AAR
Click here for full forums index
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
 
Just what is "romance" fiction
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    AAR Forum Index -> Romance Potpourri Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
I think it's because the purpose of Fantasy is to remind that HEAs don't really exist in real life. On the other hand, the point of Romance is the HEA; a Romance isn't good unless it convinces readers that the HEA truly is rock solid. So everything in the story has to be fantastic enough (so to speak) to convince the reader that something which almost never happens in real life does happen in the story.

Probably some romance books are pure fantasy, but I think I'm not attracted to those necessarily. I do like to think, that even with an HEA in it, that the story I'm reading could be true. So, in that element, I don't classify my reading romance as "fantasy." I'm torn on this one, Schola, because I think a lot of what you say is true, but it's also not true. I'm going to have to think on this a bit; and since I'm practically on my way out the door, I'll get back to this, and hope I have more rational thoughts to add to it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
II think it's because the purpose of Fantasy is to remind that HEAs don't really exist in real life. On the other hand, the point of Romance is the HEA; a Romance isn't good unless it convinces readers that the HEA truly is rock solid. So everything in the story has to be fantastic enough (so to speak) to convince the reader that something which almost never happens in real life does happen in the story.


HEA's don't really exist in real life? Wow, I am not nearly that cynical. Maybe because I am blessed with a very happy marriage that could have come straight out of a romance novel, even after 16 years I still feel so blessed and lucky to have found such a wonderful man. My parents have been happily married for 51 years now and still going strong. Hmmm, maybe it's due to this lack of cyncisim that I generally don't have trouble believing in the HEA the author is presenting if it feels real and believable to me.

So rather than saying those 'fantastical' elements are necessary to convince me that HEA's do exist I'd say an author has to overcome them actually to convince me I'm reading about a couple that has any real base at all.

Linda
_________________
"The Bookshop has a thousand books, all colors, hues and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." ~ Nancy Byrd Turner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 567

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really don't think there's a universal answer here--I've seen people argue and debate that certain elements are precluded in romance --adultery, same-sex couples, three-way relationships--and while I might agree or disagree on a personal level, I don't think someone else is wrong for their opinion (which isn't true on other subjects..hehe). Anyway, seriously, I"ve seen this debate countless times here and I have to wonder 'according to who'?

Who gets decide what the romance genre consists of, if not the readers and authors who create, support, and keep it going? And if many of them DO find more realistic romance novels to fit in the genre, then to me, they do, or can. It's not like a mathematical formula, to my mind, where some answers are simply wrong.

and while I might cringe at certain types of romance novels personally, I'd never really argue that they shouldn't *be* in the romance genre itself. Except for those two requirements--central love story and happy ending--I don't really see the need to exclude particular 'types' of stories. If a certain book or genre doesn't 'fit' in the genre, then either readers will shy away from it--or maybe it does fit a little bit better there than we thought!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda in sw va wrote:
Schola wrote:
II think it's because the purpose of Fantasy is to remind that HEAs don't really exist in real life. On the other hand, the point of Romance is the HEA; a Romance isn't good unless it convinces readers that the HEA truly is rock solid. So everything in the story has to be fantastic enough (so to speak) to convince the reader that something which almost never happens in real life does happen in the story.


HEA's don't really exist in real life? Wow, I am not nearly that cynical. Maybe because I am blessed with a very happy marriage that could have come straight out of a romance novel, even after 16 years I still feel so blessed and lucky to have found such a wonderful man. My parents have been happily married for 51 years now and still going strong. Hmmm, maybe it's due to this lack of cyncisim that I generally don't have trouble believing in the HEA the author is presenting if it feels real and believable to me.


Laughing Well, yes, I do tend towards cynicism, Linda. I've honestly never been close to a married person who has had anything close to an HEA (unless you count people I know from the Internet). That includes people in my own family and people I work with.

Yet it's not just my personal experience that I was thinking of. In a non-Romance novel I read many years ago, a fashion reporter and a modeling agent are discussing models, and the reporter calls them "freaks of nature." The agent protests that description, but the reporter says that the freakishly ugly and the freakishly beautiful are both set apart by the fact that they don't look like the other 99% of humanity.

That is what I think of the HEAs in Romances. They're "freaks of nature," but in a good way. In the same way I'd demand that an author writing about a supposed genius (another "freak" type!) convince me of the character's intelligence, I do need the Romance writer to convince me that something I've never seen outside of books and movies would happen, if the story took place in real life.

So that's why I see Romances as more fantastic than Fantasy. A Fantasy novel is just the real world with magic in it; Romance is our world with something happening that bends all laws. (Or so speaks a cynic! Laughing )
_________________
"To be in a romance is to be in uncongenial surroundings. To be born into this earth is to be born into uncongenial surroundings, hence to be born into a romance." (G.K. Chesterton)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
[ Laughing Well, yes, I do tend towards cynicism, Linda. I've honestly never been close to a married person who has had anything close to an HEA (unless you count people I know from the Internet). That includes people in my own family and people I work with.

