Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Things I Like and Dislike About the Romance Genre

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A black and white photo of a heart drawn into sand on a rocky beach. There is an arrow drawn through the heart and several white rocks that are about the size of a human infant sitting in the sand behind the drawing. It will be interesting to see how devoted fans of this genre answer this question.

I will read or watch the occasional romance, but my visits to that genre are short and sporadic.

What I Like About The Romance Genre


Everyone Lives Happily Ever After. Most of them end with the main characters living happily ever after together. That is not something that regularly happens in, say, the horror genre, so I appreciate bonding with characters I know will almost certainly have a cheerful ending. It’s a nice change from the scary stuff I more often read.

There Is Hope. Some romantic plots begin with characters who are in pretty bad shape. Maybe they’ve recently gone bankrupt, lost a loved one, been diagnosed with a serious illness, or been laid off from their dream job. Those first few scenes are usually the often the saddest ones in the entire story, so I enjoy seeing characters slowly (or quickly) find solutions to their problems and hold onto their hope for the future.

It’s Becoming More Inclusive. I’m seeing more romances being released about people who are senior citizens, LGBTQ+, non-white, disabled, or members of other under-represented groups. Yes, there’s still plenty of work to do to make this genre more inclusive, but that’s true of every other genre as well. In the meantime, I love seeing characters from all sorts of backgrounds getting to live happily ever after.


What I Dislike About The Romance Genre


Overemphasis on Romantic Love. I’m saying this as someone who has been married for years and loves her spouse, but there are so many other types of love out there that are just as important. You can have a perfectly wonderful life without ever getting married or falling in love, and I’d hope that everyone cultivates strong relationships with family members and friends no matter what your marital status is. There’s no such thing as one person fulfilling all of your emotional and social needs. That’s too much pressure to put on any relationship.

Too Repetitive. As much as I like seeing characters live happily ever after, I can only do so many stories in a row that are all but guaranteed to end the same way. This is also a feeling I have if I spend too much time in the horror, mystery, or speculative fiction genres, so it’s definitely not limited to one form of storytelling. Although, in my admittedly limited experience, romances seem a little less likely to take risks than some of the other types of storytelling do. (If you know of romances that broke major rules of their genre and surprised you with their plot twists, please give me suggestions! I would love to explore the most  creative examples of what a romance novel can be like).

It’s Shoehorned Into Other Genres Too Often. I’m slowly seeing more romantic subplots being included in speculative fiction stories that do not need romance in them. I understand the desire to appeal to multiple audiences and agree that some stories flow better if characters X and Y fall in love with each other, but I’m also wearied by how often I pick up what sounds like will be a dramatic space adventure or a clever new twist on  zombie lore (or what have you) only for the protagonist to get distracted by a sexy stranger and disrupt a storyline that was working just fine on its own.

I do occassionally enjoy romantic speculative fiction, but I don’t like to be blindsided by it. Just like there’s a paranormal romance tag, we should have clearly-labeled tags for all other types of speculative fiction so that readers can easily find or avoid them as desired.


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10 Responses to Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Things I Like and Dislike About the Romance Genre

  1. In agreement on all counts.

  2. I feel the same way in regards to the overemphasis on romantic love. The first Frozen movie was refreshing because it’s a story primarily about the love the two sisters have for each other. I supoose a lot of people write for the market, don’t they?

  3. I’m not a reader of romance novels and usually dislike it when romance is shoved into what I DO read, unless it makes a meaning to the story. Bernard Cornwell, for instance, often has his hero motivated by feelings for a woman, since otherwise he’d just stay at camp/the bar/etc and drink with the guys. I did my Top Ten Tuesday list today since I missed yesterday.

  4. I don’t mind a tad of romance in my other-genre books, as long as it fits the story. And, I agree that love of all kinds should be celebrated in books. Thanks!

  5. I’m generally in agreement on all accounts: sometimes I just want to know that however difficult things get, the characters are headed for a (possibly very sexy) Happily Ever After. If that’s not what I’m in the mood for, I read something else.

    Romance in other genres depends on how it’s handled and how well it fits with the main storyline; I’ve read books where the romance was this weird departure from the rest of the story, and it was unwelcome and distracting, but that was an issue of execution and not romance per se.

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