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Jane’s List of Things She’d Like to See in 2012 from...

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Maili suggested I do a prediction of the 2012 romance genre, but those books have already been bought, mostly.  Here’s what I would like to see:

  1. More diversity, not just in the characters, but in the settings.
  2. I’m iffy on wanting more steampunk. Too many people slap an iron bustle in a book and throw in a few mechanical devices and an airship and think that is a steampunk but a steam powered manufacturing creates an entirely different societal construction with political, class and gender differences.  Successful steampunk books recognize this but I don’t see too much of it.  I’d much rather see more fantasy romance ala Elizabeth Vaughn’s Warlord series or CJ Wilson.
  3. Longer narrative books.  I am very tired, particularly in erotic romance, of reading 15K, 25K, 40K word stories. I want in depth romance and sexy times with exploration of the internal machinations of the characters and not just insta lust followed by a dozen of club scenes. ENOUGH WITH THE CLUB SCENES.
  4. Straight up contemporaries.  I’ve been asking for this for a long time but I want to see more straight up contemporaries with no attendant mystery or suspense plot line.  With Harlequin Superromances moving to 85,000 words, one might think my contemporary jones would be satisfied but there is a stunning lack of sexual tension in the HSR line except for a few authors.  These are adults who are supposed to be attracted to each other, not siblings.
  5. More courtship.  I am not sure whether it is paranormals and the fated mates that have led to the slow devolution of the courtship, but whatever is the reason, we need to put a stop to it. I love the courtship. Dating is so rife with opportunity and conflict.  Where is the slow build of attraction?  One of the reasons I think Jenny Crusie’s books are so entertaining because many of the stories are about the courtship and I think you can still have plenty of sexy times and have courtship.  See, e.g., Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun. I also think courtship, the drawn out tension, the will they or won’t they get together is one of the reasons adults read YA.
  6. Creativity in worldbuilding.  I think people are looking at steampunk because it is new and shiny and creative and it’s not just one lonely demon/angel/vampire/werewolf who searches for his mate so he can a) not go mad and b) settle down to knit booties in his spare time.
  7. Less series books.  I don’t mind if a couple shows up in a later book, kind of like an easter egg, but I am tired of every book out there being a series.  I would like the occasional stand alone book now and again so that when I start to read an author I don’t have to read 9 books to get a sense of what book 10 is going to be about.
  8. Fewer cliffhangers.  This is more of a paranormal thing, but can’t anyone write a UF or PNR or YA Dystopian book without a friggin’ cliffhanger?  Tell the story in one book, please. Just sometimes? Like 1/34 of the time.  *cries*
  9. Not everything has to be serious business.  I know that humor is hard to write because everyone has their own definition of what is funny (I’m not a fan of slapstick or physical humor) but leavening a little emo agnsty tragedy with humor is a good thing.
  10. More middle-class characters in the Victorian period. Not everyone needs to be a Lord or Lady.  Landed gentry and wealthy merchants can still provide all the trappings of the historical such as the pretty dresses and the parties. I think that we are all tired of the ghastly Almack’s lemonade scenes.

And just because I want the above doesn’t mean I want to eliminate what people are doing well these days. I just want more variety, more choice.  Why write the thing that everyone else and their cousin is writing?  (I know, to sell, but still).  What about the rest of you?  What do you want to see in 2012 and beyond?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

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