Yet it's not just my personal experience that I was thinking of. In a non-Romance novel I read many years ago, a fashion reporter and a modeling agent are discussing models, and the reporter calls them "freaks of nature." The agent protests that description, but the reporter says that the freakishly ugly and the freakishly beautiful are both set apart by the fact that they don't look like the other 99% of humanity.

That is what I think of the HEAs in Romances. They're "freaks of nature," but in a good way. In the same way I'd demand that an author writing about a supposed genius (another "freak" type!) convince me of the character's intelligence, I do need the Romance writer to convince me that something I've never seen outside of books and movies would happen, if the story took place in real life.

So that's why I see Romances as more fantastic than Fantasy. A Fantasy novel is just the real world with magic in it; Romance is our world with something happening that bends all laws. (Or so speaks a cynic! Laughing )


Thanks for explaining further Schola!! I guess that just goes to show how much our own life experience can play into how we perceive and react to what we read, especially in the romance genre.

Linda
_________________
"The Bookshop has a thousand books, all colors, hues and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." ~ Nancy Byrd Turner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allyson wrote:
I
and while I might cringe at certain types of romance novels personally, I'd never really argue that they shouldn't *be* in the romance genre itself. Except for those two requirements--central love story and happy ending--I don't really see the need to exclude particular 'types' of stories. If a certain book or genre doesn't 'fit' in the genre, then either readers will shy away from it--or maybe it does fit a little bit better there than we thought!


I like your post Allyson, I feel very much the same. I'm happy to make up my own mind what can and cannot be romantic for me and in the meantime like to see as much variety as possible within the genre so I have lots of choose from. :)

Linda
_________________
"The Bookshop has a thousand books, all colors, hues and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." ~ Nancy Byrd Turner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2511

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, call me a nominalist, but how can romance fiction be called a "genre" if it doesn't have parameters? Isn't that exactly what a genre is? Isn't it a fictional form which operates within certain bounds, having to preclude some things, include others?

I'd have a hell of a time getting anything sweet if I decided to call "sugar" "salt" just because I thought it should be called that.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
Well, call me a nominalist, but how can romance fiction be called a "genre" if it doesn't have parameters? Isn't that exactly what a genre is? Isn't it a fictional form which operates within certain bounds, having to preclude some things, include others?

I'd have a hell of a time getting anything sweet if I decided to call "sugar" "salt" just because I thought it should be called that.


Dick, which is why I especially like RWA's broad definition of a romance novel, it sets parameters (a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending) but leaves plenty of room in between for different styles, subplots, reasons for conflict etc. Did you give the link that was listed on page 1 a look? :)

Linda
_________________
"The Bookshop has a thousand books, all colors, hues and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." ~ Nancy Byrd Turner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2511

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

to linda in sw va: Yes, I did. The problem I have with the RWA definition is that it's too inclusive and too simplistic. For example, one might read about say, Heloise and Abelard, find the central love story, and find the ending, sad though it might be, "emotionally satisfying and (even) optimistic." I don't think most people would include that love story in the same class with say "Thunder and Roses" or "Dreaming of You," in which the HEA suggests somethng far beyond the ending that awaited Heloise and Abelard, although both endings may be emotionally satisfying in some way.

RWA's definition could easily include the story of a mother (or father) and child's relationship with the emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending being her watching him/her marry, or earn his/her first million, or graduate from college.

Per RWA's definition, romance fiction could include the story of a boy/girl and a horse or dog, for which any number of emotionally satisfying and optimistic conclusions can be imagined.

The "love story" in romance fiction is MORE than a love story; the HEA is MORE than an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
to linda in sw va: Yes, I did. The problem I have with the RWA definition is that it's too inclusive and too simplistic. For example, one might read about say, Heloise and Abelard, find the central love story, and find the ending, sad though it might be, "emotionally satisfying and (even) optimistic." I don't think most people would include that love story in the same class with say "Thunder and Roses" or "Dreaming of You," in which the HEA suggests something far beyond the ending that awaited Heloise and Abelard, although both endings may be emotionally satisfying in some way.

RWA's definition could easily include the story of a mother (or father) and child's relationship with the emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending being her watching him/her marry, or earn his/her first million, or graduate from college.

Per RWA's definition, romance fiction could include the story of a boy/girl and a horse or dog, for which any number of emotionally satisfying and optimistic conclusions can be imagined.

The "love story" in romance fiction is MORE than a love story; the HEA is MORE than an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.



Dick, a horse and a dog? lmao!! Ok, it's obvious we are not going to agree on this. Wink Suffice to say that I personally like that the RWA definition includes the most important aspects that make up a romance novel but that it also leaves plenty of room for creativity and variation.

To each their own! :)

Linda
_________________
"The Bookshop has a thousand books, all colors, hues and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." ~ Nancy Byrd Turner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing Dick's animal metaphors have reminded me of something G.K. Chesterton once wrote. I paraphrase: "Do not be so quick to relieve the camel of his hump. You may be relieving him of being a camel."

