Shannon Stacey

Defining romance ad nauseum…

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that RWA is working on the ‘definition of romance’ again.

So what’s my definition of a romance? Everything that comes between Once upon a time and They lived happily ever after.

If you can pull the romantic conflicts out of the story and still have a book, it’s not a romance. If you take Roarke out of the In Death series, you still have a detective series starring Eve Dallas. Not a romance. And what’s with this Mainstream with Romantic Elements stuff? In Death is not a Mainstream with Romantic Elements. It’s a futuristic detective series with a heavier-than-usual focus on the detective’s home and love lives.

RDI, Bombshell, NEXT, etc–some are romances, some are not. I enjoy some of them, and some I don’t. I’m an HEA Junkie, which these days is starting to hurt the TBR pile.

A romance, no matter what else happens in the book, is the story of two people falling in love. I don’t care if they’re a Greek tycoon and his hired nanny. I don’t care if their mutual sexual tastes run to black latex and a third pary. I don’t care if they meet at church and pray before dinner. I don’t even care if they both have a penis. A romance is the story of this couple overcoming whatever obstacles are thrown in their way and falling in love. Everything else is stage dressing.

If, when I read the last line of a book, I can sigh and say, “And they lived happily ever after,” it’s a romance.

One comment to “Defining romance ad nauseum…”

  1. Shannon
      · March 4th, 2005 at 12:12 am · Link


    Anna Lucia said…

    Yes, Yes, YES!!! Exactly.

    Right. We don’t need to talk about it anymore – I vote for Shannon’s definition!
    9:30 AM
    Alison said…

    I know a RITA judge from a previous year who gave an In Death book an N/F (not romance) designation!
    12:50 PM
    kate said…

    but women’s fiction? I thought it was erotica but that’s the problem, say TPTB, or so I’m hearing.

    I say screw it, let them come aboard the RWA, even if their stories end “and they lived okay ever after.” But no one’s died and made me Queen.
    2:58 PM

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