The difference between romance and women’s fiction:
Whose story is important. In women’s fiction, it’s all about the woman’s journey. The romance is secondary to her journey. In romance, the hero’s story is just slightly less than equal to the woman’s story, and the general gist is about the conflicts between them.
I live for a good hero. If I don’t love the hero, I don’t love the story. It’s why I struggled with “Love Can’t Wait” and “Summer Fling.” I never loved Kyle and Scott as much as I loved Corey, Kip and Doug.
It’s why in the Paladin series by Alexis Morgan, I loved Blake Trahern’s story and could read that a thousand times over, but didn’t enjoy book #4 with Cullen, as much. There are several hundred others I could list if I thought long enough.
The hero is why I love romance. And it’s what makes my own writing work. The books where the hero is redeemed are far more popular than where the heroines story is more important.
Why I disliked Sugar Daddy and how Blue Eyed Devil fixed it all.
In Sugar Daddy, Lisa Kleypas made us fall in love with Hardy Cates. He helped Liberty, he took care of her, he rescued her, he loved her and he left her, possibly for her own good. He was dark and driven and sexy. He was a smidgen away from broken, but something inside him wouldn’t let him break, something pushed him forward to become a success.
And then Liberty married Gage. And, partly due the nature of women’s fiction, we didn’t really get to know Gage all that well, we didn’t get to love him like we loved Hardy.
In Blue Eyed Devil, Haven, Gage’s little sister, marries an abusive jackass, who was probably only in it because he thought her family would pay his way. Anyway, eventually she leaves him, and moves back home, where Hardy has become a wild success and their paths cross repeatedly.
Hardy comes along and sparks fly. Sadly, again, as it was about Haven’s journey, we didn’t get enough Hardy. I just re-read it today, and it lacked the hero excitement of a romance. Their relationship felt rushed and glazed over. I loved it, but I wanted more.
What I really learned:
Kleypas is a master of description in these books. I read Sugar Daddy many years ago, so I don’t recall it as well. But this one, I long to describe things like she does. I’m a dialogue person and action person. I skim over description when I write. I want to get to witty dialogue and smut.
I’m working on it.
What is your favorite part of romance? Do you enjoy the focus on the relationship in romance or the women’s journey in women’s fic?