I’m Sorry, YUCK? That’s What You Think of Writing Romance?

Well, I’ve got something to say about that.

Yep. That’s right. On a recent trip to an authors’ forum, I saw a post from one of the writers talking about the genres they work in. After listing them off, they mentioned that they were being nudged in the direction of writing romance.

They followed up that statement with one word. “Yuck.”

That’s right. Yuck.

I don’t even blame them. Not really. They’re only mirroring what society thinks of romance novels, and by extension of romance authors and romance readers. Maybe they’ve never even read one, and the statement comes more from ignorance than true derision, I don’t know.

But here’s what I find really interesting: it’s fine that they said that. It’s not even considered an “insult,” just an opinion. I can’t think of another genre that is so roundly and thoroughly dismissed and eye-rolled in the literary community that someone could quite bluntly and graphically use a one word dismissal that implies nausea at even the suggestion that they write it and have the community just take it in stride, with barely more than a philosophical shrug of the shoulders.

Because, hey. It’s just ROMANCE, right? It’s just fiction written largely by women, for women, about women. Who cares about that? It’s just stories that prioritize women’s emotions, careers, lives, and growth. It’s just the only genre that regularly features stories about women improving their situations through grit and determination, seeing what they want and going for it, and refusing to settle for less and says, “YES! That’s the way it should be!”

Why should anyone give a crap about that?

Anyway. Here was my response to that writer. I hope they take it to heart.

Transcript (emphasis mine :D):

Yes, if thatโ€™s your attitude about romance, Iโ€™d certainly encourage you not to be pressured into writing it. I understand how that pressure might arise, given that romance is a billion-plus dollar industry and the single largest-selling literary genre year after year. However, I assure you that it is currently being more than adequately catered to by those of us who do respect and love it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Also, romance fans are some of the most passionate and loyal readers out there, and when they spend their hard-earned money on a book, they definitely deserve to read a novel that was written out of love for the characters and passion for telling their story, as opposed to out of pressure, obligation, and โ€œyuck.โ€

Keep standing strong in your resistance to writing romance! Itโ€™s the right thing to do.

๐Ÿ™‚ , *melanie

(Half of the NYT and USA Today Bestselling Romance Writing Team Melanie Shawn)

How I Felt When I Finished Typing That and Hit Enter:


  • That’s awesome Melanie – and I don’t think anyone could’ve said it better and with more authority! I love being a writer of romance and a passionate reader, and I refuse to be embarrassed of my work though I’ve received boatloads of eye-rolls when IRL people have asked what I do. Not so much now when either I or my very proud husband points out that I make a full-time living from it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Well said indeed. I think us romance readers are smart enough to recognize the books that are written for the $$ and then they wouldn’t be that successful with it anyway. Because romance novels are not only emotional they are also inspiring and uplifting, they are entertaining yet also life changing and even life saving. Romance writers who write from the heart with a passion saved my life years ago when I faced illness and disability and through the sleepless nights inhaled hope and encouragement from the romance novels that helped me carry on if for nothing else then to read the next book in the series. They literally carried me through one of the darkest years of my life. From the one word yuck I am guessing that person wouldn’t even have the emotional or intellectual depth to write a successful romance novel. I’m okay with that.

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