I understand that not everybody likes romance. I wish people would read (more than one) romance before they decide they know everything about the genre, but that’s a pipe dream. Some people prefer to read thrillers in which the protagonist is on a quest to save the world or literary fiction in which the heroine goes on a journey of self-discovery. Granted, I could recommend some damn good romances that incorporate these elements, but that’s neither here nor there. People like what they like and that’s great.
However, I do get pissed when the “above it all” attitude comes from romance writers. I read a lot of blogs, forums, and e-mail loops. I’ve seen more than one author lament the fact that they’re not getting published because they don’t write “cookie cutter” romance. And yes, that hacks me off.
I probably shouldn’t, but I take it as a personal insult. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t seek to reinvent the wheel with my stories. A contest judge described my story as “sweet and cute.” I’m going to assume that was a compliment. I prefer “light and fluffy,” but whatever.
As of right now, I write category length, contemporary stories. That’s what I like to read and the stories I like to tell. I like to surprise my characters and by extension, readers, but I don’t do it because I think no one else would ever think of it. I do it because it’s funny, and I like to see how my characters react.
Furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with being conscientious about the market. When I wrote Seducing Ms. Right, I knew I wanted to send it to Kimani Press. I checked their guidelines to make sure it fit, but I assure you my story was fully formed in my head before I did. I changed nothing to make it suitable for the line.
I can’t speak for other writers, but I know I toil away as much as writers who write outside of the box to make sure my light and fluffy story is perfect in my eyes – that I use the right words, that my characters go on a satisfactory, full journey. I don’t write to some mythical formula beyond making sure the hero and heroine end up together at the end of the manuscript.
I understand these writers are frustrated, but why they must put other people down in the process, I will never know. There are just as many people writing so-called “cookie cutter” romances who find the road to publication littered with potholes as those creating and mixing subgenres.
We should be cheering each other on, not looking our noses down at others’ work.
I applaud authors who forge their own path. I wish my brain worked that way, but it doesn't. I just hope they support me.
What do you think? Am I being too sensitive or do I have a point?