Where Did I Put My Tiara

The life unglamorous . . .

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Location: Utah, United States

see biography at http://www.marjoriejones.com

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Romance...run for your lives!

What is so terrible about romance novels?  What is so terrible about romance in general?
I ask because of recent attacks on romance in public forums.  Take Fred Head, for instance.  He is a dem running for Comptroller down Texas way.  His republican opponant once wrote a romance novel.  Susan Combs acheived something back in 1990 that most of us only dream about.  She published a category length novellette/novel for the now defunct Kismet line of books.  Back in 1990, the romantica/erotic romance boom hadn't hit, so her book is a mainstream sensual romance.  According to Mr. Head, that makes her book porno. 
He says she is out of touch with the Christian values of Texas.  hmm... I'm a christian.  I write romance.  I've even been known to have sex upon occasion.  Ask my children.  Don't ask my husband... he'll deny it based soley upon my writing schedule.  Still, I don't see Mr. Head's point that Susan can't be christian and write romance novels.  Keep in mind that she isn't writing anymore, anyway.
Some argue that her stand on an Abstinence Only sex-ed program while she wrote a *gasp* sex book almost twenty years ago makes her a hypocrit.  Not so... just because she wrote a book a romance novel doesn't mean she advocates high school sex parties, or banging behind the gym. 
Enough of that.  Let's move on to offending ads in the subway.
The Greater Washington Initiative has decided that Washington DC is far too advanced intellectually for romance novels.  They read Plato while only 'average' people read romance novels.  Well, la-dee-da... The controversy can be read in more detail on SmartBitchesTrashyBooks.com .  Mojocastle Press even made it into an article on the issue in the New York Times when the reporter quoted COO and head-editor Stephanie Kelsey's letter to the offending organization.  Way to go, Stef.
And finally... What's up with some of the writers over at Nanowrimo?  http://www.nanowrimo.org .  See, someone over that way has decided that they want to take the easy way out of the annual writing challenge this year.  The goal;  write a 50K word novel in one month.  This person's out?  Write a romance novel, because they are so easy.  And if she ends up with something HALF WAY DECENT, she'll even publish it.  As if it were that easy.  Any half-way decent romance will be published right?  Of course, she doesn't have any idea what a romance novel is, or how to write one.   She has explained that her heroine will have three possible love interests, but the real hero won't show up until half-way through the book... huh?  What is this?  The Dating Game or a romance novel? 
In an entirely different thread, another writers says she's writing a fluff peice just to entertain a few friends, but since it's fun, she'll continue writing it for nano.  Of course, she finds it silly on the whole and is afraid she is prostituting her artistic gift.   Her words, not mine.
While I was composing a reply in which I pointed out that she must not have much of a gift if she's asking for help and support from the very writers she had just referred to as literary whores, SHE pulled the post, leaving out all of her insulting comments.  I checked her profile.  She's only 18 years old, so I pulled my scathing reply as well.  But man... that irks the hell outta me. 
What so you all?


Blogger Nichole Ellis said...

Hmmm, hadn't seen the posts over at NanoWriMO. May have to go check that out. Do know it's not unusual. There are some serious "literary snobs" out there who couldn't write their way around romance novel if they had cupid pushing them all the way.

Oh well, leaves more room for the rest of us to enjoy life and make the world a lovlier place.


11:41 PM  
Blogger Marjorie Jones said...

Thanks Nichole... I like your attitude. :) Literary snobs don't bother me too much tho, so long as they stay on their side of the pool.. the shallow end.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The goal; write a 50K word novel in one month. This person's out? Write a romance novel, because they are so easy. And if she ends up with something HALF WAY DECENT, she'll even publish it."

WHAT???!!!! Excuse me while I choke on my morning orange juice. EASY, she says? Tell that to all the very gifted, yet still struggling, writers. Ohhh, that just burns me up.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred Head is right. Romance novels are soft-core porn for females. Guys have Playboy, women have Fabio. I don't look down on either for enjoying what they enjoy, but it is what it is.
Women are less visual than men as a whole - sure, they like eye-candy well enough, but "romance" is more between the ears than in the eyes for females. Since most men don't get this about women, the fairer sex has long gotten away with indulging a good rollicking romance novel much easier in our repressed society than men can get away from tasteful Playboy photos. Sneaky women and their superior romantic imaginations. :)

5:42 PM  
Blogger Marjorie Jones said...

I have to disagree, respectfully, Anon. Romance novels are not, in any way shape or form, porn. A man looks at Playboy (which may or may not be considered tasteful these days, depends who you ask), and he ends up ... shall we say ... satisfied, whether he has someone there or not. Rosy Palm plays a hand, pardon the pun. Pornography is all about sexual gratification. Period.

A romance novel is something entirely different. Yes, there is sex in a romance novel. But the intention is not to make Reader No. 1 reach for her sex-toy-de-jour. Even erotica is a far cry from porn. The basic mainstream romance novel doesn't have enough sex to make a virgin nun hot under the habit, quite frankly.

Nope, romance is about the emotional journey to the ever-elusive happily-ever-after. Where it never matters if the rent got paid and noboby ever has a credit card over the limit. I'm not talking about finding true love, per se. I found true love. I've been married to the same great guy for almost twenty years now. But we do have worries. Our lives started when we said "I do". In a romance novel, the "I do" or some variation thereof is the end of the story... we all love to think that after that moment, nothing EVER goes wrong. That's the fantasy. Miles away from the fantasy of porn ... wham bam thank you ma'am.

6:54 PM  

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