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Writing => Fiction Writing => Topic started by: MJ on September 04, 2021, 10:05:55 AM

Title: interior monologue in romance fiction
Post by: MJ on September 04, 2021, 10:05:55 AM
I've been unable to find what I'd call definitive answers to this question: why the lavish (to the point of distraction) use of interior monologue in romance fiction? We all agree that interior monologue is one of the pillars of the novel. But when an author goes on for pages and pages, or when it interrupts action (such as the moment between looking longingly at that mouth and lip-locking it) it (IMHO) becomes a distraction and an apparent device to expand WC. Yet time and again I read highly celebrated books that do just that. What's up, people? Am I overlooking a sacred cow?
Title: Re: interior monologue in romance fiction
Post by: Tabris on September 04, 2021, 04:23:06 PM
Romance novels are all about feeling. As such, they require a very deep POV and the readers expect a lot of soul-searching and a lot of exploration of those feelings. If it's not your cup of tea, that's fine, but it's an expectation of the genre.
Title: Re: interior monologue in romance fiction
Post by: MJ on September 04, 2021, 05:15:38 PM
I think I may have represented myself as someone who does not consider romance their genre. Let me be specific. I am not new to reading romance, but I am relatively new to writing it. There is a broad spectrum of approaches to romance fiction, and so my question is: to what extent is a heavy-handed approach to interior monologue an invariable constant of the genre? No one can say for sure, since individual agents will have their likes and dislikes. But what I'm looking for is anyone who can define "appropriate" versus "excessive" use of the ploy in romance. I hope I've not muddied the waters further.
Title: Re: interior monologue in romance fiction
Post by: Tabris on September 04, 2021, 07:07:59 PM
If it stops the story and gets repetitive, that's too much. The purpose of the inner monologue for getting the character to change rather than just wallowing. Once s/he is wallowing and not making any use of the monologue, it's too much.
Title: Re: interior monologue in romance fiction
Post by: AVA_writing on September 04, 2021, 10:45:41 PM
I do not disagree with Tabris and the comments about soul searching and the deep need for the emotional connection in the romance. That said, as someone who is also dabbling in the genre, I am quite surprised by the word length of a lot of the most popular romance novels out there.

Disclaimer - There is a lot on the internet about word length v. plot and what is more important. I don't want to hash that out here.

What I do want to note is that when I looked up the word count on the most popular ones recently (I mean best selling high profile releases), the average word count of romance is between 110-120K. Which actually blew my mind. I was expecting somewhere between 80-90k.

My takeaway is that from a character development perspective, the genre requires A LOT to ensure the motivations and desires are clear. Hence, the lavish interior monologues.
Title: Re: interior monologue in romance fiction
Post by: MKWrites_318 on September 05, 2021, 01:08:11 PM
I write romance. Still unpubbed, but the way I view the introspective portions of the prose is that I write it this way and someone else can write it their way. Because I started writing with fantasy, I don't like the uber long passages of introspection either. I get bored and lose focus. In my work, I have a lot of introspective sections, but they're only a few paragraphs long. A page or two, at most. They get longer toward the end, as resolution demands. Because I prefer action and dialogue, and I find it's just as easy to intersperse a character's motivations and feelings and growth through those things as it is to use meandering monologues. No one has told me that I don't have my characters do enough introspection and I don't spend less time on the feelings portions of the books than my fave romance authors, so I feel like I'm not doing anything wrong.

My conclusion is that there isn't a definitive answer. Each novel is different. Each writer's voice is different. As long as you are showing your characters' motivations, feelings, and growth, as long as the reader feels connected and can understand why they feel the way they feel, you're probably fine.
Title: Re: interior monologue in romance fiction
Post by: MaryL on September 20, 2021, 12:38:47 PM
Hi there. I am traditionally published in three different genres of romance, and I will tell you there is no definitive rule. Like you, I am not a fan of rambling interior monologues, but I will agree that it is present in many books especially in specific sub genres. I shy away from it myself and have not had any grief from agents or editors. