|As noted here, I’m commenting daily on the WMG Holiday Spectacular—which is a great project that releases a story every day. These might be reviews. Or not. They might be interesting. Or … um … not. They will be fun, though. For me, at least.|
Here’s the next story.
Carolyn Ivy Stein
Today I’m thinking about genre and in particular romance, because “Stolen Kisses” is a contemporary romance, set in high society and woven through high-end department stores and art museums and all the trappings such things should entail. It hits all the relationship beats built around a series of…um…stealthy events. Befitting the title there are thieves afoot and it might be a good idea to keep your gaze on the lookout because you never know just where you’re going to find one. But the point isn’t so much who is stealing what as it is who will end up where.
If I had come upon this story, say ten years ago its charms would have gone way, way over my head. This is because I was quite the bonehead—an oblivious and dare I even say prejudiced reader when it came to romance. This is to say I am a male of a certain age who needed a different kind of content sprinkled into my romance. Say, a football player. Or better yet, a car. Herbie the Love Bug is a romance, you know. Kind of.
There’s no car in “Stolen Kisses,” but I get it now.
That’s a benefit from attending all those many Anthology workshops, really. I’ve been exposed to so many more genres than I would normally read. Sometimes that exposure has been more combustible than others (my public discussion/rant regarding a very good but—to me—outlandish military/combat romance, for one example, is perhaps one for the ages. Or maybe one better left for other moments when my daughter’s cheeks will grow less rosily embarrassed). Sometimes the exposure is more cerebral, though. Sometimes I’m simply learning.
Anyway, having now read what must be a couple hundred short romances and having heard feedback on what makes a good one, I can see the game. I get the structure. I get the tropes.
Understanding genre is good for a writer because to understand genre is to understand readers.
As I’m sitting in the afterglow of “Stolen Kisses” I’m tempted to suggest what the world needs now is more readers willing to understand genres outside their own zones. A reader who understands an alternate genre can, just maybe, better understand the people who love that genre. It seems to me that the world could use a good dose of understanding each other about now.
Maybe I’m going too far about one little romance short story. But you know how it goes. There’s Happily Ever After, and there’s Happily Ever After, For Now. Never underestimate the power of a stolen kiss.