Author Topic: Question for romance readers/authors  (Read 2094 times)  

Offline Rena Arun

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 89
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2017, 07:50:50 AM »
Wow, what an interesting question and what a lot of cans of worms it opens up!

I think you could get away with this opening scenario in a thriller, but for romance you'd be treading on a lot of idealizations we like to harbor. And as much as we like to push the envelope on talk shows and realty TV, the romance genre is for fantasy. A fantasy in which there aren't too many grey areas, in fact none at all when it comes to sexuality. The hero can never be anything but completely satisfying to the heroine and vice versa. And sex is still sacred to the hero/heroine alone. Which is why having divorced women (as opposed to widowed, for ex.) is extremely problematic for a successful romance that appeals to a broad readership. The genre is full of all sorts of ideals that we see transgressed in the real world daily but we won't tolerate in our fantasies.

But like I said, such an opening would work perfectly well in a thriller.

Offline Usedtoposthere

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 5435
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2017, 09:53:02 AM »
Wow, what an interesting question and what a lot of cans of worms it opens up!

I think you could get away with this opening scenario in a thriller, but for romance you'd be treading on a lot of idealizations we like to harbor. And as much as we like to push the envelope on talk shows and realty TV, the romance genre is for fantasy. A fantasy in which there aren't too many grey areas, in fact none at all when it comes to sexuality. The hero can never be anything but completely satisfying to the heroine and vice versa. And sex is still sacred to the hero/heroine alone. Which is why having divorced women (as opposed to widowed, for ex.) is extremely problematic for a successful romance that appeals to a broad readership. The genre is full of all sorts of ideals that we see transgressed in the real world daily but we won't tolerate in our fantasies.

But like I said, such an opening would work perfectly well in a thriller.
Huh? I've written plenty of divorced heroines and my books have a broad readership. I've also written heroines and heroes who were involved with/engaged to somebody else when they meet the hero/heroine (and having sex). Ditto for heroes. But once they start getting romantically involved (dating or just very interested), they break up with the other person.

In my experience romance readers judge about the same as women do in real life, toward men or women. If you're getting involved with somebody else, you break up first. And cheating is crappy.

Offline Usedtoposthere

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 5435
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2017, 10:09:13 AM »
Nobody is saying that people in life don't cheat, lie, and do all kinds of awful things. Just that you wouldn't write those people as romance protagonists. Just as you probably wouldn't write your neighbor Bob as the hero of an action thriller.

Flawed heroes and heroines are great. The reader just has to believe that this person is capable (or realistically becomes capable) of sustaining a loving lifelong relationship with the other person. Any of us who have been around for a while probably know what that kind of relarionship ought to look like. If rife with misunderstandings, anger, drama, and lack of communication, a happily ever after doesn't look realistic. 

That said there's a market for high drama romance that wouldn't look like it would realistically go the distance. Know your audience.

Offline C. Gold

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 879
    • View Profile
    • Golden Elm Publishing
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2017, 12:59:28 PM »
Huh? I've written plenty of divorced heroines and my books have a broad readership. I've also written heroines and heroes who were involved with/engaged to somebody else when they meet the hero/heroine (and having sex). Ditto for heroes. But once they start getting romantically involved (dating or just very interested), they break up with the other person.

In my experience romance readers judge about the same as women do in real life, toward men or women. If you're getting involved with somebody else, you break up first. And cheating is crappy.
Same here, only with reading them. I don't see why divorce is a bad thing since that was a failed marriage, the guy did something wrong (talking heroine here), he cheated or something and definitely wasn't as good in the sack as the hero once they get together.

The only important thing is that once the H/h are together, there's no cheating, they are made for each other, and no other relationship came close to what they have now. That includes past boyfriends, girlfriends, and marriages.

Cheating is indeed crappy - it's the single best way to destroy a person's self-esteem and obliterates their trust in the other person. There's no coming out of that with a HEA, not in a single book and probably not ever. I've stopped reading a very popular series as soon as cheating was being considered because it's my line in the sand. I can't stand seeing authors make light of something so devastating to people in real life. No, I wasn't cheated on but I've seen what it does to others around me.

With that said, I don't see having sex with a friend while in a fake arranged marriage cheating until the h/H begin to fall for each other. I was merely more interested in the hate to love relationship, but if the book is long enough and includes the other that could work if handled delicately.

Oh and H is the guy because it's taller and thicker than h for the woman and h has a more shapely look to it, while H looks like some caveman drew it!  ;) :D

Offline elizabethbarone

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1022
  • Gender: Female
  • Watertown, CT
  • Contemporary Romance & Suspense
    • View Profile
    • Elizabeth Barone: Contemporary Romance & Suspense
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2017, 02:27:24 PM »
The only on-the-page sex that should be happening is between the heroine and hero. It turns readers off, otherwise. You can work it in off the page, though; I've seen plenty of storylines where there was someone else in the beginning but the hero snags her, or they break up and see other people in between. It just has to be handled properly. Your readers are supposed to be rooting for the hero, after all, and sex between the heroine and hero is viewed as a payoff for cheering them on. It's essentially a consummation of the HEA (even if it happens before they decide to be together forever), if that makes sense.

