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View Full Version : How far is too far for Romance



kelker11
10-28-2005, 09:26 AM
LOL, get your minds out of the gutter...I'm not talking about sex!

I have a question about the romance genre in general. At what point is a romance no longer considered a romance? While my plotline has a male & female lead that fall in love and end up together, it also contains a lot of violence. I know (or at least I think I know) that in romance the "romance" is played up, and I personally love romance (its my favorite reading material).

The main focus of the story is about the male MC. He does some stupid stuff and ends up in jail (this part of the book contains the most violence--up to and including his time in prison). However the focus of the book is about him rebuilding his life after prison, which includes a romance with female MC. But even this part of the book has an attack on the female MC that leaves her in hospital clinging by a thread.

So what do all the experts (and anyone else who has an opinion) think? Where exactly does romance end and general fiction begin??
Enquiring minds want to know! :popcorn:

katee
10-28-2005, 10:44 AM
It sounds like you've got a story, which if the romance was taken out, would still make sense/be a story.

So to me it sounds like you have a thriller (?) with a love subplot rather than a romance.

Susan Gable
10-28-2005, 04:16 PM
Maybe you should read some of the grittier new romantic suspense to help yourself get a feel for it. Tami Hoag, Lisa Jackson, ummmm...I don't read a whole lot of this subgenre myself. Maybe some else out there can suggest some other authors?

Gritty violence has been making its way more often into the newer romantic suspense novels.

Good luck!

Susan G.

Cathy C
10-28-2005, 06:27 PM
Carla Neggers does a good job with this. I read her Night's Landing for the RITAs last year. I gave it top marks for all categories -- EXCEPT romance. Not much in there at all, although there is an HEA. I guess that would be my defining point, kelker. An HEA is one of the defining requirements of romance. Otherwise, you've got a novel with romantic elements, regardless of the primary genre.

Kasey Mackenzie
10-28-2005, 07:01 PM
Some of Julie Garwood's newer romantic suspense borders on being pretty gritty. Catherine Coulter's FBI series has some gritty stuff in it, though I wouldn't call them necessarily gritty in and of themselves. But that could just be because she usually writes with such a sense of humor that sometimes the gritty bits don't seem quite as gritty. Or maybe I'm just weird! =)

veinglory
10-28-2005, 09:08 PM
I think that that romance typically makes up at least 50% of the plot with a 'romance genre' book. If the romance is a subplot then romance publsihers might not go for it.

kelker11
10-29-2005, 05:42 AM
To Katee: Thanks. I hadn't looked at the romance as a subplot, but it actually is. That really helps my perspective!

To Susan: Thanks for the suggestion. I'll check those authors out to see if I can relate to their style!

To Cathy: How much of an HEA is required? While the MC's end up together, the threat against them is diminished but not extinguished (Hey, gotta be thinking ahead to the sequel :) ). Seriously though, does HEA mean everything is peachy keen...or can it mean, everything's okay for now?

To Kasey: You are right about Julie Garwood. She's totally changed her style in the last few years. And I agree, she does have a bent towards humor!

To Veinglory: And that was my concern. While the book does have a romantic element, the story is not about the romance. And in plotting out the scene's I want to include, I became concerned that if the book was too romantic, it might get turned down by other publishers. While at the same time, the romance publishers might see it as too violent.

Plus, in a romance, you have the necessary requirements (at least in my opinion) of building the men up to look like Greek gods and the women as beautiful heroines....which are elements neither of my MC's possess. My leading man is SO flawed its a miracle the leading lady is even attracted to him.

But I guess the bottom line is that the story isn't about 'them', its about 'him'. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't leaning too far into the romance realm with where I was going on this one.

So a big thanks to everyone!

Cathy C
10-30-2005, 04:41 AM
by kelker11: Seriously though, does HEA mean everything is peachy keen...or can it mean, everything's okay for now?



Well, that's a tough question. Our March '06 release does "everything's okay for now," because the publisher KNOWS it's the first of a series. However, when initially proposed to the publisher as a POTENTIAL series, there was only one book proposed, and it ended up peachy keen. After the contract, we told the editor what we REALLY wanted to do -- and she agreed.

See, unless you sell a multi-book deal, EVERY book might well stand alone. Even if you've planned six more books in the series. If the first book doesn't sell well on the shelf, there won't BE any more books. My best advice is to write both endings -- one that is peachy keen and one that's everything's okay for now. Do your best to sell the one you want and hope that the editor is excited enough that they WANT there to be a series (which, frankly, many publishers like to do -- even in romance.) Otherwise, you have a back-up plan. Just my .02! :)

kelker11
11-01-2005, 04:50 AM
However, when initially proposed to the publisher as a POTENTIAL series, there was only one book proposed, and it ended up peachy keen. After the contract, we told the editor what we REALLY wanted to do -- and she agreed.See, unless you sell a multi-book deal, EVERY book might well stand alone.

Cathy, that makes a lot of sense, and I'll be sure to keep it in mind as I'm writing the ending!

Thanks for the advice!