Snobbery. Everywhere you go, there it is.
Yes, on many occasions during my career I’ve come across folks that seem excited when you tell them you’re a writer, but then when they ask what kind of books you write and you reply “romance,” they sort of internally roll their eyes as if to silently say, “oh, I thought you were a ‘real’ writer.”
You’d think that I wouldn’t have come across this attitude at a writers conference, but if so … you’d be wrong. Several times I’d fallen into conversation with person next to me while waiting for a session to begin. I’d ask what genre they wrote in. I got a lot of Mystery, Thriller or Suspense answers mostly. Being polite folks, they’d then ask me what I write. Yeah, I got some internal eye rolling from fellow writers. As if they thought romance was beneath them or somehow easier to write than say a mystery.
Okay, I’ll admit some romance books are somewhat formulaic. They tend to go something like this:
Typical Romance book plot movements
- Intro Girl
- Intro Boy
- Neither looking for love
- Boy and girl meet in peculiar way
- Accident brings them together again
- Immediate attraction
- They start to get together
- Something happens to make him doubt her
- They get back together
- Something happens to make her doubt him
- They get back together
- They face some challenge together
- They overcome and live happily ever after
I should know, I read tons of these books and believe me, this formula is very accurate.
Yet, I call myself a romance writer and none of my books follow anything like this lazy formula. I write literature. But try to explain this to those pesky other genre folks who simply read one bad romance novel and wrote off the entire genre. Seems a bit unfair, no?
So what do we do about it?
Well, besides hold ourselves to a higher standard, I don’t suppose there’s much we can do as romance writers. I guess that’s why I say I write romance with a twist. The twist being I don’t follow the typical formula. My books tend to be as quirky as I am, and let’s face it, I can be downright strange at times … or so I’ve been told by folks who call themselves my friends despite my odd yet endearing habits.
Jennifer Geoghan, writer of such wonderfully fantastic novels as If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story (yes, it’s a romance novel, but it ROCKS!) and The Purity of Blood Novel Series (Yes, romance too, but it’s totally better than those stupid mystery thrillers, No?)