Kathleen Jones--Romance Novels Should Be Realistic

Love is the Punchline by Kathleen Jones

Kathleen Jones is guest blogging today about why romance novels should be realistic. What do you think?

Kathleen Jones’ first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife comic romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, will be published in April 2018 by Moonshine Cove Publishing. Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT .


Romance Novels Should Be Realistic

 By Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist. Please sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT 

 

Most romance novels aren’t realistic by any stretch of the imagination. But they should be.

Why? Don’t romance novels give readers a welcome escape from the real world? And isn’t that what readers want?

No and no. The fact that most romance novels aren’t based on reality means that they can be hard for readers to relate to. Readers can end up feeling no connection to the characters or their problems, making the experience of reading the novel less than satisfying.

Unlike the leading characters in the typical romance novel, very few people, even when young, have perfect bodies and flawless faces. Yet millions of people without those attributes fall in love and enjoy successful relationships. The overemphasis on looks promotes the terrible idea that only gorgeous people deserve to fall in love. It also implies that middle-aged and older people aren’t sexy or attractive, contrary to evidence in the real world.

Equally offensive is the exaggerated emphasis on sex. In far too many novels, sex between the leading characters is highly graphic and, frankly, unreal. I’m hardly a prude, but I find these descriptions crude and off-putting. What about the emotional bond between lovers, the deep, soul-mate connection that makes a relationship special? Why does it always seem to get short shrift?

Finally, the characters in far too many romance novels seem to have an endless supply of money at their disposal. They live in mansions, travel in private planes, wear fabulous designer clothing. The rich man wins the woman, always; the ordinary guy never has a chance. It’s sad that in an increasingly unequal world like ours, where a tiny minority owns and controls most of the wealth, romance is seen as the prerogative of the wealthy.

As for my own efforts, I tried to make my romantic novel as realistic as possible. My romance novel isn’t totally grounded in day-to-day life—it’s set in the world of stand-up comedy, after all—but the characters are realistic. They’re middle-aged, lonely, coping with aging bodies and faces, worried about money. Not the stuff of conventional romance, yet the relationship between these flawed characters is, to my mind at least, far more romantic than relationships between all-too-perfect characters in many other novels.

Photo credit: Lisa Zins, Love Spirals via Photopin (license)

 

Kathleen Jones’ first novel, Love Is the Punch Line, a midlife comic romance set in the world of stand-up comedy, will be published in April 2018 by Moonshine Cove Publishing. Visit Kathleen Jones, The Quirky Novelist, online at https://kathleenjones.org/ or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/joneslepidas and sign up for free updates at ‪http://eepurl.com/ceSobT .

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