Connect With Me: BlogFacebook | Instagram

Offline Michele_Mills

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 262
  • Gender: Female
  • California
    • View Profile
    • website
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2017, 02:58:52 PM »
Am I allowed to be offended that the Hero is represented by a great big capital H, while the heroine has only a teeny weeny little h?
I think most of my romance reading/writing peers are kinda horrified that I persist in my "old fashioned" use of H/h. Most people nowadays tend to use h/h to make sure it represents an equal power dynamic. I still use H/h though as purely an organizational tool to keep Hero and heroine apart. I talk alot on Twitter and if you use h/h in tweets its easy to start getting all mixed up on whether you're talking about Hero or heroine. So finally I said, oh, forget it, I'm using H/h and that's it! I feel comfortable doing this because I know that it's not because I place more value upon the Hero, it's just a visual for me, a way to differentiate between the two. And since on average, men are taller than women, in my head it makes sense they'd have the taller H. Although maybe I should start using h/H if I put the two together, to signify equality? Hmm...:)

Michele Mills | Facebook | Twitter

Online Atunah

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 11033
  • Gender: Female
  • South of Seasons
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2017, 03:40:59 PM »
I think most of my romance reading/writing peers are kinda horrified that I persist in my "old fashioned" use of H/h. Most people nowadays tend to use h/h to make sure it represents an equal power dynamic. I still use H/h though as purely an organizational tool to keep Hero and heroine apart. I talk alot on Twitter and if you use h/h in tweets its easy to start getting all mixed up on whether you're talking about Hero or heroine. So finally I said, oh, forget it, I'm using H/h and that's it! I feel comfortable doing this because I know that it's not because I place more value upon the Hero, it's just a visual for me, a way to differentiate between the two. And since on average, men are taller than women, in my head it makes sense they'd have the taller H. Although maybe I should start using h/H if I put the two together, to signify equality? Hmm...:)
I'll continue to use h/H. For me its not old fashioned. Its just an easy way to use an abbreviation. We romance readers/writers know how many abbreviations there are, don't we. If we had to spell all those out, we'd never have time to read.  :P

H/h is also helpful for me since I can then also talk about h/h or H/H. Don't think I'll have to explain that one.  ;D

Once we get into menages and such, I tend to use m/m/f, m/f/m, etc.

Just something that is known, been used a lot and just easier to continue using.

Member since 11/20/2008 | Atunah's Romance Haus | Goodreads |
It has always been forever, for me, Sassenach -- Diana Gabaldon, Outlander

Offline taliwrites

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 229
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2017, 03:49:12 PM »
Now I'm doubting my decision again. The heroine will be with the other guy only for the first few chapters, if that, and they're not officially in a relationship. I don't think the heroine would immediately fall for or even be interested in the hero, especially since his family killed hers and vice versa. There is a clause in their marriage deal that says she can use the hero for sex if she wants to, but she's not going to do that, and she's hoping she'll finally find happiness, so I think she would first try to achieve that with the other guy who's been with her for years. She thinks her thirst for revenge doesn't allow her to feel anything else, but once she gets it, there's only a void, and I want to show it to her that the other guy can't fill it in any way, and that with them it has always been just sex and business, nothing more. I suppose I can leave out the actual sex scene and have her think about it. Or maybe I should flip a coin.  ;)

By the way, I don't like to use H/h because I got it wrong the first time I heard it and I'm still mad about it. ;)

Offline C. Gold

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 879
    • View Profile
    • Golden Elm Publishing
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2017, 03:53:19 PM »
Is it in the contract that they can both sleep around?

Offline taliwrites

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 229
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #34 on: August 08, 2017, 04:11:52 PM »
Is it in the contract that they can both sleep around?

No. There isn't anything about that in the contract.

Online LMareeApps

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 214
  • Australia
    • View Profile
    • L Maree Apps - Contemporary Erotic Romance... not your nana's bedtime stories...
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #35 on: August 08, 2017, 04:30:29 PM »
Now I'm doubting my decision again. The heroine will be with the other guy only for the first few chapters, if that, and they're not officially in a relationship. I don't think the heroine would immediately fall for or even be interested in the hero, especially since his family killed hers and vice versa. There is a clause in their marriage deal that says she can use the hero for sex if she wants to, but she's not going to do that, and she's hoping she'll finally find happiness, so I think she would first try to achieve that with the other guy who's been with her for years. She thinks her thirst for revenge doesn't allow her to feel anything else, but once she gets it, there's only a void, and I want to show it to her that the other guy can't fill it in any way, and that with them it has always been just sex and business, nothing more. I suppose I can leave out the actual sex scene and have her think about it. Or maybe I should flip a coin.  ;)

By the way, I don't like to use H/h because I got it wrong the first time I heard it and I'm still mad about it. ;)

Write it, and see what you think.  Or test it on some betas. There's nothing saying you have to include everything you try in the final draft ;)


L Maree Apps | website | facebook | twitter | wattpad | newsletter

Online Jena H

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 5962
  • North Carolina
  • Desperate character
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #36 on: August 08, 2017, 04:33:05 PM »
Am I allowed to be offended that the Hero is represented by a great big capital H, while the heroine has only a teeny weeny little h?

