance” is more of a classic gothic romance. “Sentimental or idealized love focused around a portentously gloomy or horrifying experience.” My poem, The Raven and The Crow is a perfect example of this. Poe! Poe is this. His Annabel Lee… Ah, heck! I’m tired of talking about it, but never showing…So here is Poe’s Annabel Lee!
That is how I see classic gothic romance. My characters will love as deeply as Wesley and Buttercup, but there will be no happy ending without a price being paid.