Saturday, April 24, 2010
WildCard Weekend - Celebrating Category Romance!
Linda Ford joins us today with a wonderful, wonderful post - that explains exactly what the Pink Heart Society is all about!
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: 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."
Umm. I love how they identify romance—satisfying and optimistic. Yes. Just what I need.
One of the earliest romance novels was Samuel Richardson's popular 1740 novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, which was revolutionary on two counts: it focused almost entirely on courtship and did so entirely from the perspective of a female protagonist.
I wouldn’t have guessed the first romance was so early. Did they not still read from parchment rolls back then? Kidding.
In North America, romance novels are the most popular genre in modern literature, comprising almost 55% of all paperback books sold in 2004. The genre is also popular in Europe and Australia, and romance novels appear in 90 languages.
On his orders, the company conducted a market test with the novel he had read and discovered that it outsold a similar, tamer novel. Overall, the novels were short and formulaic, featuring heroines who were sweet, compassionate, pure and innocent. The few heroines who worked did so in traditional female jobs, including nurses, governesses and secretaries. Intimacy in the novels never extended beyond a chaste kiss between the protagonists.
On October 1, 1971, Harlequin purchased Mills and Boon. By this point, the romance novel genre "had been popularized and distributed widely to an enthusiastic audience" in Great Britain.
Robyn Whyte is quoted in http://www.dime-co.com/romance/Reasons_to_Read_Romance.shtml
as giving these reasons for the popularity of the category romance (I have taken the liberty of condensing her excellent article)
Renewal: When all the craziness of day to day life needs to be returned to a balance between living and reacting, there is nothing better than stepping into a romance.
Hope: Romance readers also reported seeing a sense of hope in books about romance. As human beings, we need to have a sense of hope and when our own spirit is battered, why not a romance?
The Predictability Factor: While not every romance is exactly the same, we can take the guess work out of a book by selecting a romance right away. We can know for certain that at the end of the book, we are promised a happy ending.
Sharing the Hero: And naturally, we can also assume that women read romance in droves for the heroes. Think of some of the heroes you may have read. They are usually gorgeous, tortured, complex souls that absolutely would melt the heart. Truly, I think many women just want to entwine their own lives in reading of these men who will do what it takes to solve the day's problem.
My 10 personal favorite reasons for writing category:
1. Having a solid business (HQ) behind me.
2. Being able to write stories of overcoming, enduring love
3. Being able to explore deep emotional issues
4. Being valued as an author
5. Taking my characters, and my readers, on a journey of growth that prepares them to live a full, satisfying life.
6. I love being part of a network of like-minded authors.
7. I value what I do and don’t mind telling those who pooh-pooh what I do, how and why I value it.
8. I get to live in my imagination.
9. I meet interesting people (In my imagination, my research and in writing organizations)
10. I like feeling like Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone--remember her tears of joy and satisfaction?-- when I get to the end of a satisfying story—ones I write and ones I read.
So go out and buy a romance and enjoy the escape into hope and optimism. Enjoy a satisfying ending.
Go and write a romance knowing that’s what our stories bring to people.
And be proud.
So why do you read and/or write category romance?
Linda's latest romance is her Love Inspired title, The Cowboy's Baby.
You can catch up with her at her website: http://www.lindaford.org/.