Anyway, I agree that if the Romance genre were a camel, then the RWA definition isn't enough of a hump for it.

By the way, when I first joined the AAR boards, there was a user who didn't agree that Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice counted as a Romance novel. Dick, was it you? Smile
_________________
"To be in a romance is to be in uncongenial surroundings. To be born into this earth is to be born into uncongenial surroundings, hence to be born into a romance." (G.K. Chesterton)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2511

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to Linda in sw va: We probably won't. Still, the horse/dog thing isn't so far-fetched as it seems. Think of Lassie Come Home, My Friend Flicka, Old Red, National Velvet or some books by Alfred Terhune. The relationship between the master/mistress and the horse or dog is definitely a love story. Many of them have emotionally satisfying endings. They fulfill RWA's definition.

to Schola: Re P&P, it probably was I, although I think others have stated the same. Even though it fits the RWA definition of romance, but only on the surface. Its primary purpose is different: the relationship of Elizabeth and Darcy is not central to the novel, only a vehicle; the conclusion, although emotionally satisfying, is also ironic, an intellectual response. In fact, if I recall correctly, in only one of Austen's novels--Persuasion--is emotion a central issue and even in that one the conclusion arrives through careful consideration by both the hero and the heroine. In the others, Austen examines social institutions--marriage and position and the pride and prejudice entailed in them in P&P; the errors imagination leads one to in Northanger Abbey; ego and its flaws in Emma; the shortcomings of belief and non-belief in leading to right action in Mansfield Park; the misleading nature of both sense and sensibility in the novel of that name. (These analyses are over-simplified, of course.)
There is simply not enough excess, enough heightening in P&P, for it to fit the romance genre. In fact, if anything, excess is deliberately made suspect; excess engenders all the problems in the novel and in the most wonderful bit of irony, the excessive actions of Wickham and Lydia lead to the solutions.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
Laughing Dick's animal metaphors have reminded me of something G.K. Chesterton once wrote. I paraphrase: "Do not be so quick to relieve the camel of his hump. You may be relieving him of being a camel."


For me, the RWA definition is a healthy base for authors to build upon and express their creativity. I don't think it 'relieves' the romance genre of anything. In fact, I think in order for the genre to continue to thrive and appeal to a wide variety of readers it must be allowed to stretch it's wings. There are so many differences as to what we all think can be romantic or acceptable in a romance novel to try and smother it with narrow guidelines would be doing the genre and it's readers a huge disservice.

Perhaps I feel this way because as a reader many of the romance novels I have enjoyed are those that not only push the limits but may cross lines and take a step outside the box. I feel compelled to speak out in favor of variety and creativity because I am so thankful there were authors that were willing to take risks and go a little against the grain and deliver to me one hell of a romance I might now have experience otherwise.

Linda
_________________
"The Bookshop has a thousand books, all colors, hues and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." ~ Nancy Byrd Turner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
to Linda in sw va: We probably won't. Still, the horse/dog thing isn't so far-fetched as it seems. Think of Lassie Come Home, My Friend Flicka, Old Red, National Velvet or some books by Alfred Terhune. The relationship between the master/mistress and the horse or dog is definitely a love story. Many of them have emotionally satisfying endings. They fulfill RWA's definition.
[.


I don't know Dick, somehow I just can't work myself into this being a serious concern. Smile However, we do have werewolves and other shapeshifters which I have enjoyed very much so maybe it's not such a stretch! *G* In the end it is what the market will bear, the readers will decide by what they purchase and that's perfectly fine with me. I'd rather have the opportunity to pass up a novel if I didn't think it contained elements I felt were romantic than to not have the choice at all. Variety is the spice of life!

Linda
_________________
"The Bookshop has a thousand books, all colors, hues and tinges, and every cover is a door that turns on magic hinges." ~ Nancy Byrd Turner
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see where you're coming from, Linda, but I have to disagree with the idea that "narrow guidelines" can "smother" a genre. My favourite example is the sonnet.

As a genre, it's even more narrow than the Romance: only fourteen lines; only the Shakespearean or the Petrarchan pattern; only love for its theme.

Yet writers have managed to be incredibly creative within those boundaries. Hopkins has sonnets about the love of God and the love of creation; Millay has sonnets about the absence of love; etc. (I remember reading one about the love of country and another about the love of reading, but I can't remember who wrote either of them.)

It takes great skill to write something according to form--especially such a rigid form--and make it original, fresh and exciting. It's a wonderful skill, distinct from other writing skills, which doesn't get much attention in literary circles (outside of discussions of poetry); and as long as genres remain so undefined, it won't.
_________________
"To be in a romance is to be in uncongenial surroundings. To be born into this earth is to be born into uncongenial surroundings, hence to be born into a romance." (G.K. Chesterton)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    AAR Forum Index -> Romance Potpourri Forum All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Page 2 of 7

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group