Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Think about those romance plots

In the panel on asexual representation at RavenCon I reiterated the issue that I honestly think writers are trained to make sure they include a romance. (I was outright told every book "has" to have a consummated romance involving the protagonist - which is BS if you look at science fiction classics such as 2001, A Canticle for Leibowitz, I could go on all day).

I just borrowed a couple of police procedurals from a friend. They're independently published and not bad at all - the books are Cliff Diver and Hat Dance by Carmen Amato. I actually recommend them if you like police procedurals in a slightly different setting (contemporary Mexico).

The problem is, that at some point I think Amato internalized that advice. There is, indeed, a consummated romance involving the protagonist - and it's useful to the plot precisely once. It's a completely separate and unnecessary sub plot and it feels as if it was tagged on because A Book Without Romance Won't Sell.

There's nothing wrong with a good romance plot - I mean, I've written my share.

But when the romance is put in just to "sell the book" - think twice. Readers will notice if any facet of the book is tagged on, and you run the risk of a Flying Bus Story - a story with genre elements added just to sell it or to suit it to a particular market.