Friday, April 07, 2017

Hold my Beer, People are Wrong on the Internet (again)

I jumped into the fray on FB because I just couldn't take it any more.

A friend of mine posted a link to this article: Bashing Romance Novels is Just Another Form of Slut-Shaming. I skimmed it, because anyone who has professionally published romance, like I have, has been there, done that... and had to do it again in the comment field.

I don't know why romance garners such hatred.

Actually, I do, but I don't like to think about the fact that readers, even other women, will happily poo-poo romance as 'not real writing' because it's predominately women writing for a largely female audience--and, yeah, it's just like this author says, it's worse than that because women's sexuality is involved. I gave up going to WisCON partly because I got really sick of having to defend my writing as worthy. I think certain women really hate on romance because they fear it's everything strong, smart women are supposed to eschew. It apes the patriarchy and only lonely, white women of a certain age, sitting at home in their aprons, read romances.

Not true.

Plus, everyone knows romance novels are just bad writing, right? They're just full of lines like "her velvety womanhood" and his "thrusting manhood."

Yeah, I won't deny these phrases EXISTED (in 1973), but they're _just_ not that popular in 2017 (BECAUSE THEY WERE MERCILESSLY MOCKED IN 1974). The truth is simple. Most romance readers want what all readers want: a good book devoid of overly purple prose. Yes, I have to write about body parts, but most romances fall into the "hot" category, which is sexual but NOT EXPLICIT. It's not erotica, people. You actually have to go into another section of your bookstore to find that stuff, okay?

Speaking of bad writing, someone ALWAYS has to bring up "the formula."

This insistence that all romances are written to a formula provided by the publisher is a big part of disrespect. I'm sure this formula exists (or, more likely EXISTED) somewhere. HOWEVER, even now, Harlequin has to post on its web site, that, NO, THERE IS NO FORMULA, outside of genre expectations (i.e. a romance should, you know, have person a meeting person b and falling in love). Sorry, folks, but you're expected to write a good book--an original, creative book, with plot and characters--JUST LIKE A REAL WRITER.

Because, guess what? Romance writing is real writing.

Look, I get it. I used to be the same way. When writing science fiction novels, I would occasionally mutter, "OMG, this is so HARD, I should give it all up and just write romances!" Because I believed it, too. I believed that, somehow, romance was easier to write because it was just silly hack work. Smut. Fun sexy times with no plot beyond slot b and tab a.

Yeah, no.

Writing romances is just as hard writing any other book. There is no formula to follow. No editor anywhere (outside of maybe a satirical publisher) wants a character, made of cardboard and Fabio hair, named "Lance Thrustsalot." If you "read that somewhere" it was likely on a porn site or possibly in an article published in 1973. (I blame everything on 1973; it was a bad year.)

I had to come up with all of it when I proposed and wrote my nine romance novels. All of them, too, I put just as much blood, sweat, and tears into as I did any other writing. I don't know if I can express how much I hate this stereotype, because it completely and utterly devalues the work I did and the books I'm proud to have written.

OMG, just stop already. Don't make me come in there.