Contrary to what a lot of people seem to think, romance readers don’t read romance because they like trashy novels. They aren’t sex-crazed bored housewives who desperately need something useful to do with their lives. I don’t know who started this stereotype, but it doesn’t play out in real life. Just like people who like horror novels aren’t secretly keeping dead bodies in their basement or performing sacrificial rituals in their backyard. But I’m not talking about horror novels. I’m talking about romances and why romances are popular.
The reason why they’re popular is because they guarantee a happy ending. You can rest assured going in that you are investing your time into characters who won’t die on you or end up unhappy. You don’t have to go to the end of the book to look at the last page wondering if everything will end up okay before you get started. You know the hero and heroine labeled in the description will end up together.
Some of you may wonder what’s the point if you already know how things will end. It’s simple. The key isn’t how the book is going to end. The key is the journey. It’s how the hero and heroine will find their happy ending. The safety net in reading a romance is knowing that no matter how bad things get for our main characters, you know everything will work out for them in the end. It’s about hope.
I think romance readers are some of the happiest and most optimistic people I’ve come across. They’re supportive and caring. They tend to be happy in their marriages, and they tend to spread happiness wherever they go. I think that’s why they enjoy romances. Romances are about giving two people a happy ending, and when those characters get that happy ending, the readers (in turn) share in that happy ending.
This all goes to the post I wrote on creating an emotionally engaging character. There is a connection between the character and the reader. The reader wants to escape into the character’s world. (The same is true for the writer.) Romances allow the reader to escape into the journey of the heart. But this doesn’t detract from the reader’s real life. I’d say it enhances it. Since most romance readers I know are happily married, they aren’t looking to put a hero into their husband’s shoes. They just want to enjoy someone else’s journey of the heart.
I don’t know how else to explain it. Since there seems to be so many people who have a hard time understanding what makes romances so popular, I’m hoping this post will help explain it. I’ve been married for fourteen years, and while my husband and I have had our ups and downs, we’re happy together. In fact, I’d say the longer we’ve been married, the better things get because we understand and accept each other (faults and all) a lot easier. So when I read romances, it’s not because I’m a bored and lonely housewife. It’s because I know how wonderful romance is and enjoy watching two characters discover this for themselves.