Friday, October 01, 2010

The Promise

Last July I met an alumna for lunch and we fell to discussing writing. Now a health policy lawyer, this young lady was thinking about writing her memoirs about how she overcame significant obstacles in her life. She wanted to inspire other young women to go beyond the barriers and become more than they ever thought they could be. Then she asked me how I knew I wanted to write romance.

Ah. The sixty-four million dollar question! I said I wanted the PROMISE of a happy ending. She gave me a puzzled look, then I explained. Literary books promise beautiful language and a character who may or may not change in the journey from page one to the end of the book. Horror books promise to scare the reader. And mysteries promise the reader a good puzzle that they have the opportunity to solve before the end of the tale. And romance, ah l’amour, l’amour! Romance promises that it can give you one or all of the above experiences because of its almost infinite variety of sub-genres.

When we write romance, we promise the reader we will MOVE them in some way. Happy, sad, laughter, tears, frustration, suspense, panic--but at the end, all must be wrapped up with a bow and a sigh of contentment.

My young friend looked at me and said, “I have to rethink my ideas about romance, now!”

What about you, my fellow romance writers? Have you moved someone to think differently about romance? Have you shared the promise?

Sharon Buchbinder, Author, BONDED FOR LIFE, Class of '85 Series, Last Rose of Summer
Available NOW


Christie Kelley said...

I know I was able to convince my mother to start reading romance. But that didn't happen until I started writing romance.

One of the most exciting emails I received as an author was from a woman who said my book was the first romance she'd ever read. And she loved it. That made my day!

Sharon Buchbinder said...

What a great feeling! Go Christie!

Julia B said...

That is a perfect description of great romance.

It's funny, my Mum offered to buy me a book. I picked a Regency historical romance. She picked the new Twilight spin-off. She put her book down on the counter, then passed mine over and laughed awkwardly and said "It's not for me, I don't read that kind of thing. It's for my daughter"

When did "traditional" romance publications get such a bad rap when so much of what people want to read IS romance?

Sharon Buchbinder said...

Thanks, Julia. I think the bad rap came from the fact that it's women's fiction, written by women, about what women want. And we can put our own work down at times as being lesser. However, it's romance that is keeping the book industry alive, not literary fiction.