Monday, May 3, 2010

What I like about contemporaries

Contemporary romances are dying?
Who said that?
A shift from the usual cry that historicals are dead, I am intrigued why some might think this, aside from the fact that sales for some authors may be currently down.
Perhaps the same plot lines are showing up? The same conflicts?
But what I would bet is that the same voices are showing up on the page.
And voice is what makes an author stand out from the crowd.
A sexy Texas western deserves a western voice. A sophisticated romp or a romantic suspense deserves the educated voice and wit that should go with it.
Fail to give the reader the expected parallel of voice to locale or premise or subject matter, and I'd say you have lost the punch you could have imparted.
It would be like reading a medieval with contemporary language and sentence structure. Now certainly, no one is currently writing Norman French to give verisimillitude to a medieval, but the jargon, the terminology and the flow of the voice certainly would help, no?
So my take on the reputed "death" of any sub-genre is to examine what is being published--what I'm currently writing, too--and ask the musical question, does it read as it should?
A song has a rhythm. A novel has a voice.
Have you read contemporary fiction lately that really evoked the characters or setting?
Let's hear about them! We need to celebrate them!
P.S. Those cowboys I wanted to post yesterday? My photography skills are The Pits. Sorry. Viewing scrumptious cowboys through barbed wire does not thrill. WISH it could! I got more shots of cows--let that read longhorns--than necessary!
I put up here one guy who is nameless, but not unknown, I think, to many viewers. Sigh.


Lynn LaFleur said...

Cerise, I prefer both reading and writing contemporary romances. I read historical romances only in contest judging. I prefer modern day stories with modern day people and language.

Do I think the contemporary romance is dead? No way. I believe sales are down across the board from the economy, but that doesn't mean any genre has died. It's just sleeping. :-)


Katalina Leon said...

I love hearing a genre is dead because it only means its going to be revised and roar back to life with a new twist. Added plus-calling this genre dead just makes me want to write more contemporary romance, now it's slightly forbidden and therefore more desirable... lol

Fran Lee said...

I had a reviewer who said "I had stopped reading contemporaries, but after reading this one, I am hooked again..."

I guess you have to hook the reader with originality and heat, as well as talent and interesting plots. Like you said, your novel must have the right voice.

Amber Skyze said...

However the rumor got started I don't care. They're only helping those of us who read and write contemporaries. :o)

Thanks for some inspiration.

MJFredrick said...

I hope not! I'm reading a contemp now, a Susan Mallery single title and it's basically a marriage of convenience, but it's broader in scope. I love the Virgin River books by Robyn Carr, and Susan Mallery's new series set in Fools' Gold looks good. I love Lisa Kleypas's contemporaries, too. I admit I like a nice hook and maybe those are just harder to come by in ST contemporaries.

Anny Cook said...

I don't believe any genre is "dead". I believe there are cycles. Having said that, contemporary is my least favorite genre. Voice has nothing to do with that. I just find them less interesting to me personally. Some of that has to do with the disconnect between the general age/lifestyle in relation to my own. Very few contemporaries reflect MY life. Fantasy/sci-fi/historicals are easier for me to relate or connect with.

Adele Dubois said...

I love contemporary romances! I both read them and write them. My contemporary erotic romance REV ME UP is my best selling book to date. Apparently, a LOT of people agree that contemporaries are fun to read.

Best--Adele Dubois

MAGGI said...

I don't believe you can say any genre is stone dead. Trends come and go, as with historical romances, out of favor a little while ago are now the flavor of the month! But yes, let's not edit the rhythm and individuality out of stories. And keep those fresh plots coming!

Beth said...

I don't think any genre is ever dead. They may drop in popularity for a while, but that's about it.
In the last month I've read 5 contemporaries, 9 paranormal and 3 sci-fi. Doesn't sound like a dead genre for me.

Delicious Romance From Cerise DeLand said...

Yep. I agree that no genre ever really dies.
They just get better as they change!

Debbie said...

I don't think it's dead. I prefer to read abpnd write contemporart and paranormal stuff. I agree that voice is often a problem in the genre. Paranormal, historical, et al, force the writer into a different world. It's easier to create and maintain the characters and illusions. Contemporary takes a little more skill to do well. The characters must be well developed or, as you said, the indistinct use of voice gets lost in a crowded field.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Cerise. I happen to LOVE contemporaries! That's why I write them! You know, I think it just comes down to being a good story.


April Ash said...

I don't think contemporary romances will ever lose favor with readers. Other genres have you stretching your fantasy imagination...but a contemporary can somehow have a reader think "this could be me" or "I know someone like that".