Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Lure of Romance

I’ll be the first to admit, I was one of those who turned their nose up at the whole genre of Romance. I believed that women, in particular, were setting themselves up for heartache by reading such "perfect romances"—that real life would never be able to compete. The idea that romance novels would create a standard that no man could possible achieve. I’m glad to admit that I was wrong. I made an assumption based on the few people I knew who read them. I thought it set up an environment that encouraged people to fall in love with love, and to hell with rationality or reason.

I’m pleased to say the genre of Romance is so much more than falling in love with your "perfect" soul mate. In today's world, you don't just have your "Happy Ever Afters," you also have "Happily For Nows." You can find stories filled with life lessons on learning to let go, how to forgive, second chances and most of important of all, learning to love yourself. Now that I’ve taken the plunge and started writing romance, it has really opened my eyes to the complexities of love, lust, and obsession.

I’ve learned that there is strength in being a hopeless romantic. To believe so strongly that love will win out above all else. The damsel isn't always helpless. The knight isn't always the one in the shining armor coming just in time to save the day. Sometimes, he is the one standing right next to you in line at the coffee shop. You know the one, he gives you a smile even when you're having a bad hair day and you forgot to put on mascara, but still he makes you feel beautiful.

 There’s poetry in the subtle movements found in a romance novel. The give and take is like a perfectly choreographed dance that, once completed, makes you want to stand up and cheer. That’s what I want to do, the kind of stories I want to write. The ones that heal the wounded and gives the embittered hope. I wish nothing more than to touch someone and make their world a better place. A world where Beauty is able to see past the Beast’s appearance, his gruffness, and discovers the man of her dreams. In romances love is forever, and all people have a perfect someone who never hurts them or leaves. What’s so awful about taking a walk in a world like this?

This week's giveaway is a $25 giftcard from Amazon.com. I will be giving away four gift cards on Sunday so all you have to do is answer the question by posting a comment and you may be one of four lucky winners to be chosen at random (thanks to random.org)

My question to you:

What do you love (or hate) about romances?

*Winners will be announce at 10 pm est on February 7th*

Come back each week for more chances to win :)

February 8th - February 14th (winners announced the 14th at 10pm est)
February 15th - February 21st (winners announced the 21st at 10pm est)
February 22nd - February 28th (winners announced the 28th at 10pm est)


Denise Vega said...

I love it when the one they been serching for has been right there in front of their eyes all the while that it just took them time to realize it

Marguerite Lafayette said...

Thank you Denise. I've got you down for the contest. I too love the love is right in front of you stories too.

Andrew Eaton said...

Such simplicity in a gesture of and for Love! Always made complicated by the lack in! An expression that can be conveyed in so many different ways, as a snow fall can blanket the ground. Romance should always be the intense feeling of wanting to share or blanket someone with Love! Passion, propels the hopeless romantic! Love, is always rewarded! Most forget how, or are to lazy to use this Beautiful Tool! Eazy way, to say so much at once!

Angie said...

I love watching a couple overcome their obstacles and issues to be together.

I love books where the romance is almost, but not quite, secondary to the action/plots surrounding them. They fall in love in spite of themselves :)

S.C. Schell said...

I love the irresistible pull of new love, the bright and magical beginnings of it, particularly when it pertains to young lovers. It takes me back to when I fell in love for the first time and revives that sense of excitement and anticipation that eventually fades from relationships.

jlrmiller said...

I love the way characters usually have the buildup from not liking each other to figuring out that they actually love each other. I also like the strong female characters that always balk at conventionality. The only thing I hate about romances is when they follow the same, sometimes almost exact, outline. Then they're just too cheesy! Oh, and the fact that the genres of romance & children aren't always taken as seriously by people who think that it's easy to write in those genres, it's NOT!

Marguerite Lafayette said...

Oh Andrew, that is just...beautiful :)

Angie, I love the love inspite of themselves too. It is so true to life. We often end up pushing away the one thing we need most.

S.C., new love is very intoxicating isn't it.

I have all of you entered for the drawing. Good luck.

Marguerite Lafayette said...

I've got you too JLR :)

I really hate that people try to pigeon-hole you into one genre or the other. I mean if you write strong female characters with sass, they want to say you write Chick-lit like it is some kind of insult or fluff.

It took JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyers to break YA out of the fluff category. Maybe one of us will do the same for romance. Wouldn't that be great? :)

Eva said...

