They Say Romance, I Say Huh?

I was looking for something to watch while I did some ironing last weekend.  Saw a movie with an interesting blurb, A servant falls in love with the mistress of a high-ranking royal.  And it was categorized as a romance.  Sounded cool.

I got played.  This movie, with its intriguing blurb was not, in my opinion a romance.  I have a hard time even saying it has romantic elements because the servant-mistress relationship wasn’t prominent.  It was there, but way, way in the background.

To me, in a story with romantic elements, the relationship between the heroine and hero is second in the plot line.  It’s like the story vice president.  It may not drive the story, but it does help lead it in the right direction.

This movie got me thinking about the definition of romance.  I think romance is sometimes (often) misunderstood by folks who aren’t familiar with the genre and assume just because a hero and heroine are attracted to each other makes a story a romance.
So what’s your definition of romance?

How do you define romantic elements?

Do you think there is a difference between a romance story and a romantic story?



Filed under Kimberly, movies, writing

4 responses to “They Say Romance, I Say Huh?

  1. talesfromthecrit

    I love the vice president analogy. Nicely done. I think that you’re right. With romantic elements means it’s in the back seat RIGHT behind the whatever is driving the story. If it isn’t second string the story shouldn’t be categorized as romantic elements.


  2. Now here’s where you’ve caught me out. I’ve been guilty of lazily calling a lot of things romance that really aren’t. Now that you bring it to mind though, if I had to give a real definition of romance, I’d say it’s a story where the romantic relationship between the character is central to the story plot. There can be other things going on like mystery or suspense, but the love relationship should be at least equal in importance to those other elements, if not topping them.

    Star Wars comes to mind as an example of a story that has romance in it, but it’s definatly not something you’d categorize as a romance. Han and Leia’s romance is sort of just one or two conversations or kisses going on in the background.

    Similarly, although the LOTR movies tried to put more of a romantic angle into the movies than Tolkien did in the books, again, the romance between Aragorn and Arwen had nowhere near an equal amount of screen time as did the war against the Dark Lord. Not saying that’s bad. The movie wasn’t intended to be a romance, but that’s just my idea of a story with hints of romance that could definately never be categorized as a romance.

  3. See?? Here’s where all the trouble starts!!! *snort* Can we fit everything into a slot? I don’t know anymore. I thought I could. I think more, what I read has romantic/romance elements. Lowell…even Nora Roberts. More and more, I’m on the side of if-you-want-romance-buy-a-harlequin. But then I think of all the older books I have, Graham and Lowell, Garlock. It just seemed like there was a better blending in the old days.

    For example, I just read Blue Smoke and Murder. I felt a tiny bit jipped by the love interest. It was there, but it lacked punch! Is it the casual attitude towards relationships in general? With this book, I didn’t get that end of the book satisfaction of a connection to last the ages(yes, I know it’s cheesy). One person who does this well, within a suspense/external conflicting novel, is Suzanne Brockmann. Anyway. I tole your blog unintentionally. *blush* you caught be on a thoughtful day.

  4. Neith

    I think the tag “Romance” requires a few things. First, the romantic relationship must be front and center – it should be the main theme. Romantic Suspense, Romantic Comedy, all have other elements, and that’s why they aren’t straight line Romance. Second, and VERY IMPORTANT is that Romance requires – yes, I will state this firmly, let there be no mistaking – ROMANCE REQUIRES HAPPILY EVER AFTER. or at the VERY least, happy for now. I do not want the Hero or the Heroine dying at the end. I do not want them being torn apart by circumstance. NO. GONE WITH THE WIND IS NOT A ROMANCE. It is a drama – with romantic elements, to be sure, but it is not a romance.

    I’m sorry, did I not make that clear?

    Okay, so I’m better now. In any case, those two things are the main requirement for Romance for me. If its a “romantic” anything, I expect the Romance to be sharing the spotlight, not relegated to a back corner. It doesn’t have to be front and center, and it doesn’t even have to be second. but it needs to be in play and very obvious.


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