year at the Brooklyn Book Festival, a man approached the RWA/NYC table and
announced he did not believe in love as it is portrayed in romance novels. He believed
real love had three stages.
first was Romantic Love. During this period the couple meets and does not see
each other’s faults. The second was Realistic Love. At that stage, each party
in the relationship begins to notice the other’s faults. The final stage was
Mature Love. At this time, the couple decides to loves each other despite their
monologue was over, the author sitting next to me asked the gentleman if he
ever read a romance. His answer was, “No.”
year, another man approached the RWA/NYC table and rolled his eyes when asked if
he read or wrote romance. For a second I thought I was going to have the
displeasure of listening to another monologue. However, instead of bursting
into a lecture he asked, “aside from the obvious eroticism, what is in a
romances involve two (or more) people overcoming internal and external conflicts
to have a happily-ever-after or happy-for-now. I also mentioned that a novel
does not have to have sex in it to be a romance.
conversation evolved into a discussion about research, the publishing industry
and critique groups. Approximately fifteen minutes after he stopped by the
table, the gentleman shook my hand and wished me well.
man read romance novels, the second was more pleasant to deal with. Instead of
approaching the table and expressing a narrow-minded view, he asked questions.
easy to make assumptions about works we do not read or write.Authors unfamiliar with erotic romance may
not realize that character growth is essential to the plot. Others may believe that
characters must act a certain way (i.e. an African-American character must listen
to R&B or Jazz music) in order to stay true to their culture.
exposed to a sub-genre you’re not familiar, don’t simply turn your nose up and make
assumptions. Keep an open mind and ask questions.By doing so, you may develop an interest in
reading or writing something new.Even if you cannot be convinced to try a new sub-genre, by
approaching it with an open mind you will have earned the other person's respect.♥
Renée is the President of RWA/NYC. She is the author of SWEET JAZZ, a
historical, interracial romance. When she is not writing, she enjoys
photography, drawing and stone carving. Visit her at www.ursularenee.com.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Dear
Mr. Dickens, So
who has great expectations? Is this Miss Havisham chick expecting a roll in the
hay with Pip or what? Cougar stories are hot right now but this kid is underage…don’t
want to bring the feds down on us. So make him older and add a few hot scenes
and resubmit. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles
Mr. Dickens, “It
was the best of times, it was the worst of times”? Really? Make up your mind,
Mr. Dickens. Which was it, the best or the worst of times. Geez. When you
decide which it was, revise and resubmit. Stuart Little by E.B. White Dear
Mr. White, A
woman gives birth to a mouse? She’s cheating on her human husband with a giant
mouse? Honestly…that may be original but is totally inappropriate for a kid’s
book, Mr. White. Besides, it has creeped out the entire editorial staff. Don’t
bother rewriting and resubmitting this one, I’m afraid. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Dear Mr. Cervantes, A
novel about a crazy old guy who fights a windmill and his chubby sidekick who
goes along because he has no life? Honestly, this story has been done to death,
Mr. Cervantes. While we loved the chivalry, the plot was ho hum and the
characters too far-fetched. Please send us your next manuscript, we have not
filled out quota of rejections yet this month. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley Dear
Ms. Shelley, Your
hero is made out of dead body parts sewn together? Yuck! Three of our editors
threw up reading about that. Then you jump start him like a dead car battery
with lightning from the sky. Yeah, like that’s ever gonna happen. What nice
girl writes about something so grisly? Thanks but no thanks. Do send us your
next attempt, we’re always looking for a good laugh. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by
Lewis Carroll Dear
Mr. Carroll, A
girl disappears and this is funny? Down a rabbit hole? She eats pills that make
her bigger and smaller then meets a floating grin that’s a cat? We suggest, Mr.
Carroll, that the next time you take psycho-tropic recreational drugs, you
remove pencil and paper from the room. Please, we know an acid trip when we see
one. Good luck with your drug habit but don’t send us your next “trip”. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Dear
Ms. Alcott, We
were disappointed to see from the title of your book that it wasn’t about a
bordello. These girls are innocent to the point of totally boring. Four editors
fell asleep skimming your book for sex scenes. Besides, there was too much
telling and not enough showing in this book. We couldn’t feel the emotions of
your characters. What a bunch of spoiled brats! Please, spice up this book,
like one of them gets it on with the rich kid next door, rewrite and resubmit.
Oh and make the girls all over sixteen. We like ‘em legal.#
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Jean
Joachim, wife and mother of two sons, is owned by a rescued pug, named Homer.
She’d been writing non-fiction for what seemed like forever until she got up
the nerve to try fiction. It was love. Now she spends her days in New York City
in the company of her characters, with a cup of tea and a secret stash of black
licorice. She has 20 romance books published and seven non-fiction books. Her
series include, Hollywood Hearts; Now and Forever; New York Nights; and
Moonlight Series, Lost & Found. Visit Jean at www.jeanjoachimbooks.com.