Suspense – With or Without a Shot of Romance?
I write suspense. When I was writing my first novel, one of my critics accused me of having written a romance novel because there was an element of romance within the story. I objected vehemently but changed the ending from happily ever after to maybe happily ever after.
Now I’m writing my second suspense novel and agonizing over the ending. The protagonist finding love seems to be a nice way to wrap up the story, but again, I’m being sensitive to possible genre-labeling. As a reader, I enjoy a romantic subplot and wanted to add that to my suspense storyline. That said, how much is too much?
It becomes necessary to look at how the differing genres are defined.
1. Romance. This hardly needs description. The romantic progression is the main theme. The lovers meet, there is conflict between them, they grow, they (in most cases) live happily ever after. No ambiguity.
2. Romantic Mystery/Suspense. By definition, this category includes any mystery/suspense story in which the romance is the main plot but which also contains a large element of mystery/suspense. Today, this category has many offshoots, very often with the mystery and the romance getting equal billing, which is done frequently by some of the big names in romance writing.
3. Adding a romantic element to a mystery or suspense book. Want a touch of romance in your mystery?
a. The romance has to remain a sub-plot and cannot dominate the story. The mystery/suspense must be the main focus of the story line.
b. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am weary of male protagonists who bed everything that moves. I read a book recently where on one page alone, the hero was mourning the death of an old girlfriend (One with whom he’d had goodby sex two weeks previously), getting ready for a romantic (sexual he was hoping) evening in his apartment with a new woman, a client in an investigation, and he was also regretting the fact that a woman he worked with and had formerly had a long time relationship with, had just refused to get back together with him because he’d had sex with the woman who’d gotten killed. It was a bit much for me, but I suppose male readers would be vicariously cheering him on.
c. Long story short, romance entwined in a mystery/suspense novel should be believable. (Unless your target reader is male.!)
d. I’d appreciate your feedback on this, but I’m thinking the final chapter should be suspense related and the story shouldn’t end with the culmination of a romance that developed within the novel.
I hope all of you had a wonderful Easter weekend.
We just survived Friday the 13th and the world is still functioning. I got some bad news on the thirteenth; a friend whose opinion I value told me my published ebook/printbook still had too many errors. This is a book that has been proofed multiple times, so it was a terrible blow, since redoing it will be costly in time and money. I’ve gotten great feedback about the story, however. Maybe those that get caught up in the story don’t notice. I’ll need to make a decision what to do about it, but meantime I’m trying to wrap up my second suspense book. The current dilemma is the ending, which inspired today’s blog.
Happy reading and writing,