Being Different Enough

December 5, 2011

In a way, today’s post kind of ties in to what Elley talked about on Friday regarding all the good ideas being taken. I think, especially for us romance writers, this is true at a pretty basic level. Romance is all about two people falling in love. Guaranteed happy ending. There are even tropes that continue to be popular, premises that people continue to enjoy, even though the story has been told before. The story has been told before, so it’s all in the execution and the characters we invent to tell the story again. What this got me thinking about was more than just it all being said before. It got me thinking about a very real doubt I was having earlier this year.

This fall I was struggling with my writing. One of the biggest things to start that struggle was a lot of doubt. Rejections, workshops, and industry tweeting/blogs had joined forces to make me feel like everything I wrote was crap/unsellable. I couldn’t help but think I can never be different enough. I like simple stories of every day people falling in love and finding happily ever after. I like realistic conflict and honest feeling. Everything that’s really popular right now seems so out of my realm, so unique and creative or pushes boundaries I wouldn’t dream of and I felt like that made me the opposite. Dull. Boring. It’s All Been Done Before.

It took me a while to come to grips with the fact that, especially when it comes to romance readers, it doesn’t have to be this new, amazing, innovative story. My favorite books are those that resonate with me, those that make me feel good about life, those that show me a truth I didn’t know or didn’t realize. They’re not always the most unique or avant garde. Some of my favorite authors, romance and non-romance, write in the same style, with the same themes, and yet I continue to read their work because it touches me. My favorite books are the most honest, the most true… for me and my life experiences.

Love stories have been told before. Alpha heroes and feisty heroines and secret babies and all of that have been told before again and again… and yet romance continues to be a hugely popular fiction genre. Why? Because it’s not so much about the nuts and bolts of the story. It’s about bringing characters and love to life. If you do that, your reader is swept up into these people, their love, and it doesn’t matter if two people have fallen in love before. It doesn’t matter if opposites have attracted or two people that hated each other wound up in bed. We go back to those stories because they make us smile, swoon. They reminds us of how lucky we are to have love in our lives or remind us not to settle for the jerky ex that treated us like crap.

Love may have been told before, but couldn’t everyone use a little more love in their lives?



2 Responses to “Being Different Enough”

  1. I think the stories may have pretty much been told before, but the reason we can keep telling them….SHOULD keep telling them, is that people can relate to them. They want to hear love stories…..even if they’ve all been told. We all want to believe in that one true love, and we keep reading about it because it gives us hope.

  2. I find comfort in repetition. It’s as though if we tell these stories enough the sentiments will come true. I’ve never been attracted to sadness or evil. I’d rather hear the same happy, loving, positive stories over and over again than be wowed by some avant garde darkness. 🙂

    PS…Albie in a Marlin’s jersey is not an HEA!


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