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Boy Gets Girl -- or Does He?
by Florence Cardinal
If you want to make money writing romance
novels, but you haven't read any for a while, you'd better check them out. The
simple "boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl and lives happily ever
after" formula has grown up.
At one time a romance novel consisted of the
handsome, rich, older hero and the beautiful, virginal, but destitute heroine.
You may still find a few clones of these original stars around, but heroes
nowadays are often scarred physically and/or emotionally, and heroines (seldom
virginal) may also be flawed in some way. Either, neither, or both characters
may be rich -- or destitute.
Romance has expanded to encompass other genres
as well. Historical romances have always been popular, and still are. This
subgenre now includes another category - the Indian romance. Now, as well, you
can find cowboy romances, fantasy romances mysteries, and love stories with
heroes who are werewolves or heroines who are vampires. Sometimes the villain is
an evil demon or an angry ghost. Time travel is another popular subcategory of
the romance genre.
These novels are written for all ages from the
preteens to the older generation who may be widowed or divorced. Some books even
involve couples who have been married for years, but who have hit a rocky patch
on the matrimonial trail.
Some novels retain the original sweet, virginal
love story, but the majority of these books range from the mildly sensual to the
downright steamy! Some books have as plots important social issues like
abortion, sexual abuse and drug use.
There are novels written by, and for, various
ethnic groups. The religious market has several lines of romance
Before you set your sites on the lucrative
romance market, buy several books from different publishing houses. Don't just
read them. Study them. Get a feel for these new trends in romance. Send for the
guidelines from the major publishing houses. Study these as well.
If you have Internet access, you can find many
of these publishers online. On their web pages, you'll find guidelines, lists of
upcoming books, and even excerpts from some of the latest novels.
Join workshops, newsgroups and mailing lists.
There you'll find other writers and discuss your ideas, exchange hints and give
you the incentive to keep writing. Because you must keep writing, even as you
explore the market potential. Romance editors and publishers need the best work
you can deliver, and competition is fierce. Is it worth it? Yes! Just ask Janet
Dailey, or Barbara Cartland or Danielle Steele.
And, if you dig deep enough into any of these
new novels, beneath all the shiny trappings, you will find that "boy (slightly
flawed) still meets girl (she may be a witch). Boy loses girl (to an irate
ghost). Boy finds girl (on a remote planet in a faraway galaxy), and they live
happily ever after." Or do they? That's another facet of the new romance.
There's always room for a final surprise.
TEN LINKS TO GET YOU STARTED
- Romance Writers of America - http://www.rwanational.com/
- The Romance Club - http://www.theromanceclub.com/
- Romance.net - http://www.romance.net/preview/Help/Editorial_Guidelines/
- Romantic Times Magazine - http://www.romantictimes.com/
- Love Letters (Ballantine) - http://www.randomhouse.com/BB/loveletters/
- Literary Times - http://www.tlt.com/
- Romance Reading Ring (226 members!) - http://www.geocities.com/Athens/8774/ring.htm
- Romex Newsgroups - http://romex.dm.net/newsgrou.html
- Ultimate Romance Book Website - http://www.icgnet.com/romancebooks/index1.htm
- Yahoo Romance List - http://www.yahoo.com/Arts/Humanities/Literature/Genres/Romance/Writing/
© Copyright 1999, Florence Cardinal
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