Why is it that romance novels outsell any other genre in the bookstore? For that matter, why do women love chick flicks?
It’s all about the men.
We’re fascinated by them. We like to think we understand them, but in truth, we have no clue what most of them will do next.
We love to discover how other women met the love of their lives. Whether it’s fact or fiction, we’re hooked by a good story. The more inappropriate the two seem at first, the more we love the tale.
I think our curiosity has been going on for centuries. Don’t you agree? When women bond at a dinner party, the conversation always turns to the same question:
“So how did you two meet?”
I think that question was asked (grunted) by the very first cavewoman to the second cavewoman, as they were standing over the fire eating their hunk of meat and admiring their hairy men.
Don’t you know how your mom met your dad, your sister met her man, and how your best friend wound up living with the guy next door? Women love to talk about, dissect and analyze relationships.
In novels and in movies, we want realism in our stories. Maybe not always on the outside—fantasy is fun—but down deep, where it matters. The core values of the fictional hero are what we, and the heroine, fall in love with. It’s that part of him that listens to her problems, the part that understands that life is hard and he wants to share her burdens as well as her riches, and mostly, the part of the hero that sees through her defense mechanisms in pushing him away and loves her for them anyway.
When I’m critiquing an unpublished work, I’ll sometimes see these parts of the hero omitted. And if you’ve ever sat through a romantic comedy in the movie theater and thought ‘this is lame,’ you know what I mean. Here’s what’s missing: What is it about the man the heroine truly admires? What does she have that he can’t find in anyone else? What do they overcome in their inner journey in order to be together?
When you pick up your favorite romance novel, or watch your favorite movie for the nth time, it’s that big sigh at the end that sums it all up. We want an emotional journey that proves these two people can’t live without each other.
If you post a comment here today, you’ll get a chance to win a copy of KLONDIKE WEDDING! I’m giving away two, so you’ve got double the chance of getting your name pulled out of the hat!
I blogged about the novel two weeks ago—the hero is a veterinarian surgeon with the Mounties. In case you missed it, the blog was titled ‘Do You Know Where Your Hairy Creature Came From?’ and it’s filed under the category of Medicine.