RWA Defines Romance

So, the RWA finally got around to defining romance. Aren’t you all relieved that now someone can tell you what you write! (did I say that out loud? Oops)

Now, I happen to love Jenny Crusie. I love her books and I think she’s handled all of the bizarre antics of the RWA in the last year really well. She’s smart and funny and usually quite tolerant to the different voices in the romance writing community. I also have to say I am not in love with the definition of romance created by the committee she chaired.

Now, in a total shift into bizarro world, I actually find myself liking TTQ’s spin which is this: “a romance is a book wherein the love story is the main focus of the novel, and the end of the book is emotionally satisfying.” This is satisfyingly vague and open. It allows freedom to include same sex romance, menage stories and maybe even an ending where the H/H don’t end up together but end up happy and satisfied.

What I don’t like is this comment: “the main plot of the romance must concern two people falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work.” Mainly because she says, two people, which means Triad isn’t considered romance. Also, it makes me wonder about stories where the couple is already established and have fallen in love.

Further: “”The conflict in the book centers on the love story.

“The climax in the book resolves the love story.

“A writer is welcome to as many subplots as she likes as long as the relationship conflict is the main story,” says Crusie.”

Uh, okay but what about those of us who don’t always write romances where the hero does something stupid and they spend the next 200 pages finding reasons to be mad at each other and doubting their relationship until the end where someone ends up knocked up or something similar and true love is declared and all is forgiven? Is this what romance is going to be then? The same template story over and over?

What about books with external conflicts? Oh and thanks for the permission to have subplots.

Seriously, I confess to being agitated that so much time was spent on this. It’s so Gladys Kravitz. All of these people trying to peek into my house to tell me what I’m doing is or isn’t acceptable. Does this not just continue to reinforce negative stereotypes about the genre? I don’t write science fiction or mystery but do their author advocacy organizations spend their time on stuff like this?

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