What won't we do for love? (Pt1)
First off, I have no idea how my sidebars got that far down on the page; will fix when I have more time, and noodle with the colors as well.
Now on to the main attraction. What are your personal no-nos in a romance novel? Particularly a historical? Historical saga? I had a talk with my friend Vicki today, and the subject of people dying in a novel came up. Some people (the person in the conversation who is not me, for example) maintain that only characters they don't like, ie bad guys, can die, where as others (me) are more of the "whatever would logically happen/is needed for the story." I'll admit I can be a bloody wench when called for. DH is rather amused that most of my stories would be classed as "sweet" going by the current ratings systems, as I don't typically include graphic sexual scenes. (For those keeping track, yes, my h/hs do have sex as suits the relationship/story -- we just let readers use their imaginations.)
I have, however, had shipwrecks, diseases, childbirth, wars, accidents, etc. Dalby from My Outcast Heart sticks his hand in a fire. On purpose. I have one novel-legnth fanfic that has been informally dubbed "the head wound story" because, umm, ::looks around:: things go boom, people go owie, there's a suicide by exposure, and a miscarriage (not the same person.) Sympathetic characters will die if that's what would happen, and if it suits the story. I can't not do that. It's not in me. While I won't kill of a hero or heroine in their own book, and I'm not one to kill off Heroine One so Hero One can have Heroine Two later on, if it's a family saga, later on, well, yeah. How many three hundred year olds (outside of paranormal/time travel) do we see running about?
Yes, this is romance I write. The story of how one man and one woman go from strangers to you-and-no-other. I can't not do that, either. These stories happen to take place in times and locations where life could be perilous, and often is. Does this take the shine off things for some readers? I'm sure it does, and I'm sure those readers might enjoy other sorts of romances. Which is why the genre is as diverse as it is. Which is good.
Reader taste is a funny thing. I remember a conversation with a casual acquaintance who asked what sort of story My Outcast Heart is. Historical romance, I answered. Her first question: is it a series? Not to my knowledge. (at the time; I have ideas for a "world" but I don't know if it's strictly a series) Second question: is it erotic? No. Third question: is it funny? No. (well, maybe to someone, and it's certainly not skukling around catacombs like a cartoon goth teen in hyperbole, but it's not a comedy.) Then silence. Quite possibly the "three strikes, you're out, but oy, you're standing right here and indicating that could be awkward" type. This very nice person may not become one of my readers, and that's fine. I have no trouble telling someone whose reading tastes I know that they wouldn't enjoy one of my stories if I'm pretty sure they wouldn't.
Ah, phooey, brain fritz has just set in, so I will call this entry part one. Talk amongst yourselves, and part two will be here in the morning.
As the late Eugenia Riley said, not every writer will please every reader. That's why there are so many of us.