February 18, 2011 | By: Tracy

I So Did Not Mean To Write That

Believe it or not, sometimes, the last person to know what kind of story you wrote is . . . YOU.

Growing up, my introduction to romance novels came via a mother who was obsessed with the historicals. You know, the kind with some half-naked version of Fabio on the cover.

Like this....



or this ....


(I actually remember both of these books ... and I'm way too excited about that fact. Moving on.)

If I'm being quite frank. I did very little reading for the storylines back in those days. Most of them were relatively stock (and cheesy).

For a 13-15 year old girl -- coming of age in a pre-internet world -- those books were the closest my curious brain could get to actual porn.

The world of romance novels has drastically changed in the time since then (which, for the sake of my ego we'll pretend was only a decade ago. K? Thanks).

Yet, while the books changed, my perception of them didn't.

I'd moved on to the horror/fantasy concoctions of Stephen King and Anne Rice. Left behind were the heaving bossoms and throbbing shafts of romance novels gone by.

Forward to the day when I proudly sent my fledgling manuscript off to my betas.

"Here," I said, "read my fantasy novel."

The feedback was both exhilarating and disturbing. Most loved it to pieces, but they kept calling it a romance.

"What? Um, I don't write romance," I said.

"Yes, you do," they said.

"No, there's witches and immortal beings and reincarnation, oh my," I said.


"Yeah, but it's all about the lurve," they said.  (Yes, they said lurve)


Anyway, this exchange went back and forth for a while, until I finally realized what they already knew.

I had written a romance. Paranormal romance, mind you, but a romance nonetheless.

The genre has branched off into so many different avenues that weren't there twenty ten years ago. Paranormal, suspense, erotica, contemporary, etc. And I found myself writing it, without even realizing that was what I was doing. (Turns out I'm pretty durn good at it, if I do say so myself)

This happen to anyone else? Not necessarily romance, per se. Maybe you meant to write a mystery and wound up with a thriller. Maybe your paranormal went all sci-fi. If so, don't fret. It doesn't matter how you get there . . . I think we all find our landing spots sooner or later.

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!


32 witty remarks:

salarsenッ said...

Great point about how genres have branched off. I was just chatting with a friend about this the other day. I was wondering if my PR could be considered Urban Fantasy instead. I think It's a tad more paranormal romance, though. I think...

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL I used to read Joanna Lindsay books as a teen. At one point, I decided she must have ghost writers because it was like she had a new book out every two months. Boy, she must be old by now. :D

YA and Romance are very similar. They've both branched out so that there's something for everyone. Okay, almost everyone. Romance cynics need not apply.

anicagrey said...

Great post! You reminded me of my preteen self when I discovered romance too. And yeah it seemed close to porn.

It's funny, I've found that I have to put a romance in EVERY story I write. I can't help it. I write science-fiction and fantasy--but it turns into a romance. I've tried to fight it, but like you said, it doesn't matter how you get there. Besides, I've learned that stories like to write themselves anyway :)

Pk Hrezo said...

I love Johanna Lyndsey novels. She has a great voice. I lean toward writing fantasy, but also write contemp and even tried writing a thriller. In all of them, romance is VERY prominent. What can I say, I'm a sucker for romance. :)

Janet Johnson said...

I lurve it! I meant to write this hilarious fairy-tale spin-off, and it went all Robin McKinley on me (who I happen to love). I'm still trying to decide what to do about it, though. :)

Summer Frey said...

Yes, my books often change gears mid-write. Funny story: I learned about the birds and the bees from one of my Mom's Fabio-covered romance books. I remember the guy's name was Raine, and it happened in a medical tent, because he was injured...

Meredith said...

Haha, that's amazing! I love when your book becomes something completely different. I started out thinking I would write an adult book, but it turned into YA. And I never looked back.

Tanya Reimer said...

With so many subgenres, really, how can we know until it's all said and done and someone tells us what they think! Lol
Fun post.
Welcome to the crusade

Kari Marie said...

I enjoyed this post. Every book I read as a teen had a romance subplot if it wasn't full blown romance. My tastes haven't changed, although I have diversified. I think my mom would have killed me if I came home from the library with one of those covers. I read a lot of Danielle Steele which started to get...tiresome, so I branched out into Judy Blume's Forever. I thought I would burn in hell for reading it. I'm just finishing my first novel. As I review my work, some of the best scenes are the romantic ones. The character's are more vivid and their voices are the strongest. Huh. But it's not a romance! I swear.

W.B. said...

It's amazing how your writing can drift away from what you intended it to be.

Even though you didn't intend to write a romance, it obviously turned out to be that way, and it got favorable reviews. Besides, romance in fantasy novels are amazing to read.

Best of luck with the rest of the manuscript.

Melissa said...

