Friday, January 27, 2017

Manview observations #6: Behind the scenes with romance writers

Welcome to the first Manview observation for the year. Steve has some interesting insights about romance writers he's observed. Of course, this does not keep him from being his usual cheeky self.

I hope you enjoy this installment of Manview observations.

Photo via Visual Hunt

Many think that romance writing is a crock, either because (1) it is more fantasy than Tolkien, or (2) 100,000 books read exactly the same: the only differences being new names, changed venues, different relationships (boss and secretary instead of housewife and fireman), etc. I used to feel the same when I first tried a few romance novels three to four years ago. I wanted to puke while reading them! But what I realised was I was reading some pretty poor examples of romance from writers who clearly were never going to be successful.

Dinner party
Photo credit: SanFranAnnie via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

Since writing Manview, I have been fortunate to be directed to and read far better romance. Our trip to the US to visit romance writers; having regular brunches with romance writers, editors and readers, having met with about 20 of them at a BBQ at our house; and spending weekends and days together catching up with some writers recently, I had the opportunity to have been one-on-one (not that way! - get your mind out of the gutter!) with about 40 romance writers over the last six months. And with that time spent together, I have learned a few things.

First of all, all good romance writers are great conversationalists and spending time over coffee or a meal has been interesting. Being an introvert, it has made it easy to just listen and never have to talk! These relationships have been truly enjoyable. And they all know how to live and entertain. While they may not live the lives they write about, they do live sensual lives with good food, drink and conversation! Romance writers make for great entertainment. (Unlike Audit Partners at a Big 4 firm who make you want to poke your eyes out!)

Photo via VisualHunt

More importantly, they take their craft very seriously. When discussing story lines that work or don't work, I have gotten some real insights into how they have built back story to make the main story work, or built a bridge to make the story arc plausible instead of impossible to believe. They have researched by reading, using Google, or often by visiting their venues and living among the characters they present to us to enjoy (hey, it makes that vacation to Paris tax-deductible, which IS something I have learned from Audit Partners - they are useful, just not enjoyable!) Many are great writers who take their craft very seriously.

I have been privileged to have had some great times with some excellent writers over the last six months, and their names comprise two-thirds of the finalist list for the upcoming Australian Romance Readers Awards at the end of February. I once again look forward to spending time with these fine writers. And who knows, maybe I can work in some of that other one-on-one or two-on-one time with them then! And if not, at least I can make our trip tax-deductible!

Well, aside from Mr Manview being rather cheeky in the end, I think the romance reading is rubbing off on him. What do you think?

Read all the other Manview observations here.

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  1. I have to agree of course I am very biased about reading romance I love it love meeting up with authors and chatting to them they are the best way to go Steve :)

    Have Fun

    1. It's always fun to get to know an author and find out what makes them tick when they write a book. I love the "behind the scenes" stuff.

  2. Replies
    1. He's getting pretty good at this romance thing, isn't he?

  3. Mr Manview, I have to agree with everything you said. Can we now count you as a convert to the romance genre?

    1. He's definitely a huge supporter of the genre and loves reading a good romance. PS. Apologies for being so many years late on responding. Very slack of me.