The Four “E’s
The title comes from a workshop I took years ago with a woman I call my mentor, a wonderful instructor named Jo Ann Ferguson. Jo Ann is one of the most kind and supportive fellow writers I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
Perhaps the most critical thing(s) I gleaned from her information laden classes was a discussion of why and what we write as romance writers. Hence my discussion of the four “Es.”
Perhaps the simplest and most obvious of these is our desire, perhaps our need to Entertain. For without this simple trait even the most brilliant intellectual treatise would fall short. Whether a 600 page historical or a 25K word novella, first and foremost our duty is to take out readers to a place of enjoyment!
Next, I believe our task is to Educate those who pick up our work. And never misinterpret me, by educate I do not mean a dry, dusty list of facts. My debut novel while (hopefully) entertaining involved more than two years of consultation and study about witchcraft, America in the period after WWII and juicy tidbits that I hoped would entice and help my readers to understand the dynamics of the post war burgeoning cold war environment.
Aaah… and now e come to my two favorites. A recent USA Today poll stated that the vast majority of readers… certainly romance readers read to Escape! Yes, that’s correct, to escape. To find new worlds, horizons, heroes, heroines and villains that they could only conjure up in their imaginations. And no, escape does not necessarily imply a Fabio style hero or voluptuous Kate Upton heroine. It can be a simple as travelling to somewhere with someone that is outside our current reality!
But now, for romance readers and writers comes the biggest “E” of all. The one we all long for…. Emotion. Jo Ann taught me this many years ago and it’s one I can readily identify with it. Even if several of the other “E”s are absent what keeps us reading… coming back for more and keeps romance writing as the top seller in fiction by leaps and bounds is emotion.
And that emotion need not be between simply between a man and a woman… though that’s a pleasant equation. Much as Rhett and Scarlett or Bella and Edward can bring our blood to a boil, lest we forget Richard Llewellyn’s heart wrenching How Green was my Valley?
So I leave you budding romantics with this thought. Impart sincere, genuine, open emotion to your stories and characters, be they passionate lovers or fathers and sons and you will thrill and entertain your audiences!
Kevin V. Symmons
Author of Rite of Passage & Out Of The Storm
RonCom 2013 Finalist and from the
Award-winning Wild Rose Press