Message? This is Romance, damn it!

Some romances have “communicated the message that women have power, that women deserve to be loved, to be respected, and to have their needs and wishes fulfilled in a healthy relationship,” as Eileen Dreyer puts it. That cannot be denied.

But it is not the responsibility of any genre to communicate any message at all. Not romance, not mystery, not fantasy, not science fiction.

Fiction is about story. In romance, it’s a story about two people getting together. Therefore writers of romance have a responsibility to provide a story that is about two people getting together. Full stop.

Frankly, I think it’s a moot point, because nowadays, 99.99999% romances don’t have a scene like the one in Claiming The Courtesan. Therefore any romance reader who does read Claiming The Courtesan probably has read or will read dozens more romances that do, to some extent, communicate that message.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I must say this RTB post is pretty timely: Kimber Chin’s A Romance Novel Fable.

I think it’s a wonderful post.

6 Responses to “Message? This is Romance, damn it!”

  1. April 9, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Thank you for the link! I was a little nervous about this post. Very raw and exposed.

    Being an old time reader, I grew up with the rather politically incorrect romances. The Barbara Cartland’s where the tiny, blonde wisp of a woman gets rescued by the big strong man. Since I wasn’t a tiny blonde wisp of a woman, I never waited to get rescued.

    You’re in Singapore? I’ve only been there once but I felt very safe there (could be perception but it was an unique experience for a female traveller).

  2. April 9, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    You’re welcome, and I know other people who loved it too. 🙂

    I think the most un-PC romances I read were mostly the Lindseys. Maybe some Catherine Coulters as well. Never read Cartland.

    Yup, I’m in Singapore. Well, I’ll tell you what the police campaign about: Safe Does Not Mean No Crime. For most part, it’s safe, but you know, a smart woman just doesn’t walk home at night in dark alleys etc.

  3. April 9, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    I agree that the story comes first. Everything else is just extra.

  4. April 9, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    The plot of the Claiming the Courtesan post creeps me out. I’m surprised Avon published a book with several rape scenes. You’re right, it’s not the genre’s duty to communicate messages, but rape scenes still offend me.

    OTOH, I loved Kimber Chin’s blog. Thanks for sending me there.

  5. April 9, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    🙂 Michelle, exactly!

    Edie, one of the reasons why I want to read it is because of the rape scenes. I want to see how someone else handles them. And you’re absolutely welcome. 🙂

  6. April 12, 2007 at 2:39 pm

    I am judging without reading the book. I probably won’t read it, but the editors at Avon were right to publish a story they thought was great.

    I’ll be interested to read your review.

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