I recently saw a call for submission for a contemporary romance (click here for the call) and had the brilliant idea of giving it a try. The only romance I’ve written to-date was a sprinkling that was more of a subplot. Whoa what a difference it is to make romance the main plot of a story. Pushing my usual ideas to the background felt odd and awkward. I carried on though, thinking it would feel more comfortable after an edit or two.
The beginning was not really romantic. My main character assumed she was being asked out on a date and was really being asked to babysit so he could go out with someone else. I know this is an old trope, but I added a twist later on. The female MC’s assumption broke her heart but she doesn’t speak up until her counterpart needs her help. Then she took her venom and ripped the male MC to bits; or at least, she tried to. He was still focused on his prize and didn’t understand why she was upset.
I liked the conflict and romantic friction between my two main characters and was having quite a bit of fun writing about their antics.
But I made a big mistake. I questioned my muse.
Now I’m wondering if the people that read romance prefer the fantasy of female/male misunderstandings, and silence in the face of sharing deep feelings, to the real world romance. I don’t know. I’m not sure. It doesn’t help that I’ve only had a few romances in my life and they were… less that spectacular.
What I mean is they were not Cinderellaish or Pretty in Pinkish or Bridget Jones Diaryish, or whatever the latest is ish.
So I ask readers and writers alike: What drives us to read romance? Why do we enjoy it? What are we looking for?
I’m going to need some answers or I’m sure to disappoint.