By Wendy Cuccia-Griffin
Romance. True Love. Happily Ever After. As writers of romantic fiction, these are the building blocks of our craft. But, in spite of those common elements, every writer has her own style, as well as every reader.
The national organization, Romance Writers of America, uses two basic elements in their standard: A central love story. An emotionally satisfying ending or “happily ever after”.
Some other definitions might include:
- A feeling of emotional attraction to another person
- An intense, passionate, sometimes brief love affair.
- A spirit of adventure with the potential for heroic achievement. (Thanks Bing!)
That leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Today’s romance blurs the boundaries, creating entirely new genres and finding huge untapped readerships!
Science fiction and horror combine with a modern setting to create urban fantasy. Thrills and adventure turn military heroes into leading men. “Historical” romance is no longer synonymous with “bodice-ripper”. When it comes to fiction, history is only limited to our imaginations.
Anything — and sometimes everything goes! Like other artistic mediums, what some considered racy a decade ago barely makes todays readers blush. Relationships are no longer just between a man and a woman. Now, same sex couples are mainstream along with once forbidden tales of Ménage-a-trois and BDSM.
My wonderful late mother-in-law, with her devout Christian beliefs loved to read Danielle Steele. Today, I am certain that reading about Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey would make her faint.
From tepid to scorching, different tastes abound and that is what keeps this genre fresh, exciting and fun! There will always be an audience for the more traditional stories but real life is about change and progress.
With the constant evolution of the publishing industry: two things are certain – rules are meant to be broken and, there is room for everyone in this genre. The possibilities are infinite.
Keep on reading and we will keep on writing!