Category: Romance

It’s summertime (where I live, anyway), so the ‘perfect’ time to watch a frothy, fluffy romance – like Netflix’s A Perfect Pairing, which is well-qualified as summertime viewing:

  • It’s about wine and wineries (and sheep!)
  • It stars a former Nickelodeon child actor, Victoria Justice – What is it about former child actors and light romance?
  • It’s a Netflix Original – I would say most Netflix romances fall squarely into the ‘light’ category

Before I begin my critique, let me just clarify that I am in fact talking about the Netflix film, A Perfect Pairing, and not the Hallmark romance of the same name that also came out this year. Wouldn’t want anyone to be confused.

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Romance readers (and viewers) have a love/hate relationship with the concept of instalove (a.k.a. love at first sight); some view it as supremely romantic, while others view it as shallow and unrealistic.

I agree that pure instalove — when the leads have no real interaction at all, yet they declare love and make commitments to one another — is hard to pull off.

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Have you ever watched a romantic movie and at the end, when one character declares their love to the other, instead of swooning, you cringed and covered your eyes?

I have. Just the other day.

The movie? The Proposal.

Yes, the Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds film, circa 2009.

Actually, I first saw it years ago, and had vaguely negative feelings about it. But, I think that first viewing was on a plane or something, and I didn’t give it my full attention. So I thought I’d give it another shot.

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I am a huge fan of Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game – the book, that is.

It’s one of the best romances I’ve ever read, mostly because it manages to sustain romantic tension from beginning to end – an extremely rare feat, in my experience. 

The movie, on the other hand…

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I’ve read that Netflix’s Single all the Way is the first gay holiday romance movie. (On Netflix? In the world?? I’m not sure.) Whatever, this is yet another example of Netflix choosing not to push the envelope.

The movie is tepid. There’s nothing here to offend, because there’s basically nothing here at all.

The gays deserve better than this.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about my “career” as a writer (it’s probably telling that I put that in quotation marks), probably because I’ve been dipping my toe in some new things this past year — joining RWA, launching a website, submitting my first query to an agent, getting my first rejection, etc.

There are plenty of options for writers today, and so much advice floating around. I’ve found it distressing at times, comparing myself to others who seem to have it all together, and wondering if a socially-anxious, introvert like me has what it takes to find readers.

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When I started reading romance novels, oh, more than thirty years ago now, it seemed like they were all M/F stories, told solely from the female point of view.

But, somewhere along the way, readers decided they liked the idea of getting some insight into the male perspective, and the tide turned in favour of dual POV.

Nowadays, depending on the sub-genre you’re working in, either single or dual POV can be acceptable. I’d say the vast majority of romances are written from dual perspectives, but that doesn’t mean single POV is dead.

So, if anything goes, how do writers choose which approach to use? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? And, is dual POV actually better than single POV??

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As a romance writer, I’ve always felt a bit affronted that there are so many other meanings and uses for the words ‘romance’ and ‘romantic’.

I know, I know. Word meanings evolve over time, and it’s perfectly natural that there are multiple meanings.

But, still!

(That’s the best argument I can think of.)

Anyway, despite my misgivings, I was curious about how the meaning of ‘romance’ evolved, so I did a little research…

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A tag cloud of romance tropes

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of romance novels marketed by their primary trope, like:

  • Love with the Despised Stranger, a Marriage of Convenience romance, or
  • Babies Happen!, an Accidental Pregnancy romance

I can’t decide if I think this is brilliant marketing or a terrible shame.

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I loved books, as a kid. The first book I remember loving was The Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren. After I read it and we returned it, whenever we visited the library, I would walk by the shelf where it was housed, feeling like it was this special, secret gem, this thing no one else knew about or understood.

I felt the same way about the Harper Hall books by Anne McCaffrey. I was fairly young when I read them (maybe grade 5), and to me they were these fantastical things.

That love is what planted the writing seed for me. I wanted to write something that made people feel that way.

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