||I've just been discussing romantic fiction with somebody who thinks that romantic fiction clearly portrays reality, whereas I believe it generally portrays a fantasy.
Unfortunately, this particular person feels that her own relationship isn't up to scratch because it isn't anything like those you read about in books. Sadly, I wasn't able to change her mind about this.
I really don't see most chick lit, HMB romance, or other types of romantic fiction as being anything more than modern takes on Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and all the other fairy tales were listened to as children, and certainly don't write my stories from a realistic angle. For me, romantic fiction is a way of escaping reality.
If statistics are anything to go by (and yes, I know they can be misleading), for romantic fiction to portray reality, a fair number of heroines should find themselves at the hands of a terrifying partner who seemed perfectly nice when she first met him; should have their feelings torn apart when they discover that even early on in their relationship, their chosen beau is playing away from home; should meet a man who spends his nights surfing porn sites, calling chat lines and generally being anything but the perfect partner.
Sure, the heroine may well have had those kind of experiences in her past, and the fact that she almost always (remove "almost" when talking about HMB) meets Mr Right in the story brings hope to the rest of us, but I've a feeling that if women really believe these stories portray real life they may well be in for a surprise.
Or is it just me who's too much of a sceptic?
Don't misunderstand me; I'm not sceptical to romance -- I wouldn't be interested in writing about it if I were -- but I am sceptical towards the chances of so many finding the happy ending and wouldn't like to think that there may be women out there living in perfectly good relationships but who are troubled because they aren't living the Cinderella story. Because their "happily ever after" hasn't been quite what they expected.
How much responsibility do authors have, if any? Can we be blamed for giving women the wrong impression of life or must people accept that we're simply offering them an escape from the reality of life?