The Business of Writing Romance

Posted on August 2, 2006

The Associated Press has an interesting report about the recent Romance Writers of America convention. Kate Brumback looked diligently, but there was nary a heaving bosom or damsel in distress to be found.

Strong women and edgy plots about relationships are replacing the heated passion and ripped bodices of swooning damsels in distress traditionally associated with romance novels. Some of the more than 500 authors signing their books at the Romance Writers of America's 26th annual conference last week said the genre is not about smut or trash and is no longer exclusively for women.

"It's not all lace and moonlight and heaving bosoms. That's all nice, but it's about a lot more than that," said Emily Giffin, author of best-sellers such as "Something Borrowed" and "Something Blue." Giffin, 34, who left a career at a New York law firm to pursue writing, sipped an Amstel Light as she signed books for fans and explained that her books focus on relationships, romantic and otherwise.

Sari Robins, another former attorney, said she is tired of people dismissing romance novels as poorly written fluff. "I write intelligent heroines," she said. "The writing is solid. I take a lot of pride in how good the books are. I think people don't realize how hard it is to get published and that to get published it really has to be good."

There's nothing wrong with a well-placed heaving bosom. But these days, it's more likely to belong to a tough urban gal whose bosom is heaving because she's just taken out six bad guys in one fell swoop after she rescues the hero (as in Christine Feehan's hot new novel, Dark Demon). The romance writing business has changed quite a bit from the 70s: that's for sure.

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