Monday, June 22, 2009

What's a Romance Novel?

It’s almost July and I’m wondering what happened to June. Which brings to mind the fact that in July, I’m teaching at the Harriette Austin Writers Conference. I’m going to be talking about writing romance novels . (That’s a good thing since that’s what I write—with a bit of suspense thrown in.)

So, in researching my information, I found some interesting definitions of what a romance novel is. I really got a kick out of the last one.

What is a romance novel?
• As defined by Wikipedia - The romance novel is a literary genre developed in Western culture, mainly in English-speaking countries. Novels in this genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."

• As defined by Romance Writers of America - RWA is a national organization with 8,200 members and describes romance novels as "stories whose main focus is the relationship between a man and a woman. The most important aspect of a romance novel, and what identifies it as such, is the guaranteed happy ending, the establishment of a lifetime commitment between one man and one woman."

• As defined by ANOTHER- fiction genre in which love conquers all, bosoms heave, and cowboys are the best things since sliced bread.

Didn’t that last one make you laugh out loud? Haven’t we come a long way in our writing and storytelling? What I love about Christian Romance novels is that we not only get to weave a story about a woman and a man falling in love, we get to talk about the greatest romantic story ever written. Christ’s love for his bride—us. How cool is that? And it has the best ending EVER.

What do you guys think?


Molly Noble Bull said...

Good article, Lynette. I love a good mystery. Keep them coming.

Lynette Eason said...

Thanks Molly, you're the best!

Diana said...

I absolutely love Christian romance, there is nothing better than reading a great story where God is in control! And what can be more exciting that will she or won't she tension?

Lynette Eason said...

You're so right, Diana! Thanks for stopping by!


Lisa Buffaloe said...

Great article, Lynette. I loved the last definition. What a hoot!

PamelaTracy said...

I'm laughing because in my college classes I'm forever telling my students that Wikipedia is not a source they can use, yet the definition you provided from them is actually the best.

Rylee said...

What a fun piece!

As much as we think we've "evolved" in our thinking, I go with the old definition. In 1901Frank Norris said romance was what cut to the heart of things . . . and I believe that's still true. That's why it captivates us, in all its forms.

squiresj said...

A romance novel is a story about how a woman and man meet and fall in love. It is about their relationship - pit falls and things that bring them to the point they realize they love each other. I love historical, inspirational, contemporary and any that don't go into the complete sex scene. Love is a special thing and it is way more than sex. My husband and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage tomorrow and I will always remember how we met.

Edna said...

I feel like the best romance novel is the Christian ones, not like the xrated ones I used to read. I like the romance to leave a little to the imagination but let it always come out with a happy ending, even the mystery ones can end happy.


Project Journal said...

I agree with Edna. In the summer, my aunt and I sit out by the pool reading our romance novels. However, hers are the "xrated" and mine are the LI! I always pick on her to switch over, but no such luck quite yet...

Linda said...

I have to admit that the promised good ending doesn't do it for me. It's not necessarily real life. Leaving a romance die out gives readers and writers to learn to deal with grief. Certainly not always fun, but a little more realistic. Otherwise there's no surprise ending. I guess I'd be a rebel romance novel writer!!!