Modern Love: Reading, Writing, and Publishing the Romance Novel
There is no more polarizing literary genre than romance. It is often referred to in academic and literary circles by the disparaging moniker, “Chick Lit.” Nevertheless, the romance genre continues to be one of the most successful in popular literature today, with over 30 million avid readers and sales of $1.44 billion annually.
This creative thesis is broken down into two parts—essay and completed manuscript. In the essay I take an autoethnographic approach by assessing the genre and how it impacts me as a writer of contemporary romance. First, I address the belief held by many feminists regarding the universal romance plot of “the happily ever after” as being an antifeminist message. I evaluate, as times have changed, romance storylines and how they have transformed to reflect shifting reader demographics that are decidedly pro-feminist, including my own work.
Within the essay I discuss my writing path and focus on the romance genre and acknowledge two authors who have influenced my work—Jennifer Crusie and Jane Austen. Citing samples of their work, I reflect on how both author’s styles have not only informed my writing, but also illustrate their decidedly pro-feminist messaging. Finally, I explore the process to publication, both through traditional and independent publishing, citing the various resources available to authors. I conclude with a tentative timeline to publication for my completed manuscript, a 75,700-word contemporary romance novel entitled “Ghost of a Chance.”