Certainly you're "allowed" to be offended at anything; nobody is going to stop anyone else from feeling offended.  But as others have noted, H/h has been used for a long time to differentiate the characters, so it's not only easy to understand, but also common in the romance book discussion world.  I don't write romance and rarely even read it anymore, but on the few occasions when it comes up, I use the H / h reference.


I'll continue to use h/H. For me its not old fashioned. Its just an easy way to use an abbreviation. We romance readers/writers know how many abbreviations there are, don't we. If we had to spell all those out, we'd never have time to read.  :P

H/h is also helpful for me since I can then also talk about h/h or H/H. Don't think I'll have to explain that one.  ;D

Once we get into menages and such, I tend to use m/m/f, m/f/m, etc.


Just something that is known, been used a lot and just easier to continue using.

Very true!
Jena

Offline telracs

  • Status: Agatha Christie
  • *********
  • Posts: 19371
  • Gender: Female
  • NYC
  • peace, love, justice.... and chocolate.
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2017, 05:12:58 PM »
Write it, and see what you think.  Or test it on some betas. There's nothing saying you have to include everything you try in the final draft ;)

i think is the best advice. write it and get it out of your system

Offline Melody Simmons

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2384
    • View Profile
    • ebookindiecovers
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #38 on: August 09, 2017, 03:56:14 AM »
Yeah, I wouldn't say readers expect virgin heroines, but there are still a lot of readers who are quick to write off slutty heroines while they'll gladly embrace manwhore heroes. Generally, romance readers are really hard on heroines and let heroes get away with murder (sometimes literally).

It's immensely annoying but that is how most readers are.  I am the opposite - can't stand it if a heroine is the innocent little virgin whilst the man has slept with other women before he discovers his one-and-only love who so selflessly saved herself up for him, even though he thoroughly enjoyed himself.  That is just sooo sexist and biased in my view, so I really enjoy it when it is the other way round, or on equal levels!  But then I am very much the exception.  Really very much the exception!

Offline BellaJames

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 689
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2017, 06:24:10 AM »

 There are romance books with arranged relationships between two men and a woman. There are a few odd books were the woman is trying to choose between two men but she might not be having a sexual relationship with them both. Even Hallmark movies have those storylines now.

If she's supposed to marry a guy connected to the mafia but she's in love with another man, I would find a way for her to get out of her arrangement and marry the man she really wants. Or make her fall in love with the mafia guy and it could be a enemies to friends book.


Alessandra Torre and Mia Asher have both done a good job of writing books with love triangles but be aware that many romance readers don't like it and they can be extremely vocal on Goodreads about it.

Look here: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/61334.Sexy_love_triangles

Offline Huldra

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 359
  • Gender: Female
  • United Kingdom
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #40 on: August 09, 2017, 08:32:58 AM »
"Question for romance readers/authors" Hooboy *straps on safety vest before plunging in*

It's your book, you can write it exactly how you want it. As long as you do so knowing that certain artistic choices will limit your audience, not just for this book but potentially the life of your pen name.

Having the heroine sleep with another man after she's met the hero will limit your audience quite drastically. A lot of readers simply don't like it, end of discussion. You won't see any dollars from them, not now, not the next time they come across your pen name on a cover and remember you're the author who had your heroine bang a a man on the side, even though she was married to another.

However, that doesn't mean that there aren't readers who DO like exactly that brand of romance. Targeting them as your sub-niche might be worth losing the broader romance market. It really depends what you see your brand being going forward.

Offline taliwrites

  • Status: Lewis Carroll
  • **
  • Posts: 229
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #41 on: August 09, 2017, 03:20:00 PM »
Okay, so I've decided not to include the sex scene with the other guy. Thanks to everyone who commented, and special thanks to the guy from a news site comment section who'll never find out he inspired me instead of making me angry. ;)

Offline Shimmergirl69

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 16
    • View Profile
Re: Question for romance readers/authors
« Reply #42 on: August 13, 2017, 05:46:02 AM »
From the stand point of a reader the hero and heroine should only be for each other (sexually) I think if the hero/heroine had sex with other people it would change my perception of them. Especially the heroine.

As a writer I think that's why one of my books bombed. My heroine was too involved with her male friend and though they never had sex-her friend put her in a compromising position.
My reasoning for her character was to keep up with the times. I know some women juggle a couple of men at once. But in a romance novel, eh, probably not.

Bringing characters to life one book at a time
Lisa Marbly-Warir | Blog | Facebook | Twitter