Romance in Genre Writing

Romance in Genre Writing panel-Con Carolinas 2014

Romance in Genre Writing panel-Con Carolinas 2014

Ask eight writers about romance, and you’ll get eight different answers. At Con Carolinas, panelists shared their wisdom and cracked wise about what romance means to them, and how they incorporate it into their books.

One thing I loved about this panel was its diversity. Though the majority of the panelists were women, Y chromosomes were aptly represented. Ditto for the audience. Some of the panelists specialized in romance novels, while others incorporated romance into their stories without making it the focus. Writing styles ranged from the fadeout after kissing to mild scenes of lovemaking to…well, this extreme was saved for the sex panel. My take on several of the questions? Well, I’m tired of the “he/she completes me” trope.  Everyone is already a complete person, with all the necessary parts to lead a fulfilling life. Romance should make your life fuller, richer, not merely liveable. What I love is when someone is blindsided by romance or love.  They’re getting along just fine, thank you very much, when WHAM!, someone shows up and supercharges your life. Actually, now that I wrote it down, I see that these two thoughts are inexorably linked.

There’s a little romance in all of my books because romance is a fact of life—it happens! What I try to do is portray real relationships. Just because the story is set in a fantasy world doesn’t mean that romance and love aren’t full of ups and down. Some relationships are particularly ripe for trouble. For example, the romance between Torius and Celeste in Pirate’s Honor (Paizo Publishing) is fraught with difficulties, the first and foremost being that they’re different species with distinctly different…um…body types. Nothing that a little magic can’t overcome, but magic can’t eliminate all those everyday frictions that occur between strong personalities. Romance is easy, but love takes hard work. I’m especially proud of the kudos I’ve received from readers for writing an RPG novel that’s essentially a romantic adventure.

So, what’s your favorite fantasy/sci fi romance?

If you want to read about writing-related Con Carolina panels from an audience member’s perspective, check out Traci’s excellent blog at

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