She didn't say it. I did. Because it's true, not because it's bad. Let me explain.
We discussed how main characters still have to fit the same basic roles of prince and princess, with the cool ride as noble steed and the ex as the villain. The basics are there, and that's okay.
Problem is we're all so used to people having a sneer in their voice when they say "romance stories are basically fairy tales for grown ass women" that it gets our hackles up. And then those same people go on to bitch about how romances are too formulaic for them to bother with so they read ________ (really, you can fill in the blank here with any genre of fiction and the argument I'm about to give remains).
Guess what, boys and girls, all fiction is formulaic within a genre. I'm going to go with mystery because it's the easiest example:
- Intro: crime scene (but maybe not THE) crime scene--serves to either intro the mystery and/or the main character (often but not always an underling detective or a retired one of some sort)
- Refusal: Hero(ine) either tries to step away from the case or is forced away form someone higher up.
- Call to arms: Criminal hits too close to home, hurting someone the hero(ine) cares about, that makes them insist on being on the case (with or without that higher up's approval)
- Clues: Pretty much act 2 is all about seeding clues and playing cat and mouse with the bad guy.
And really, I'm bored now. The point is mysteries follow the same basic formula of
Bad guy does something, good guy chases bad, almost loses him, and catches him in the end.Let's compare that to romance, shall we (heteronormative for ease of writing only):
Boy meets girl, they chase each other, they almost lose each other, but catch each other in the end.Yep. Not so different. Yes, subplots. Yes, backstory. Yes, all those things that make each book unique--but that is true in any genre. Here's the dealio--people like formula, even if they flavor it with bourbon. We all want to sit back with our bottle full of formula and snack on it--because it's comforting. Like having a nipple in your mouth.
So, they naysayers shall say nay, but romance readers need to stand tall and proclaim their love of fairy tales. After all…
And no matter what our genre of choice, don't we all have dragons we'd like to slay?