I was intrigued to see this question at facebook one day. An author friend asked – a romance author – do men read romance?
I hadn’t really thought about it. For me romance has always been rather a woman-centric generation. There’s no ban on anyone picking up a romance of course. But are men really interested in reading about girls being swept off their feet by billionaires?
I think the whole genre of romances is projected and even written with the women reader in mind.
Recently things have changed. As humans, we are aware that previous conceptions and cliches won’t do for us. So just like woman have begun to go for motorbikes, men also have started exploring more – romance books are a case in point.
There is another, a whole different genre, love stories. But are we talking of that?
Hmm, no. We’ll talk about men and romance fiction today.
As an Indian author, I have not faced as much demarcation of men versus women readers of my work. This is because most Indians love Bollywood and Bollywood romance films are the heart of the cinema here. So men are more accepting and even avid in romance reading.
If I had to take into consideration a generalization about men’s tastes in reading, I would say they like thrillers and horror more than women do. Of course like every generalization, this could be way off the truth.
Romance is not for everyone. What is different about the romance genre is first of all the predictable ending. A Happy Ever After. That ensures there is no suspense. One might even ask why the genre is so popular if the endings are all the same.
What romances offer mainly is escape. Like other books do. But romances are more make-believe. At the same time, the powerful draw is the conflict between two characters. In this case, unlike most thrillers, both are the positive characters. There is usually no antagonist. But they are on the opposite sides of the situation. Then it’s the author who has to work hard. Build up unique situations, even professions, have witty dialogue and a wonderful voice which consists of world view, humor, a cadence and command of words and others factors which will keep the reader sticking to the book. More prominent in romances is the internal battle of the characters. Introspection is less detailed in the latest books, where dialogue is mostly used, but whatever is there has to be engaging and meaningful.
With romances, it’s not what, it’s how.
Romances offer something more which is only available in the literature books. That is the descriptions. I have read category romances and other books, thrillers etc. – I love to read mysteries – but the words and the adept use of them is best seen in romance fiction. These authors have – broadly speaking – mastered the art of metaphors and descriptive writing. In a thriller, the cues are more immediate and brief – according to the need of the story. You would not need to linger on a scene or a place, taking in the visual in detail or breathing of the scents and aromas as though you were there. I think of it as immersive writing. I think every author should spend some time going over the romance genre, if only to learn how to perfect the descriptions and the phrasing and also the internalizations.
Of course, you should take care to pick up good ones in the genre. There are all types of books in every genre. While peculiarities of taste are there, bad is just bad.
If you are a romance reader, share your view about romance. What is the best thing about romance reading? Do men read romance? Do share your take on that. Answer either of the questions as a comment on this post and I’ll put you in for a giveaway of my latest book, Darker Than Desire, ebook released recently at kindle store.
Rashida married Khaled to get out of her country and save her brother. But the plan backfired when she began to fall for Khaled. She found he was nothing but a playboy who had married her to save his reputation as a high placed diplomat. Desperate to escape him, she left him.
But now Khaled has found her. She cannot keep running away from him, especially when he holds the key to her brother’s safe return. Torn between staying and leaving him, she finds the magnetic attraction he held for her rearing up again. Across Parisian avenues and Icelandic seas, she accompanies Khaled, held silent by her deceit, yet swept away by the passion only Khaled can ignite inside her. He will surely know the truth one day, and he would never forgive her.
Then she realizes she is trapped, and not just by Khaled’s alluring handcuffs…