In Defense of Romance

Romance novels have been a point of contention in my life for years. I grew up shunning romance stories. Even my mother shunned them. Romance novels were silly. They didn’t have much plot. They always had happy endings. And they were smutty.

And smutty was bad.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent years hating on romance novels. They were for people who hated reading, who weren’t as intelligent as me, and who just didn’t appreciated cultured content.

I was a pretty pretentious reader when I was younger. It was something that held me back as a writer too.

But in the end I realized my hate for romance was two fold: I was pretentious and made assumptions about romance; and I was ace so somehow romance things didn’t click with me the same way. I didn’t understand love at first sight. I couldn’t see why people could care about things like that. It took me a long time to grow out of that.

Pink rose in vase provided by Tirza van Dijk

Happy Endings are What We Need

Lately, the world is just a disaster. There’s a lot of sadness and terrible people. The happy endings are far and few between and sometimes you have to make your own. Read that romance that ends in happiness and champagne bubbles. Write a little bit of romance happiness into your stories. Create a world of happy endings to help you survive another day in this weird and crazy world.

Romance is More Than What You Think

Okay, this might be a stretch, but since I never really had much of an attraction to anyone in my formative years, I’ve used the tropes and happy endings of romance in my friendships. Reading romance helped me understand how some relationships can develop. How opposites attract. How love at first sight can be fun. Imagine that with friendships. The two people who argue like crazy but will always have each others backs (even siblings). Or the two people who just hit it off right away and are friends for life. See those tropes, twist them, make them new.

Find a New Take on Romance

Don’t forget about queer representation and how that’s still revolutionary. Show the love story that you’ve never seen before. That you wished existed. I know so many people who dislike romance because they never see themselves. They never get a chance to watch a romance unfold with someone like them. Be the one that changes that. Make romance your new battleground.

Show Romance in More Ways

You don’t need two people falling in love in everything you write, but you can use the formulas and the happy endings of a romance to shape stories in new ways. The tropes of romance can be used in new ways. They are still fantastic tropes people love and some that you might have enjoyed through the years too. Look through them and see how the have influenced your writing or how they can in the future.

This might seem all weird and disjointed, but that’s how my renaissance with romance came about. It was all strange and tentative and a lot of me getting over my own prejudices. So if you don’t normally read romance, take a moment to grab one today. Or incorporate some of the elements into your own stories.

Let me know what kind of romance prejudices you have had to master or what your favorite romance tropes are in the comments below. Maybe I’ll find new tropes that I love and will incorporate into a future story.

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