I never intended to write romance. I've always thought my tastes in literature were far too intellectual for me to be a 'romantic'. The truth is...
LOVE is fun. The insane lengths we are willing to go to in our search for it.The bizzarre circumstances that bring strangers together. The things we learn about ourselves when we realize it is the core of what life is about.
Whether it is lost, forbidden, unwanted, or unattainable. Loving and accepting ourselves is what makes happiness possible, being loved, and loving others makes any story better.There is no denying love rules the heart and mind of every individual. Whether it is in the desire to attain it or the fear of the pain that loosing it can bring.
One of the reasons "Romance Writers" have the ability to write the same seven story lines a thousand times over is because they understand. Those basic stories have different characters, different jobs, and different plots , but you know where the story is going. To that happily ever after where you, as the reader, have a little piece of you fall in-love. The warm excited feeling that brings is the reward for buying the book. It is a reward that readers come back to claim.
A "clean romance" is this same principle but with out a sexual element. It shouldn't be that complicated.
I'm reading a book right now as part of some research I'm doing on different types of romance, which is the story of two best friends who haven't seen each other in 13 years. HE finds out SHE is tired of men who let her down and is going to hire a male escort for public appearances instead.
The plot is a bit predictable, like most romances. He becomes said male escort. SHE falls for him while finding out HE is long lost best friend.
Here is where the secret of Romance comes in. The development of the characters and their journey toward love is what sells romance. The fast paced, interesting plot twists and unsolveable situations that come about create the desire to keep turning pages. The inclusion of sexual content in some romance books provides this same feel, but how often can you be satisfied with someone else's fantasy? For romance readers-the satisfaction is overwhelming but wanes without the hormonal pay-off having to increase . A challenge for any writer, but especially for those who write romance .Writers in other genre's can include little or no romantic content and never have a problem.
My challenge for you writer's of romance is this...Can you create great romance, character development, plot urgency and satisfying results without using sex?
If the legend of good, clean romance is just that a legend; then why is the Young Adult genre, , traditionally clean, the most infiltrated genre in publishing right now?
Are we drifting in our tastes toward instant gratification in our reading because it is so prevalent in our society? Can we as writers provide the pay-off our readers want without being trapped into writing trendy content?
"Think out of the box." and "Tell me a story that is different than any other." are directions a lot of writers hear. There are 30,000 plus books published every year on amazon.com alone. Only 940 of those are categorized under 'clean romance'. Those numbers are a far cry from 'inside the box'.
I don't know about you, but that sounds like a wide open market. A challenge, perhaps, but it might be worth it to become a legend in your own time.