Have we lost the romance?

Today's author/reader question: How do you feel about characters that meet on page 1 and have sex by page 5?


I didn't pull this question out of the blue. I've been reading copious amounts of urban paranormal fantasies since this is what I like to write. Some are adventures with a touch of romance while others use adventure to further the main romantic plot. I prefer the former, but that's just my opinion. Either way, I've noticed that the heat levels vary greatly in this genre. Some heroes and heroines fight the burgeoning romance until Book III. Others meet on page one and have sex on page 5 (and then again on page 16, page 28, 42, etc).


And while I'm all for a good sex scene in a fantasy novel (in fact, much of my dark fiction is not PG rated), I'm not sure how I feel about all this sex in my reading. Okay, that's a lie. It actually bores me. I've stopped reading books (which a rarely do) because of this. When the characters fall into bed right away, I feel cheated out of a good story. Where's the romance? The sexual tension? The flirtation? Entire series have been dedicated to this flirtatious build-up (the 80's hit "Moonlighting" comes to mind, but then I'm dating myself).


Are we doing a disservice to romance by bringing in too much sex too soon? As a reader, what are your feelings about this? As an author, have you had editors send back manuscripts asking you to sex them up? What does this say about the trends for romance and all its sub-genres?

If Kim McDougall could have one magical superpower, it would be to talk to animals. Or maybe to shift into animal form. Definitely, fantastical creatures and magic often feature in her urban fantasy stories. So until she can change into a griffin and fly away, she writes dark paranormal suspense and romance tales full of witches, demons, werewolves, vampires, yetis and maybe even a gargoyle or two.

Kim McDougall is the author of the Hidden Coven series and Revise to Write, Edit Your Novel, Get Published and Become a Better Writer She is also a publishing coach and book designer at Castelane, For the Prose.

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