Time for Romance

I’ve tried, but I’m not a romance writer. Romantic suspense, mystery with a romantic element, dark comedy with a suggestion of romantic comedy, Gothic with a ghostly romance—YES, but not a pure romance novel.

I respect the romance genre and enjoy reading historical romance, romantic suspense and sometimes even the ‘rom coms.’ So far, my experience with contemporary romance has been something between ick and meh with an occasional glimmer of ‘I like these characters but wish they were solving a mystery together and not merely falling in love against a contrived set of odds.’ Still, as a reader, I keep trying.

As a writer, I’m cognizant of the importance of romance, love, sex, relationships, connections, etc. in the imaginary lives of my imaginary characters. I just want to make sure that the romance forwards the plot and/or illuminates the characters and that I’m not shifting the focus of the story. This is a delicate balance and I’m often riding a line between genres.

Do you have any thoughts on how much or how to add a dash of romance without flipping the balance toward romance? Please share.

Temporary street are in NYC.

Temporary street are in NYC.


  1. I’m more drawn to romance as a subplot and rarely pick up romance books for my own reading. However, as I’ve started to edit more romance it’s been growing on me. The thing about romance titles is the romance needs to be the main focus with few or any other subplots. That’s not for me, but readers sure do eat that stuff up. I saw a graph on a site a few days ago and when they stacked all the romance subgenres up, romance accounted for 45% of all book sales.

    • Candy Korman

      I’m with you on the curiosity about the popularity of ROMANCE as a genre. The historical setting romances have grown on me, or to be more precise, I’ve revisited them as they were a passion when I was a kid and I’ve discovered that they can still be enchanting. The focus on romance—love, sex, relationship anxiety etc. doesn’t win me over. But I acknowledge the power of the genre. I’d love to hear from readers what they think of a dash of romance or a romantic subplot in a mystery. How much is enough? How much is too much? There’s a balancing act here.

      Could I do full-out romance? Not now, but never say never to romance!

  2. Meh…I’m not a romance writer either. I tried. When I wrote the beginning of Innerscape, I truly was trying to write a mostly romance story, but the world and the conflict quickly overtook romance as the focus of my interest.

    I think I’m just a sci-fi writer at heart and that’s all there is to it. That said, my version of sci-fi looks at things from the perspective of the little person, so love is possible. But I don’t think it’s realistic to focus on romance when the world is falling down around your ears. Survival first, love …..later, maybe.

    In terms of the genre, I know it’s wildly popular, and definitely the most lucrative genre out there, but the need to have a happy ending no matter what always annoys me.

    Male characters who are drop dead gorgeous and emotionally too good to be true also annoy me. They’re like women disguised as men. I also see them as lazy writing – much like many of the female characters written by men – huge boobs and an insatiable appetite for sex – i.e. men disguised as women.

    It’s damn hard to write a convincing character of the opposite sex, but that’s no excuse not to even try.

    -blows steam from ears-

    Apologies. There are some very good romance writers out there but a lot of it is formulaic and…. Right. Definitely stopping the rant. Right now. 🙁

    • Candy Korman

      Nothing better than a good old fashioned rant to clear the head!

      Yes, it is tough writing a romance that feels real. The idealized romances in much of fiction makes too many of us long for partners who are FICTIONAL. LOL… Adding a romantic element to science fiction seems like a particular challenge and yet, good science fiction is about people and people long for, or actually have, some elements of romance in their lives.

      Now, I’m really curious about where Innerscape is going.

  3. I also struggle with romance and prefer to keep it as a subplot. I just block it out like any other plot points. They meet. Attraction. Inner conflict that pushes them apart. External conflict that pushes them together. Overcome the inner conflict…

    • Candy Korman

      Romance always seems to follow a formula and that’s one of my problems with mixing it into a mystery. Does it always have to follow the pattern?

      On the other hand, if Romance is to remain in the subplot category than maybe the formula is an important building block? Something to think about.