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Gary
04-23-2006, 04:57 PM
Is there any interest in a love story that is written for both sexes? Everything in the Romance genre seems so categorized and stuffed into a box.

I think of books like The Bridges of Madison County and Love Story, and believe they had to appeal to both men and women to sell so many copies. Are they simply flukes?...or is there a market?

What about love stories that are written about older people? Does the mattress have to be bouncing in every chapter to keep a reader's interest?...or more importantly, a publisher's interest?

Susan Gable
04-23-2006, 06:07 PM
Is there any interest in a love story that is written for both sexes? Everything in the Romance genre seems so categorized and stuffed into a box.

I think of books like The Bridges of Madison County and Love Story, and believe they had to appeal to both men and women to sell so many copies. Are they simply flukes?...or is there a market?

What about love stories that are written about older people? Does the mattress have to be bouncing in every chapter to keep a reader's interest?...or more importantly, a publisher's interest?

Bridges of Madison County and Love Story are just that - LOVE stories. They are not romances in the customary usage of the term. By def. a romance must have an uplifting ending.

There are many types of romances around, and not all of them have sex (or matress bouncing as you term it) in any form on the pages. There are some that are written about "older" characters, too.

Romances these days offer something for everyone. They come in a wide variety, from hot sex to no sex, from including mystery and suspense, and now have branched out into a variety of ethnic groups. And there are also men who read them. (And write them. Take Ken Casper for example.)

Love stories do have a market. But don't confuse love story with romance. They're two different things.

Susan G.

Shwebb
04-23-2006, 06:20 PM
Susan,

Call me an ignoramus, but could you please explain the difference? I guess I have never thought about it before, and I'm intrigued.

Cathy C
04-23-2006, 06:59 PM
One of the basic requirements of a "romance" is what's called an HEA. The "Happily Ever After" element that provides that TWO people fall in love and wind up together in what the reader expects will be a forever relationship when the book closes.


A "love story" has no such requirement. Bridges of Madison County--no HEA. Wuthering Heights--no HEA. Romeo & Juliet--no HEA. Gone with the Wind--no HEA. The Notebook--no HEA. These are all love stories, and are often found in mainstream, instead of on the romance shelves.

Does that help?

Gary
04-23-2006, 09:18 PM
Thanks for confirming my suspected definition of love stories v. romance. However, the romance forum seems to be the only place it's proper to discuss a love story and I hope I didn't mis-post.

If anyone can suggest a better forum to discuss the subject, I would appreciate it.

Susan Gable
04-23-2006, 09:51 PM
Oh, feel free to discuss it here, Gary. We just want to make sure that you know the difference. <G> It's not a good idea to query an ed or agent with a "romance" in which one of the main characters dies. <G> We're just trying to help you out, here.

Susan G.

Cathy C
04-23-2006, 10:01 PM
No, you're quite probably in the right spot. We've been discussing this very issue in the Mod Room since you posted, and are deciding how to categorize the genre. Technically, women's fiction winds up on the mainstream fiction shelves, so you could either post the question here or in Mainstream/Contemporary. But you'll probably find more ANSWERS to your questions here, so let's run with it! :)


Is there any interest in a love story that is written for both sexes? Everything in the Romance genre seems so categorized and stuffed into a box.



Actually, I don't think it's true that romance is stuffed into a box. Possibly in category lines, but not single title. There's plenty of room for unique stories. But, they do have to conform to those two little requirements--that ROMANCE be the primary focus of the novel, and that there be an HEA. But yes, there is plenty of room for a love story. Nicholas Sparks' books are doing quite well, but there's no way to know who is buying the book. Possibly both men and women are reading it, but I don't know that, and there isn't a list or graph out there that can tell us.



I think of books like The Bridges of Madison County and Love Story, and believe they had to appeal to both men and women to sell so many copies.

You might be wrong but, again, there is no way to tell. A lot, and I do mean a LOT of women buy books. A few studies (I'll look around again to see if I can find a link) have shown that women outbuy men in bookstores by about 3:1.


Are they simply flukes?...or is there a market?


I guess the real questions is...does it matter? If the book sells a million copies, or ten million, does the sex of the buyer matter? Does Clive Cussler care whether women like his Dirk Pitt series (which I do?) Does Stephen King market to one or the other sex? Not intentionally. They write great books that it's POSSIBLE both women and men will buy. But ultimately, there's no way to tell.


What about love stories that are written about older people? Does the mattress have to be bouncing in every chapter to keep a reader's interest?...or more importantly, a publisher's interest?

Not at all! Not even all romances are heavily sexed. There are plenty of "sweet" romances. Love stories are the same. But the question becomes whether you're going to appeal to the MAJORITY of the market. What have you compared on the shelf currently? Have you picked up any love stories that are being published right now? Have you checked to see where they're shelved in the stores and then compared the titles against the best sellers lists? Educating yourself in your chosen genre is one of the best ways to get started writing.

Plus, it doesn't even MATTER if there's a market right now. There probably wasn't a built in market for such sleeper hits as The Christmas Box or Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I mean, who ever heard of a first novel of 100 pages, and the other of over 1,000 pages! :eek:

And yet, they are best sellers. But who is buying them? :Shrug: Beats me!

preyer
04-23-2006, 10:23 PM
interesting. i never knew there was a difference, or at least never thought about it. learn something new every day, huh.

romance, imo, seems like the widest open category out there, hardly stuffed into a box. granted, there's romance in the story, but there's romance in most great stories, eh? just in 'romance' there has to be predominance of romance as opposed to sci-fi, history, or paranormal, etc.. correct me if i'm wrong in that.

and, ya know, i've long since given up trying to be 'original.' chances are it's been done, so i just aim for being entertaining nowadaze and write the kind of stuff i'd like to read.

'romeo and juliet' a love story? i guess, though i consider that a tragedy more than anything else. isn't there a version out there where they live in the end? completely blasphemous, lol. good lawdy, how PC can we be?

anyhoo, i think trying to find something truly original is like trying to shoot down ICMB's with a shotgun. i reckon there are a few twists and spins left, but i'm hardly going to wrack my brains figuring it out. it happens if it happens, know what i mean? i guess i'm happy being a hack. :) i'm hapky.

i feel there's always a market for a good story, even ones that have been done to death then beaten again for good measure. besides, after reading a little bit of my wife's romance she's reading right now, it's clear anyone can get published, lol. (btw, that's not a slam against romance, rather just another example of crappy writing getting the okie-dokey, smokey, from some lame publisher and it somehow finding its way inevitably into my hands. i'm like a bad book magnet. if there existed a compass for such things, i'd be the north pole equivalent. just like i emit some kind of neurological anti-technology aura that makes computer programmes and most machinery malfunction within seconds, i have the uncanny ability to stick my hand into a box of books and pull out the worst of the lot. i'm 'gifted' that way.)