Is it possible that even the biggest names in romance literature could have come up with a romantic myth so bizarre? Up and coming football star falls ‘in love’ with a beautiful young woman on the internet, develops a ‘relationship’ complete with break ups and reconciliations, his mother dies and then suddenly, tragically, so does his internet girlfriend- except there is no internet girlfriend. The whole thing was a hoax, created by a man who had fallen in love with Monti Te’o himself….And people follow the story. News reporters bring it up frequently on the daily reports, ESPN has several dialogs about it. People tweet about the ‘relationship’ and the hoaxer gets an interview with Dr. Phil. It makes you wonder why people would follow such a story. But if people didn’t live thier lives vicariously through others, then romance writers would all be out of a job.
Romance sells. And sometimes, romance that falls into impossile scenarios. Take Twilight, for example. Millions of readers fell in love with Bella and Edward and/or Jacob. They formed fan clubs, joined teams for Bella’s prospective lovers, inspired fan fiction (which inevitably became the phenomenon known as 50 Shades) and dreamed about such a relationship themselves- knowing all the while that there are no vampires or werewolves and it could never happen. The one book launched several televsion series and an entirely new fiction genre: vampire romance. Of which there are suddenly dozens of Twilight wantabes…much like what happened after Harry Potter. Maybe Twilight’s real appeal is the idea of being able to live forever with your soulmate. But just like the Monti Te’O myth, the idea is just a myth.
Of course, fiction doesn’t have to be plausible. It is, by definition, fiction. When I read a book, and for that matter, write one, I personally prefer that the characters be real people and that the story line at least be something that could happen. That doesn’t mean I think writers shouldn’t try new ideas, explore new landscapes or take a few liberties with historical facts to make the story work. There is a new trend in romance and general fiction right now that includes a parnormal element. I’ve read a couple of those by fellow indies, and some of them are well written and enjoyable books, if not exactly my cup of tea.
So what makes a good romance for me? I think romance readers want a male character they could fall at least a little bit in love with themselves, a female lead character they would want to be friends with, or even be like themselves, and a good plot that leads to an ending that makes sense. Does that always mean what we call in book business as HEA (happily ever after)? No. HEA isn’t required, although most readers who review your romance novel will likely give you less stars if you don’t have it. Some of my books have HEA, some don’t. You can’t always make the plot work that way. Just as in any other book genre I think the most important element is a good story. The good news is that there are many books out there, for all kinds of readers. And obviously, as the Monti Te’O story shows, many people are intersted in romance.
Since a number of my books fall in that category, feel free to check out http://www.booksbylynnmurphy.