May 23, 2005

A Generic Romance

For a long time, I've wanted to be a professional writer. In fact, one of the reasons why I started this blog was to give myself a reason to write more often. I had hoped that it would improve my writing skills. (It was a good plan anyways)

But one of the things that I've recently heard is that many authors start out writing those trashy Harlequin Romance novels. For some reason unfathomable to me, there seems to be a nearly limitless demand for them. And so the publishing houses have scores of authors cranking them out by the bushel full. What makes this possible is that all of the books are nearly identical, and are written to a set formula.

Well, I thought that I should give that a try. So here is my submission for a generic trashy romance novel scene. Of course, I've never actually read one of them before, so I might be off by a little bit.

[Insert guy's name] looked deeply into [insert girl's name] deep [color] eyes. No longer could [girl's name]'s [family member] keep them apart. He swept her into his powerful arms and tenderly stroked her [length] [color] hair.

"Oh my darling [girl's name]. After I [dangerous mission to be done], your [family member] can have no objection to our love. At long last we can be together." He murmured into her ear.

[Girl's name] gazed up at [guy's name]. Her eyes drank in every feature of his face, as if she was afraid of never seeing him again. His dark [color] eyes, which flashed like [something dangerous and bright] when he was angry, but turned into [something soft] when he looked at her. His strong, rugged chin. (Every hero's chin is strong and rugged, so no options here.) His thick [color] hair. And the little scar on his [facial part] that she gave him the first time they met.

Finally [girl's name] gave in to her love. "Oh [guy's name]! I love you! And I am your's forever!"

[Guy's name] spun her to the [piece of furniture] tearing her [piece of clothing]. In an instant he was on the [furniture] next to her. Passionately, he kissed her [body part] as her hands started to remove his clothing.

"Oh [guy's name]!" [girl's name] cried out.

Well. What do you think? Trashy enough?

Posted by GEBIV at May 23, 2005 08:44 PM

Ooh Ooh...this is like Madlibs!!

You should ask for the appropriate amount of nouns, adjetives, etc in the main post...and then post this in the extended entry. I LOVE MADLIBS.

I don't read I wouldn't know....but it sounds pretty pathetic so I would say you got it right.

Now that that's out of the way....bring on the good stuff ;-)

Posted by: Sissy at May 23, 2005 09:28 PM

potetial to be trashy, which is good.

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at May 24, 2005 08:09 AM

Sounds better than most of the Romance Novels I've read.

Which is none, but that's beside the point.

Posted by: Harvey at May 24, 2005 11:23 AM

You would actually be pretty spot-on if you were skewering historical romances written in the 70s and early 80s (though sadly enough you weren't particularly close to making fun of Harlequin romances, which are a different animal entirely), and I was chuckling... Then you stuck an apostrophe where it had no business being, and the magic was ruined.


Candy, Unabashed Reader of Those Trashy Novels (but I admit I'm not very fond of the kind of romance novel you're skewering--and yes, there's more than one kind. Quelle idée!)

Posted by: Candy at May 24, 2005 11:50 PM

"your's" should be "yours". Otherwise it's a start -- or rather a middle. Where's the beginning and end?

Posted by: Kate, a professional Romance Writer at May 25, 2005 07:52 AM

Hey I read romance books, but I also read other genres. If you knew any better, you'd know that romance readers are some of the most diverse readers out there. We think nothing of going from George Orwell's 1984 to Trinny and Susannah's, 'What not To Wear'.

The amazing thing is that people who bash romance books, have never bothered reading them. I'd be tempted to take your views much more seriously, if you had at least attempted to read one.

Posted by: KarenS at May 25, 2005 10:43 AM

Here's the whole thing.

Girl lonely.

Girl meets boy.

Girl hates boy.

Boy rescues Girl from danger.

Sex scene (see above).

Boy rescues girl from more danger.

Happily ever after.

Posted by: Harvey at May 25, 2005 10:44 AM

Hey, let's do mysteries!

Murder committed.

Investigator comes on scene.

Lots of red herrings uncovered.

More murders committed. Murderer taunts investigator.

Investigator finds more leads.

Mystery solved.

Or hey, fantasy novels (and much of SF, with the exception of Philip K. Dick and some cyberpunk):

Book 1: World is threatened. Intrepid group bands together. Morally ambiguous member who ends up betraying the group generally required, though may be exempted if you have enough phallic doohickery (swords, magic wands, guns, spaceships, etc.) to add to the action.

Book 2: Battle is joined. All seems lost! Bad guy rapidly winning. Oh nos!!11

Book 3: The tide turns! Good guys win, yay! World is saved, but irrevocably changed. The end of an old era and the beginning of the new is ushered in.

Or supernatural horror novels:

Something nasty starts happening.

People can't believe it's supernatural, except the hero(ine), who has a Very Bad Feeling.

People start accepting it's supernatural.


Hero(ine) vanquishes horror through ingenuity and/or some supernatural help.

Posted by: Candy at May 25, 2005 12:42 PM

You're really a jerk, aren't you? Go ahead, finish your "romance" and submit it-and see how easy it is. With your attitude and total lack of respect, I'm sure publishers will be lining up to buy your condescending crap.

Posted by: romance writer at May 25, 2005 05:18 PM

Wow. I was just joking around. I did this during a half hour break at work the other day and was only trying to make myself laugh.

I know that it takes years of dedication and scads of talent to get anything published. No offence was inteded to anyone.

I never expected to get flamed over something like this.

Posted by: GEBIV at May 25, 2005 09:10 PM

flamed? Ha, try mocking science fiction next time. Now THOSE guys know how to flame with passion and flair.

(I withdraw most of what I said about you in my blog, however I still say you owe the hangers-on a drink -- and those hotel bars are expensive.)

Posted by: Kate the writer again at May 25, 2005 09:31 PM

Um. That was AWFUL. Where do you get your idea of what romances are, Saturday Night Live skits and letters to Penthouse?

Good grief.

Posted by: anon at June 2, 2005 09:12 PM
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