Today I went to the dollar theater with my mother and sister to see The Lake House. Yes, it was a romantic drama, yes, it was a sort of time travel story, and yes, there were some definite holes in the logic of the story, as are most time travel plots. However, I am not writing to simply pick at The Lake House, I’m writing about it because it sort of affirms why I write romance.
Like I sort of mentioned before, when asked what I write, I would reply, “Historical fiction,” and then mumble, “um, historical romance fiction.” I almost dreaded the question asking why I chose romance, of any genre to write, simply because I didn’t have a real answer, or at least, one that I felt was sincere. It’s true that I write romance because…that’s just what I write. When I put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, romance is what spills out. I usually have to explain what sort of romance I write, because a lot of people assume all romance is the same–most writers know that isn’t true. Romance is also looked down on, seen as everyday and uninspiring, pandering to repressed housewives–also untrue.
Why do people write romantic fiction? Why do people (mainly women) read it? I feel it is because as people, we feel most alive in the middle of a new romance. There is a subtle thrill that excites the everyday, brings meaning to something as silly as brushing your teeth (maybe you’re brushing your teeth because you’re hoping for that first kiss? Haha I don’t know). Romance is life-affirming; it captures the imagination, and when lost in the throes of love, the world is a wonderful place in which you and your love exist together, dancing in a little cloud of rose petals. I’m a hopeless romantic, if you haven’t guessed, which is probably another reason why I write romance.
I know real love isn’t always wine and rose petals, but it is the idea of it, the dream of it, that makes romantic fiction such a popular genre to write and read. Everyone wants to be loved, and most people want to love someone. Life doesn’t always make it so. And so, we turn to the dreams of someone else, written, published, able to put to paper something we can’t verbalize, something we didn’t even realize we wanted.
I’m curious to know, however, those of you writing in different genres, are you ever asked why you write that genre? What would you answer, if asked that question?