I love romance. I love the drama building, the emotional ups-and-downs as the characters involved try to prove themselves and win the other character’s affection. I love the back and forth (within reason) of: “Will they or won’t they?”
I can’t say I’m a huge fan of romance novels themselves. I read a couple of Harlequin books while I was in high school, but that particular genre was never my favorite.
I want to give the Outlander series a try, but I think that while those are romantic novels, they aren’t classifiable as pure romance, at least not from what I’ve seen and heard about them. Or hopefully they’re not just romance and my little fantasy-and-adventure-loving-self gets to enjoy them.
Then again, maybe I really just don’t know what constitutes a romance novel because I’ve never truly looked at reading one.
I adore romantic sub-plots in a fantasy-adventure type of book, so long as it’s done well.
What do I mean by that? Well, I want it to be believable and I want the characters involved to have real reasons for their attraction to one another. When they face problems in their relationship, I want it to be because they are real problems, not some sort of sitcom cheeseball issue that could be solved with honest communication and maturity.
I don’t enjoy most sitcoms for pretty much the same reason.
Romance to me is about getting swept up in the emotion, the giddy feeling of infatuation and attraction. Ultimately, I’m more interested in reading about the chase than the catch, so when the catch happens, I want to feel satisfied, not let down that the chase has ended.
I’m not a fan of the insta-romance — let me get to know the characters as individuals so that I can empathize and care about them getting together as a couple. I don’t have to like them both (though it helps) but I have to at least believe that what they feel for each other if it were to happen to real people, would be actual romance and love. Things like the first kiss or the first time they become intimate with one another should be built up to throughout the plot, not something that happens by chapter three — unless chapters one and two were really long and gearing up for the big stuff with plenty of anticipation.
When I work romance into my stories as a sub-plot, these are the things I’m looking at because that’s what I like to read. Love, romance, desire, passion, and all those related fuzzy feelings are one of the biggest driving forces in humanity.
We make art, music, poetry, literature, and war for love. Bring that into your book and I’ll be your number one fan.