Decoding Romance: The Unique Blend in A Season for Romance Anthologies

Decoding Romance: The Unique Blend in A Season for Romance Anthologies

Last two years, I have been the Editor-In-Chief for A season for Romance anthologies: Spring Blossoms and Summer Simmer. The next anthology in the series Fall Flames is going to be published next year and I need to write at least three fresh stories for it.

But what to do if I have run out of Romance and am facing the author block?

I have tried to read romance books and change the genre I used to write in, only to find that it’s not like my mind works. I threatened my teammates, saying I will not provide any story, and returned to my old mantra that I should not write Romance because I have never been in romantic relationships - that only makes my teammates laugh.

“You were the one to give us Red String. You have set the standard. “

This I cannot neglect. I have a clear image of what I expect from a romance and I even wrote blog posts about Romance and writing a flash.

I’m a highly analytical person. I like to dig into the crux of the matter. So, why don’t I use it to revise my blog post about romance keeping in mind my experience of editing 44 romantic stories for A season for Romance anthologies?

To start, I need to repeat myself. My expectations of everything I do are very high, and usually, I ignore them - unless I do developmental editing, and then I leave the following comments:

  • “I want more body language in the dialogue”;
  • “Show me how they flirt with each other”;
  • “Put more tension in this part”;
  • “This character needs to be more passionate…”

From my comments, you can see that I’m asking for the expression of feelings and highlights of what the characters want from one another. I want to see the depth of characters showing on the page by their body language that is appropriate to the action on the scene.

While the depth of characters is the crux of the romance, we still want to read the wholesome story. This means something needs to happen on the scene: a sweet banter, proposal, or even a fight…

Before I started doing developmental editing, my analytical side referred to the romanticism epocha, which brought the first romance concepts to use.

So, let’s see what do Wikipedia tells us about Romanticism.

Romanticism is characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism, idealization of nature, suspicion of science and industrialization, and glorification of the past with a strong preference for the medieval rather than the classical.

Can you see that a lot of these components you can find in today’s romance novels? We get to know the characters’ background, their beliefs, and feel their emotions. In A season of Romance we want to see all of it in healthy relationships with some kind of the conflict between characters.

But what about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet? Is that a healthy relationship? Absolutely not. But why is this story held up as a pinnacle of romance?

Romeo and Juliet success is in highlighting the socially important topic of teenage love. Shakespeare was probably one of the first to notice the unhealthy attachment of the first time falling in love. He ended up killing his main characters, showing that this love is ephemeral. Now, science has proven that the first stage of teenage obsession is very strong and can make young people insane, and yet it lasts no longer than three years.

There is another interesting side of Romance that let users experience the dark side of relationships. This probably led to the whole genre of Dark Romance that is not acceptable for A season for Romance anthologies.

If you think I tell this because I hate Dark Romance, I need to object. Actually, one of my most loved love stories is the original version of Ai no Kusabi.

It shows a society where one of the MCs cannot show his genuine emotions to the other MC and tortures him. At some point, he lets the tortured one flee, but after some time, that person returns. There’s no Happy Ever After in the original story. There is a lot of suffering from both parties; they need to give more than they actually gain from their relationship.

This brings out one more aspect to what we seek in A season for Romance anthologies.

MCs should gain more than they lose.

But here comes the question: What is it that characters should gain and lose?

This is up to the author to decide, but the most gains in relationships are: the feeling of belonging, of being equal and feeling respect from the other party.

With all things spelled out, my authors block achieves some cracks. I need to write my ideas down to demolish the block.

I hope you would love our next anthology Fall Flames.

P.S If you want to read the anthology of well-crafted romance stories, check Spring Blossoms and Summer Simmer on Amazon.

See you soon