I am, primarily a writer of paranormal romance. However, I both read and write contemporary romance as well. A trend I have noticed just in the last five to ten years or so is that of the need for serious drama in contemporary romance story lines. Anyone else seen this?
I will admit that paranormal romance is fairly easy in the drama department. Supernatural powers tend to come with their own drama. But in contemporary romance, there seems to always be some sort of major and very serious issue that must be overcome by the couple. She… lost her husband, survived cancer, was raped, was abused, is being stalked, etc. These are all extremely serious issues.
I’ve noticed that these story lines are in a majority of contemporary novels these days – or at least it feels that way. Even if it’s not mentioned on the back cover, it’s still in the plot. And my question is… why do we feel the need to add such serious drama to our contemporary romance story lines?
I remember a time when the drama was entirely about whether or not the couple would fall in love. Isn’t that drama enough? Why is there the need to add more? Do these serious issues have their place in romance? Absolutely. Because they do happen to real people and we love to see someone who has been hurt find happiness. I’m not saying that these aren’t important issues, or worthy of reading by any means. And, of course, they can add a lot of emotion to the story.
But, my personal opinion, is that these topics belong perhaps more in the women’s fiction space – Nicholas Sparks is a good example of doing these very well. But I’m a little tired of seeing them in the series romance – Harlequin-style. I prefer “lighter” topics in these books because they are my escape. Keep the sheikhs, and the cattle barons, and the billionaires, but keep it lighter people.
Who’s with me? And who prefers the drama?