Romance Novels and why I unabashedly enjoy them.

Inspired by this great post by Anne Browning Walker (be sure to check out the comments in the article as well).

According to the linked article, smart girls read romance novels.  For some reason, this essay struck a particular chord with me.  Why?  I’ve been reading ‘trashy’ novels for years. 

Perhaps I inherited the trait from my mom, who always had a stack hidden somewhere in the house.  However, to this day, my Kindle is full of various types of romance novels (I have a special place for Regency era, but am willing to read most anything).  Most are admittedly light in the plot – formulaic stories with fun chapters where sexual tension is developed and then released.  I guess others might judge, but when it comes down to it, I don’t see why reading any novel from the romance genre is any worse than watching the Kardashians, Jersey Shore, Real Housewives or similar reality show programming.  If I choose to spend my time with characters I enjoy in fun and sexy environments, that’s ultimately my choice.  In fact, romances must be doing something right as they are far and away the highest grossing of all genres.

Is romance the only thing I read?  Not at all.  While I might not be the most well read person, I enjoy books from all kinds of genres – romance just happens to be one of them.

Say what you will, but as a writer, there are also many things I envy about romance authors.  The best of the category usually has dynamic characters, wonderfully developed tension and yes, well written sex scenes.  As an author who literally has to force myself to write similar scenes, I know I have something to learn.  (Also, I’m not alone – for truly cringe worthy sex scenes, the Literary Review has even developed an award for well respected authors who can’t seem to find their way much past Slot B, Tab A).  Outstanding romance writers have a great handle on the senses, on character description, development and dialogue – all traits I would love to improve on.  Each of my current WIPs has scenes where the characters have sex.  One could argue the scenes are gratuitous and unnecessary to the plot, but I’d like to think they are part of the development of the story and the relationships within.  My characters are not bunnies who have sex at every opportunity, but they are modern individuals who are expressing themselves.

For more on the topic, see also, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (a fantastic website run by intelligent ladies).

Don’t let the cover fool you – there might actually be a great story inside!

Do you admit to reading erotic fiction?  Got any recommendations?

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