Apr 27 2010
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Author Shannon Stacey and I were tweeting about a particular book that I liked and recommended: Fiona Harper’s Housekeeper’s Happy Ever After. It is a Harlequin Romance and those generally are light on the sensuality and heavy on the female point of view. It’s rare in either a Harlequin Romance or a Harlequin Presents to spend much time in the hero’s head. Shannon Stacey mentioned that she enjoys books with more scenes from the hero’s point of view.
The female point of view used to be the dominant form of narration in romance. Gothic romances in the 70s were told from the first person point of view of the heroine (how else to convince the reader that the male protagonist may actually be the villain and not the hero?).
I’m not certain when romances began to portray deep point of view from the male counterparts, but I would guess that it was sometime in the mid 90s. This is not to say that we weren’t treated to the occasional scene from the male point of view, but we wouldn’t get much internal monologue from the hero until the end of the book when the author would spend the last chapter with the hero confessing how he had always loved the heroine, had always been insanely jealous, and all the mean things he had ever done had been prompted from LOVE and love’s angry bother, JEALOUSY.
At some point, inclusion of the male point of view became de rigueur for romances, particularly the single title mass markets. In recent years, with the rise of the first person chick lit and then female urban fantasy, the requirement of readers for a male point of view has lessened, but not fully abated. Many popular series like Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books or even JD Robb’s Eve Dallas books, focus primarily on the female protagonist.
I tend to like the books with only the occasional male point of view but I know for some readers, a story without a male point of view is really lacking. Do you have a preference? Like both sides included? Prefer the dominant female voice? Don’t care? From an author’s point of view, is it harder to write from one point of view than two? Do you prefer to write stories with dueling points of view? What are the advantages or disadvantages?