When I first got the idea for my book, I thought it was going to be a romance... turns out it was a coming of age novel, of my MC learning to stand up on her own. The romance is still there...but (in the first book) it's there in a way that you can either chose to see it or not. Some people do and some people don't (it seems to depend on their own reading preferences).

writesbymoonlight said...

Yep. My writer's group broke the news to me. I never really read romance novels, yet wrote a paranormal romance. Not that there's anything wrong with that. :-)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Ha ha ha. I think I've read both of those. :-)

Pitchers and catchers are working!!!!!! :-)

Lindz said...

Oh my god! Gentle Rogue! I totally remember that book.

Anne Gallagher said...

OMG it's FABIO! And I did read both of those. I think I actually still have one in my personal library. Love Joanna.

I write romance, it's all I know. No matter what I write it will be there.

Katie said...

These novels are hilarious and very predictable! But I'm sure yours isn't! You're right that there are so many different branches to romance now. I love Jude Deveraux because a lot of her storylines are atypical.

And I love that you put up pictures. Classy. Have a good Friday/weekend!

Colene Murphy said...

Hahaha! That is awesome. Fabio...but no, about your realization too!! Interesting...can't wait to read it one day!
Yes. A yearish after my book had been written and edited a few times I realized what the underlying drive for the whole novel was. BOY was I surprised it all intersected! Grateful too, buddy XD

Jaime Loren said...

I never, EVER would have considered myself a romance writer (well, paranormal romance, anyways). I actually sat down to write a urban fantasy novel I'd had an idea for almost ten years ago now. No, five (for the sake of MY ego). Problem was, these characters kept screaming for me to write THEIR story, so I gave in, and the words flowed sooo easily - too easily, considering I had to go back and cut about 50% of them out! :P

So now I'm a paranormal romance writer, and proud of it. I'm also grateful I didn't write that urban fantasy, because now a movie has come out with THE EXACT SAME PREMISE! :( At least my title would have been better than THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU ... *grumble, grumble* :)

caterpillar said...

That's nice....I'd love to read that novel some time...I liked your description of yourself....sounds a bit like me...:)

Carol Riggs said...

LOL, the "lurve." Well, sometimes that's what critters are for, to tell you what you've been doing! Have a great weekend, Tracy!

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Hey fellow crusader! It's so nice to meet you! I'm excited to get to know you better!

Diana said...

Thanks for the follow. 101 is even better than 100!
I can relate to this post. I'm still trying to find where I belong. I convinced myself that my first novel was general fiction, but I found out it was romance. I wasn't sure I had the chops to be a romance writer so I ran to suspense, but now I want to try sci-fi, hoping I find a home. Hopefully, one day I will know for sure.

alexia said...

Ha, those covers are awesome! My book has witches and reincarnation, too :) Mine has some romance, but I'm not sure if there is enough to qualify as paranormal romance. I just go with urban fantasy.

E.C. Smith said...

Uh...guilty as charged. I started out writing an historical epic and guess what? When I finished I had a paranormal historical romance! But, I love that book...it came straight from my heart, so who am I to argue?

A big wave from a fellow crusader and a member of group #18! We are so going to rock the paranormal category! Have a great weekend.

Zan Marie said...

LOL! And the SciFi I'm working on is SciFi Romance! Of course, that didn't start until about 10 years ago, either. I'm visiting from the Crusade. Good post.

Rogue Mutt said...

Books are just like music in that they've subdivided into all these tiny niche markets.

tinadchayes said...

I used to read my mom's trashy paperbacks, too! And she wonders why I turned out so warped! LOL

Nice to meet you thru the Crusades.

Kristen Callihan said...

Hey Crusader! Your story sounds a lot like mine. A lot. Right down to moving on from heaving bosoms to finding Anne Rice. Loved me some Anne Rice. :) I shouldn't have been surprised to end up writing historical paranormal romances. But I was.

Kristal Lee said...

I remember those books too. Fires of Winter by Johanna Lindsay was the first romance novel that I read.

Eileen Wiedbrauk said...

I still have my first book o porn *ahem* romance. It was an accident on my mother's part because it was titled "The Christmas Cat" and had a fluffy white cat with a bow on its cover ... she thought there were four cat stories inside it when she bought it for me. She never read romances, only mysteries, so she had no idea what she was buying for me and actually I had no idea what I was getting into either but damn did I pay attention!

Katie said...

Ok. Literally I went to a huge used books store this weekend. First book I saw was Gentle Rogue. I totally thought of you!

Adina West said...

I think it's got a lot to do with what you enjoy reading, and what you know well. I grew up reading romance, so it always finds its way into what I write even if it's not the only focus. That's why I say that whatever I'm writing is pretty likely to be classifiable as women's fiction, whichever other genre subcategory it also falls into...

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