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Posts Tagged ‘romance’

I just saw a post on Barnes and Noble book club blog about the covers of romance novels.   They basically asked if we as readers picked a romance book based on the cover.  Whether it be Highlander, Rogue, or Regency Rake, they wanted to know what we liked best. 

Umm…none of the above?  I am not saying that I am not attracted to those types of characters (are there any other types?).  However,  I don’t want to see it on the cover of the book I am checking out or buying while another mom and four children are standing next to me waiting to check out.   Most of the covers show a scantily clad man and/or woman in some sort of sensual pose.  I find myself inventing new ways to hide the covers.  It makes me feel like an alcoholic trying to hide the booze. 

It seems that I am not alone in my opinion as there were many comments that stated the same thing.  We don’t buy romance based on the cover.  Why not?

IT’S CHEESY!!!

I like to use my imagination and develop the image of the hero in MY mind.  I want to create my own delicious version of Mr. Right.  As soon I pick up the book, there he is, with his bare chest slapped across the cover.   That image is hard to shake after I start reading and I lose a bit of the creation process I enjoy so much.  I think that is the whole point of character development by the author.  If done very well, we should be able to picture the hero or heroine down to the shape of their eyebrows.  I enjoy this.  I delve so much deeper into the story if I don’t have some ridiculous picture of a guy standing on the edge of a  cliff wearing nothing but a mullet and kilt.   Don’t get me wrong, I love the Highlanders but I want to make my own.  I am not a mullet person, no matter how gorgeous he is in the face.  Just can’t do it.  I don’t care if that was all the rage in Scotland in 1700.  My Highlander might have his hair brushing the top of the collar of his shirt (when he wears one) but to see Mullet Man gracing the cover before I have gotten to know him loses some oomph for me in the story. 

Why not show a setting of where they first meet on the cover?  Why not show a prop from the story that serves as a foreshadow?  No wonder the romance genre gets such a bad rap.  How can it be taken seriously with all that fluff?  Other genres have more stunning photography or brilliant artistry to catch the eye.  Have you walked through the romance section in the book store lately?  I took my daughter there last night to pick up a few books for a birthday party and I made the mistake of turning down the romance aisle.  I picked up speed and grabbed her hand, hoping she wouldn’t see the onslaught of naked bodies that were practically moaning their not so subtle  titles at us. 

I love romance novels but it isn’t because of the sex or the pictures on the front that make me love them.  It is the falling in love, the vulnerability of the characters as they confront their feelings, and the path both people take to arrive at the place we can’t wait to get to; the happy ending.   The sexual relations they have in the story are there because of the love they have for each other.  That is the natural progression of love.   The cover of the book has nothing to do with that.  It is just an image and a damn cheesy one at that.  I hope publishers out there take heed to what readers want and don’t continue to do things the way they always have done them. 

Yes, make the covers enticing but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, let’s banish the mullets and bare chests.  My paranoia in the check out lane has reached it’s max.

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Okay, I am working on a historical romance and I am hitting a roadblock.  I have thought about it and thought about it and I still haven’t come up with a solution.  How far am I going to go with the love scenes?  I mean I have neighbors and friends, and egad, family that might read this someday.  If they don’t, there will be another attempt at a published novel if not this one.  How does one decide on how far to push it? 

I look at Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas and they write gorgeous love stories with plenty of sexy detail.  It doesn’t offend me because I have read romances for so long.  I thought for a long time that you HAD to write the love scenes a certain way to make it a true romance novel.  Then I read Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander and it totally screwed that theory up.  The Outlander isn’t a typical romance novel and it isn’t really categorized that way.  However, I still got the “Oh my gosh, they HAVE to end up together” and “I really want to meet Claire and Jamie  because they are so awesome together” feelings.  She writes the loves scenes without actually writing them.   She gives you just enough to set the stage and then lets you imagine the rest.   Normally, I would be ticked if I am left hanging without those details but somehow the novel didn’t need it .  Many times she gives the foreplay and then stops when things get a bit more, ahem, you know. 

So here I am.  Trying to figure out what kind of romance writer I would like to become.   I guess I should just write the love scenes and see if it feels “right” and if it doesn’t, then change it until it does.  It is a lot different reading it than trying to write it.  I commend all successful romance writers for doing it so well!

If anyone has any advice, feel free to post.

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