This week we were to ask a romance reader what they would like to see more of in books of that genre.
At first, I was at a loss; I have no romance readers in my family. I don’t think I had any friends nearby who were and most of my ‘romantic’ online friends are romance writers. My plan was to go to my lovely local library and grab an unsuspecting patron, but those plans were dashed when my car threw a rod or something. (It’s making a terrible noise and my trusty mechanic is extremely busy.)
So, I nabbed a mother and grown daughter who I know and are avid readers, not knowing all of their preferences in books. Surprising to me, the mother indeed enjoys a good romance novel, and here is what she told me:
Eileen would like to see more story, more background on the main characters. She would also like to see great deal of character development on them, but not so much on secondary characters.
She doesn’t want to be sidetracked by subplots involving secondary characters.
To quote her: “If you consider ‘Wuthering Heights’, a ‘romance’, there are far too many characters and descriptions” to wade through to get to the main storyline. She doesn’t want to see, hear, smell every possible sensation while trying to concentrate on the story.
Eileen asked me to tell you that she doesn’t like to see two people immediately fall in love, simply because she, (and I) , feel it’s unreasonable. She said that she’d like to see real ‘courting’, [as opposed to the love-hate thing that goes on so often].
And she’d “like to see both characters have backbone”. She doesn’t suffer simpering wimps of either sex.
Eileen reminisced about a book that she read when young by an author who called herself “Lady Rich” It was an Elizabethan romance, which shaped her ideal for the perfect romance novel.The protagonist was a strong young woman and the hero was a really good fellow. The young woman did not want to lose her independence and the young man loved her enough and was secure enough that he didn’t expect her to.
Eileen would like to see more of this in romance novels.
On the other hand, her daughter, Amy, was spoiled for romances by reading some of the worst of the genre. She said that she doesn’t like romances, that she has found them “boring, contrived and formulated.” First I congratulated her on her articulate and concise response, but I also told her that there are many bright stories in the genre these days and will work up a list of a number of writers which would surprise her with the freshness of their stories and characters…we’ll see if she takes the bait.
I hope we can all take to heart what our guests have all told us this week.
Would you like to add anything more?
Before I leave, I’m pleased to announce the winners of the giveaway from my guest from last week, Victoria Hamilton:
Copies of both the first of the Teapot Collector series, “Tempest in a Teapot” and the newest release, “Shadow of a Spout” go to :Tonya Hundley
The $10.00 gift certificate for Omni Bucks to be used at All Romance Books (ARe) will go to :Debbie
And the lovely “Reading is My Passion” tote bag goes to:cyn209
Congratulations to the winners. I do not have email addresses for all of you. Please contact me ASAP on Facebook. If I do not hear from you by Midnight, EDT, a new winner will be chosen.
And thanks to all who stopped by to visit and comment. Please come back again soon.
Very interesting reader comments, Tonette. I too like plenty of character development … I don’t care about their star sign and shoe measurement, but I do want enough information so that I know what makes them tick. I can be reading a romance and think “Stupid woman/man, why on earth would he/she do that?” but if a writer has done their job, I would be into the characters enough to already know or have some inkling.
Excellent points, Helen! IN fact, I was just going over in my head two books that I just read and what annoys me about them. I think that will be the topic next week on my ‘free’ day. Descriptions of , as you say, shoe size, are NOT ‘character development’, no matter what some book on writing told them!
Thank you so much for visiting and adding to the discussion.
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Interesting differences between mother & daughter’s reading tastes.
I tend toward Eileen’s views: I like more foundation, backstory, etc. In fact, I presently arm-wrestling with an editor who wants to rid my story of many sections containing such — her view is that it slows the pace. I don’t disagree with the editor about the pace, but I also AGREE with Eileen that many readers WANT a more leisurely pace (in spots at least).
I also agree with Eileen that every reader doesn’t want to be drowned in sensory details. Some just want to know the basic set design and their imaginations can fill in the rest.
As for your winners, I think you can get some contact info from the WordPress admin area (in the comments section).
Sometimes details are necessary,Jeff, but often, especially in cozies, they are overbearing. I hope we can get Eileen’s daughter to read more modern romances.
Thanks for the tip.I heard from one who did not give me info; I already had a contact email for the first one.Now I know why many blogs disqualify entrants who don’t give email addresses,(a few messaged me privately, which was fine.) I’ll be stricter if I ever run another giveaway.
Thanks so much for the advice, Eileen! Like Helen, I don’t like to know every detail. I read one romance in which the author felt it was necessary to tell me exactly how tall each character was and how much he/she weighed. And I hope Amy finds it in her heart to give some well-written romances a try. I’m sure Tonette will steer her in the right direction.
I will try…just among the books of present company she couldn’t go wrong,Patty! I have a rant all ready for next week about two books I recently read, (NOT those of present company!)
Thanks for coming in.