I love seeing what the situation is that causes the atmosphere of love to bloom. Was it unrequited love that fulfills? Was it thrown together through adversity that sparks interest between the two characters? Is it a search for 'something better'?

I AM the hopeless romantic and the ever sunny optimist. I can't help myself.

C. Zampa said...

Love your site here, Margie! And I love the blog title, "Margie Gras"...that's so cute!

What do I love and/or hate about romances?

I can't think of anything I hate about them, except for those that are cookie-cutter characters---you know, the major alpha man who's basically Superman, and the too-feisty heroine thrown together in the tired old "I-love-you-but-I'm-going-to-fight-you-but-will-end-up-as-your-lover-anyway' plot. Yawn.

I love romances where the main characters love each other from the beginning, but they fight obstacles together and grow stronger because of it.

Again, nice site!

Margaret said...

Shoot. C Zampa just took mine.
I dislike the same, sterotypical characters, but I also dislike the purple prose that can be thrown in: it gets a little disconcerting after awhile.

But I LOVE the idea of love and passion, and the traits these bring out in people: for some, it's heroic bravery. Others, insane jealousy and duplicitous actions. Still others, a willingness to break out of a shell they never thought to leave. Even the villains in some stories are admirable as they are still working from something they are so passionate for. (Some, not all. Some are so dastardly you want to smack them through the pages.)

But that's another love: characters you can identify with, cheer for, and resent so strongly. Have a good one!

Nia said...

I like a story where the romantic tension is so well constricted that you're still almost surprised when the hero and heroine finally get together, even when you know they're going to eventually :-)

Denise Elrod/ScarltsMmy@aol.com said...

I really love when I am reminded of the starry eyes of new love.
I remember it well!!

Nicole H. said...

What do I love about romances? The possibilities. That it is more than physical lusts, but emotional depths. That it is more often than not the small things done that matter the most. I love that it has a lesson in each, to remind us of not taking someone we care for for granted. That it is an escape into the imagination and sparks our own imagination for our own life/situations/romance. I love the message of love, and that love isn't easy but a lifetime of work that is done together. And wow, sorry for the long answer, but you did ask. ;)

Angie Cox said...

What do I like about romances? I enjoy a well written romance that you do not realize that is one until after the characters have fallen in love and you have fallen for them as well. When you realize that against all odds theses two people found each other and fought what ever they needed to to be able to keep each other.

After reading through that, the everday arguement you have with your spouse about taking out the garbage or filling up the vehicle with gas doesn't seem to be as important or relationship ending as they did before reading it. It may not be real life, but everyone needs the escape for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful article :)

Marguerite Lafayette said...

Lynda attempted to leave a comment but got an error message so this is her response.

Lynda says: I love that they make me feel like true love is possible even in the most dire situations. Sometimes you just have to let the sun shine in sometimes.

When I choose book I do it for a reason. I know what to expect when I read it that is why I chose it!

Jen B said...

I don't like the predictable, you see it coming cheesy type romance. The big hulk of a man sweeping the girl off her feet..yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah. I like a romance that is smart. I like a heroine who is strong in spite of her insecurities. I like a man to be challenged by her intelligence not become over bearing or intimidated because of her intelligence. I like the romance to fit in with some action.I like the romance novel that is not my mothers romance novel.

Cynthia Hepner said...

What I hate about romance stories? Easy, I hate it when you can pretty much predict what will happen...fall in love by chapter 4, break up in chapter 11, fall back in love in chapter 18...that sort of thing! What I love? Strong female characters and male characters with a good sense of humor.

Kat said...

I don't read romance novels as a general rule, mainly because the one's I have read were just too cheesy and predictable. But I don't rule out any genre, good writing is good writing, regardless of the subject matter. I prefer suspense/mystery novels, and if there is a romantic subplot thrown in so much the better. As long as the characters feel real, I'm in. And for me, sense of place is really important. I prefer a book where the setting is as much a character as the protagonist, if that makes sense! Kat

Gina said...

I love when a romance doesn't follow the typical, stereotype "Harlequin" model that everyone associates with romance novels. You know, the muscle bound man who sweeps in and saves the damsel in distress who has no clue how to stand up for or defend herself. I prefer a romance the is more "true to life". This doesn't mean that it can't be a fantasy type romance (i.e. vampires, faeries, etc.), but where the woman is able to do things for herself. I do love a happy ending, though. Even though I *know* that the story isn't real, it still makes me happy.