Saturday, February 07, 2009

Reality In Romance Books-Is There Such A Thing?

What do you read romances for? I started out as a teen reading romances because that's what my friends were reading. Then I fell in love with the wonderful, escapist stories. Over the many (many!) years since, I've stuck with romances for the most part because the authors told such wonderful stories that I could relate to. I wanted to become that heroine or experience her story as told by the author.

My tastes in reading varies. I read everything: suspense, romantic suspense, paranormal, historical, and erotic. I read everything except literary or mystery for the most part. Don't like first person stories. The time I limit myself on reading is when I'm writing a new book of my own. What I've noticed in the last few years that publishing houses seem to be pushing stories and writers farther than ever before. No one can have a simple werewolf or vampire story any more. It's got the be the most fantastical, outrageous, brutal, unbelievable story ever written with myths that are so complicated the reader can't keep up with the story line without a companion book or taking notes.

Has anyone else noticed this trend? I recently read two books by different authors, published by the same house. They must either have the same agent and/or the same editors. Both books were so depthy, steeped in their other-world cultures that they were frankly a pain to read. I don't want to have to take notes in order to remember who did what to whom, why this particular magical component won't work against what particular villain because he's immune to whatever because he once drank from the lake of villain-immunity. Really, it's starting to get that complicated.

I honestly, am not interested in such wildly complicated stories because it's exhausting to read them. It's a book. It's a story. It's not life, andthese two books are going to go into the pile for my writer's group giveaway. I won't keep them. Many times I SKIPPED through the mind-numbing scenes. That's not the essential part of the story for me as a reader. I want to know what's going on between the hero and the heroine and what's going to be their struggle. The other stuff interferes to a degree in what I'm reading that book for.

And it's getting annoying because it seems that more and more good stories are getting buried in the craziest plots, the wildest sexual encounters with highly improbable mythical creatures, and the beauty of a good story becomes lost.

Is this really what readers are preferring these days? Am I being old fashioned in my search for a wonderful story that doesn't depend on gimicks or other-worldly legends and myths to hold it up? Is the story really about the story, or is it about all of the bells and whistles that accompany a good story?

I wonder if this is what the author had in mind when he/she sat down to write the original story. Was it what the publisher shaped it into or is it the demands of the marketplace that makes necessary these types of stories?

I don't have the answer to this and I'm only speculating based on my own interests. If one person has this opinion, surely there are more with the same interests.
I'd love to hear what readers think about this topic.