As a romance author, I’m always searching for ways to improve my writing and write a better story. Many people believe the romance novel is simple and easy to write, but the more I study the genre, the more I realize how complex it is.
As a major geek, I love to examine all aspects of writing. My favorite site is Wikipedia. Though the information they provide can be brief and sometimes contradictory, I find it’s a great place to start. Often times, the articles are heavily sited so there are plenty of options to link to other information.
The Romance Novel
As I was wondering about the romance novel and its origins, yes, I’m that geeky, I had thought that it had begun with Jane Austen, but its beginning precedes that gifted author, though Pride and Prejudice has been declared by many as the most perfect romance novel, and perhaps novel, ever written.
Ancient Greek Romance Novels
But the romance novel dates back to the ancient Greeks. Twenty titles are known, though most have not survived to present day and what remains are incomplete; however, five ancient Greek novels have survived to present day. An eighteenth-century novel that resembles modern-day romance novels to a certain extent is Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson (1741). This novel is unique for the time period because it is told from the heroine’s point of view and has a happy ending. Through my reading, I’ve discovered that many novels written during that time period did not have happy endings.
18th Century Romance Novel
By today’s standards, the plot of this novel would make the modern reader roll her eyes. The main character, Pamela, if fifteen years old and works for the mistress of the estate until the mistress dies. The mistress’ son shows interest in Pamela that would defy the #MeToo movement. He tries to seduce, or rape may be the appropriate term here, her. He spies on her when she undresses, intercepts her letters to her parents when she wants to leave the estate and lies to Pamela’s parents about her relationship with a clergyman. Because she resists him and maintains her virtue, he rewards her with a marriage proposal.
If Mr. Richardson were writing today, he wouldn’t have a writing career by today’s standards, but at the time, this novel became one of the 1st bestsellers. This novel was one of the 1st novels to introduce the rape fantasy.
As I read more about the romance novel, I’ll share other interesting information. In the meantime, I hope and you and your family have a wonderful and blessed week.