Monday, March 18, 2013

Contemporary Romance Class: What's romantic?

Update: 99 have signed up, over 50 submitted a novella pitch, and about 30 sent in their outlines.

We had another meetup for Contemporary Romance Class yesterday, and we talked about romantic scenes.  I asked everyone to share what they liked about romantic scenes/novels/movies, and here was the gist of their answers:

- LOVE bickering, bantering couples
- HATE bickering, bantering couples
- LOVE Alpha guys
- HATE dominant guys
- LOVE public grand gestures
- HATE public grand gestures
- LOVE dancing
- LOVE quiet moments
- HATE bimbo characters
- HATE pushovers with low self esteem
- HATE villains whose motivations aren't explained
- LOVE vacation scenes
- HATE resort hookups

What I learned from this? You really can't please everyone. And also, that maybe the thing you think is romantic (as a writer) may just be the thing a reader will love.

I also shared a few things that I've learned over the years about writing romantic scenes (and being known as a writer who writes romance). These are more of behind-the-scenes planning things that readers might not even notice, but I think the writer should be aware of. Like:
- Age appropriateness of romantic scene (what happens in my NA Chick Lit is not what happens in Interim Goddess of Love, must say)
- Language ("make love" is cute sometimes but who actually says it?!)
- Birth control/responsibility/disease
- Parental/societal/cultural/religious views/approval

We should really have more time for random questions though, and I'll make sure to work that into the agenda. They probably will have more of it as they write more chapters. I love though that everyone's pulling from their romance-reading experience in the discussions. It was research all along!

Next month: They will submitting their first 10,000 words, and at the meetup we'll discuss conflict.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the suggestions, Mina!

    Re: age appropriateness and birth control. I wrote parts of my Act 2 out of order after the last meeting, and there's a scene where the MC's elder brother gives her condoms and a long lecture about not getting caught sneaking back into the house by their parents. This would be more age-appropriate in Western YA/NA, but to me this says more about how sexually-active adults function in the Philippines: since the adult "children" still live at home with their parents, the alpha/macho brother has to save his otherwise sensible sister from being shamed by giving the lecture himself.

    Come to think of it, this book might end up having a lot of discussions about sex for a book with all-Filipino characters. Oy!