Nothing cues thoughts of sell outs pumping out shitty prose faster than “romance novels.” Is there any genre, any form of writing less respected than romance novels? Calling the more explicit ones erotica actually elevates their status. To say “I write romance novels” is to admit you are a sappy hack. To say I write erotica is to proclaim yourself an arbiter of sexy.
Why the hate for romance novels? Some of it must be internalized misogyny. They are a thing for CHICKS. Ew. Girls don’t want to be like the other girls. Surely those other girls are the ones who are sluts, whores, bitches, the ones who trample on the hearts of innocent Nice Guys ™, the ones who spend all their money on false eyelashes and fake tits. And boys don’t want to be like girls. That’s the biggest insult anyone can throw at them. You play like a girl, you pussy.
Some of the hate is justified. They are formulaic. They are cheesy. They are sexist–seriously, the gender roles in these things are dated. I just finished reading The Stark Trilogy (J. Kenner). Sadly, it involves neither the Starks of Winterfell nor Tony Stark. No, Damien Stark it the hero and his relationship with the heroine boils down to: hero controls heroine, heroine professes her independence angrily, hero show off his raging boner, heroine decides this is a good point… who can be angry when her cunt (did I mention it drops the c-bomb every other page) is gushing, just GUSHING I tell you…
And this was one of the well-written series. I weep for everyone reading 50 Shades.
Somehow, the badness of this trilogy (okay, the first novel was solid) re-inspired my desire to get e-publishing… But novels and novellas are a world apart from screenplays… people actually buy them, and you get money, in theory at least… That last part is the most appealing. But self-publishing is an all or nothing deal. You need to build an audience. You need to publish 5, or 10, or 20 novels if you want to see some real return on your investment (time, cover, editing).
And, to be perfectly honest, I never want to do anything that takes away from my screenwriting time. I’m researching, but reading all these romance novels is exhausting, and quite frustrating given the current state of my sex life. Stupid bf and his stupid low testosterone.
A note for any regular readers: I may be splitting this blog: Fiona Fire for my unfiltered thoughts, a blog with my actual name for a more PC discussion of writing, publishing, filmmaking.