“Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.
A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.
An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.” Romance Writers of America
I like paranormal romance books. I’ve been fascinated with the paranormal since I was a child and am a hopeless romantic so when I picked up my first Marjorie M. Liu book and was introduced to the world of paranormal romance I was hooked.
I also belong to a wide variety of writing groups. Some indie, some general, some genre specific, some regional. It’s the genre specific that cause me the most pangs, to the point I’ve left a couple and probably will the rest at some point since I don’t see things changing. The romance specific groups I should say. I haven’t had any problems with the others so far (if you join a paranormal group you get all sorts of stuff and that’s fine).
How could I possibly have issues with romance writers, you ask? The problem is I don’t see BDSM, gore and/or horror as being romantic. And I see a lot of those types of books talked about and advertised in the romance groups.
Now, these books may be great books. They may speak to people and be extremely well written. They might be the next blockbuster story that gets picked up by Hollywood. And that’s fantastic. None of that makes them romance, though.
Romance novels have specific elements that make them romance. Sex with both parties rolling around on a corpse and covered blood doesn’t qualify. Sorry. That will NEVER be romantic in any way, shape or form. Sex with one partner chained and crying while the other uses a whip on them while jacking off is NOT romantic either. And it doesn’t matter if the chained person volunteered and will do it again the next chapter. It’s still not romantic.
I’m not saying romance has to be all flowers and longing sighs. There’s a lot to be said for good sex scene that includes a little spanking. But there’s a limit. At least in my mind.
So maybe I’m biased. Or too conventional. Maybe I just don’t understand. I just know it disturbs me to see romance writers groups overrun with these types of stories. I guess you could say it ruins the romance of writing for me.