Conventional wisdom about writing is conventionally wrong.
A classic post from my old blog. For new folks, enjoy.
Let it be known: we men must rethink our natural manly instinct that romance novelists are something to avoid, like SEX AND THE CITY 2, which is indeed worthy of scorn, and woe unto any man whose girlfriend or wife coerced them into wasting two hours of their life to see that stupid thing. No bribe is sufficient.
Published romance novelists are not only talented and funny, but many can write circles around the 6.57 gazillion reporters, writers and novelists I know. Also — and most importantly — they CELEBRATE AND ADORE MEN, which we should encourage.
I have thought about this, and it makes sense.
These women are more talented than most folks writing about elves and spaceships, or elves riding spaceships, because there is so much freaking competition with romance novels. Are there bad romance novels out there? Sure, just like any genre. But with so many books and writers, there’s bound to be brilliant ones like Nora Roberts / J.D. Robb, because it’s like throwing 10,000 authors into the Thunderdome, tossing in a single chainsaw and refusing to unlock the door until there’s only one woman left. By definition, that woman is going to kick tail. She will be a writing goddess.
And the message is good. Romance novels don’t want us men to be to be office drones, worried about TPS reports, or the moody, over-educated basket cases you read about in literary novels. .
Romance novels want men to be tough guy action heroes, packing swords, if not guns, and sometimes guns and swords. Any man can learn this from googling “romance novel covers.” IT IS AN EDUCATION.
Aside from piracy and swordsmanship, they specifically want us to punch things that need punching and spend our time with a beautiful long-haired woman who happens to be heiress to a billion-dollar fortune but does not know that, because her evil uncle has hidden this fact from her so he and his plastic-surgery obsessed witch of a wife could keep all that money for themselves, and it is our job to dropkick the evil uncle into the next century. If that doesn’t work, hey, all men are required to carry a sharp sword.
I hadn’t read romance novels, or even checked the covers until now. Yet now that my eyes are open, we men should band together to pool our resources to tax subsidies or something, because romance authors and readers are a secret army doing a $16.5 billion public relations campaign for men everywhere. And, to be honest, the genre is bigger now. It’s a big push for love of all stripes, which is a good thing. Life isn’t about having the biggest pile of dead presidents. It’s about family and who you love. As a husband and father, I get that.
So, romance novelists and readers, I am holding a mug of Belgium beer, and I raise it in your direction.
Keep up the good work. We men may not know it, or admit it, but we owe you a huge favor.
Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.