Thursday, January 18, 2007

Basic Skills needed by all Literate Romance Readers

Basic Skills (considered as a pre-requisite for all additional reading)
Having read (at some point in your reading life) a Gothic romance, what are the critical values?

How did the Gothic inform the modern romance (non-formulaic version)?

When did sex get good in the romance field?


Katidid said...

I could never expand on the values, traits, and, yes, even the drawbacks of the gothic genre as well as Jane Austen did in Northanger Abbey, so I won't try.

I am interested, however, in what 'good sex' means. By good, do you mean explicit? Jaid Black probably kickstarted that. Or good 'not quasi-rape but it's okay because she really wanted it deep down inside'? We have the 80s SNAG to thank for that - but he didn't last. Or, by 'good', do you mean 'a woman enjoying herself and her sexuality without fear of recrimination'? Because there's a cogent argument that we still haven't reached that level...

Kate R said...

re: sex got better
when that book Romance Writer Phrase Book was no longer considered a real tool for R Writers. Euphemisms be damned!

hey, how come you don't let people be anonymous when you're anonymous? (The only reason I care is I'm nosy. Robin? That you?)

Kate R said...

and actually tension is pretty good in some of those Georgette Heyers so really, tension has been fine for years, and that's the best part.

The Dean said...

From The Dean's Desk:
Ahh excellent--education is wonderful for many reasons not the least of which is a thoughtful discussion. The Dean, dear katidid, was thinking more along the lines of Lady Chatterley's Lover. But I like that you thought of Jade Black. But reach further back into the historical romances.

The Dean

The Dean said...

From the Dean's Desk:
My dear Kate,
A graduate education always assets itself.
Yes Lady Heyer went a step beyond dear virginal Jane but think more along the lines of Roberta Gellis. The historical took a big step up with Bond of Blood. Roberta told The Dean many years ago that she did not consider herself a romance writer (The Dean shall positively need to recall and blog about that interview--it was the first time she had gone to a RWA conference), but she did advance women's sexual freedom in the most matter of fact manner. (Bond of Blood was written first so is cited first although Knight's Honor was published first).

The Dean

Colleen Gleason said...

I just had to comment on your Required Reading list!

You've cited my two all-time favorite (contemporary) authors (two for two!): Peters/Michaels and Gellis and her Roselynde Chronicles!

I am just delighted--because in the romance world, Gellis and Peters/Michaels are rarely talked about and I adore both of them.

I'll be back (came here by way of SBTB).

Oh, and in relation to the thread going on over at SBTB about subtlety in romance novels (or not), I consider Peters/Michaels a master at subtlety in her romances--in both the Peabody series and also in my favorite, the Vicky Bliss books.

So much so that I've tried to emulate some of that subtlety in my books...anyway...I digress.

As I said, interesting site and I'll be back.

Colleen Gleason said...

Side note: I just bought Bond of Blood from a UBS to re-read it--it's been decades (eep!) since I have.

Would love to see that interview posted. Honestly, Gellis is the one author that I've seen at RWA that I've totally done the fangurl thing. Love her.

The Dean said...

From The Dean's Desk:

My very dear Colleen,
So gratifying to advance the educated discussion with discerning readers. For you particularly The Dean will pull her research notes from the Gellis interview (she is such a nice person) and get that up for you.

The Dean agrees completely with you regarding RG. The Dean adores
Roberta and admires her ability to jump genres. Her fantasy/paranormal retelling of the Greek Myths (it doesn't get much more classical than that) were just superior. And to think that Gellis started out, as did MPM, with Gothics when those were all the rage (see also Mary Stewart and Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt--those are some powerful women). Roberta told The Dean that she was quite proud of her Gothic. Quite a few of our more contemporary wroters, Anne Stuart, springs to mind, paid their dues in the Gothic genre as well.

It is also an astute observation on your part that MPM is a Mistress of the Art in terms of subtlety. The Dean remembers with great clarity teaching an advanced class in writing and using one scene from one of the Peabody books to illustrate foreshadowing and how to depict the art of allowing the reader to see what the narrator does not. The scene had Peabody taking tea with a minor character and looking all around the room suspecting other ladies and gentlemen of being the Master Criminal. The reader is very aware that her companion is in fact none other than the MC, but Peabody is alas completely unaware and drinks the doctored tea. Now that is really good writing! The Dean becomes emotional at the recollection. It was also that class, if memory suffices, in which The Dean taught personification using Ann Stuart's Housebound. Ahh the halcyon days before the demands of Deanship!

The Dean

Colleen Gleason said...


O Madam (Master?) are my hero.

And I cannot wait for the Gellis notes.

Is the Gellis gothic you speak of "A Woman's Estate"? Otherwise, I'm not sure which one you mean...but I must know so I can dash out and get it!

I could talk Michaels/Peters and Gellis all day.

Maybe you ought to create a blog just for them?

The Dean said...

My very dear Colleen,
The Dean thanks you for your erudite comments.

The text to which Roberta referred was Sing Witch. Sing Death--now there is a really difficult text to find. The Dean too could chat on about the Mistresses who are our collective Heroines, but then The Dean would take time away from the search for the Gellis interview notes.

From The Dean's Desk