On October 13, 2018, we welcomed Charleston-based Romance Writer Savannah Frierson into the studio to discuss the romance genre and all the subgenres therein. Here are the show notes:
Dr. Kasie Whitener, Clemson Road Creative, fiction writer
Rex Hurst, fiction writer and English instructor
Savannah Frierson, Romance Writer
Theme for the day
Romance: The Genre
- Who we are and why we’re here
- The topic for the week: Romance as a genre
- Book discussion — currently reading and its analysis through the lens of the topic
- Craft book discussion — Pat Conroy’s My Reading Life
All About Savannah Frierson:
“Savannah J. Frierson realized writing was her calling her junior year of high school. She completed her first original work, Reconstructing Jada Channing, as her senior thesis at Harvard University, earning the 2005 Dorothy Hicks Lee Prize for most outstanding thesis concerning African or African-American literature. In 2007, Savannah released her first novel, Being Plumville, which earned Savannah SORMAG Readers’ Choice Awards in 2007 and an Emma Award nomination for Debut Author of the Year at the 2008 Romance Slam Jam Conference. She has also spoken at several book fairs, including the South Carolina Book Festival, Charleston’s Black Ink Literary Festival and Capital Bookfest, book clubs, radio shows, and classes about her work.
“Savannah is dedicated to social justice issues, especially those concerning Black womyn. She is dedicated to ensuring representations of Black womyn are as full of breadth, life, and vitality as they exist in the world.
“When not writing, Savannah enjoys engaging in social media until she’s either laughing or cussing at her screen; reading until her eyes grow heavy; singing until she’s hoarse; and learning until there’s nothing left to learn. Luckily, such a thing is impossible.”
The Beauty Within (2008)
AJ’s Serendipity (2009)
Being Plumville (2013)
Trust Fall (2014)
Reconstructing Jada Channing (2015)
More Than a Summer Love (2015)
Go With Your Heart (2016)
Manna Tree (2016)
Then the City of Sin series:
In rapid succession in 2017.
How did you get started in romance novels?
What spoke to you about the genre?
Romance Writers of America – says it this way: “Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.”
There are the rules summed up in one paragraph.
- A hero and a heroine
- A problem that threatens to keep them apart
- A realization that this is “the one” and the struggle to make the relationship work
- A commitment – whether that’s marriage or simply the implication of marriage – at the end.
“Series or “category” romances: books issued under a common imprint/series name that are usually numbered sequentially and released at regular intervals, usually monthly, with the same number of releases each time. These books are most commonly published byHarlequin/Silhouette.
Single-title romances: longer romances released individually and not as part of a numbered series. Single-title romances may be released in hard cover, trade paperback, or mass-market paperback sizes.”
Categorical (part of the “monthly” issue by a publisher)
Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal
Why does romance as a genre satisfy? What are its expected scenes?
Look What We share
Sacrifice for love
C.S. Lakin puts on a CLINIC with these three blogs:
The Love Scene
There’s an art to how they develop, where they’re placed, and what we provide the reader and what we leave the reader wanting.
Try this resource: Knowing Where and When to Have Love Scenes in a Romance Novel
The key is sexual tension that begins early and builds for both the characters and the reader until when the sex scene finally occurs, they’re all ready for it.
- Make it obvious – the attraction
- In sight or out of sight, but always on their minds
- Make them wait
- Let them start then make them stop
- Leave them wanting more
- Utilize dialogue
- Incorporate real-life sex details like fumbling and awkwardness
- Seek beta readers and workshops to try out vocabulary and flow of the scene
- Revise, revise, revise to refine the scene for the perfect impact
- Write something that doesn’t further the plot
- Turn your sex scenes into poetry
This article asks some important questions about including sexual activity in your novel, regardless of the genre. The most important lesson is to know the expectations of the genre as far as sex is concerned, and to meet those expectations.
What’s the best way to know the expectations? Read in the genre.
Jane Friedmansuggestswe look to the Victorians and “restraint” for writing compelling love scenes:
- Establish believable reasons for your characters to fall in love
- Give your characters something other than themselves to talk about with one another
- Limit the dialogue – the power is in what they don’t say
- Don’t overstate the description (at the sentence level, less words is better)
- Get cosmic
- Delay the kiss – romance happens in that moment between the possibility and the kiss
- Reread the most memorable love scenes you’ve read, analyze why they were so great
What we’re reading
(Since it’s probably not a romance, here’s a link to Sarah MacLean’s suggested reading)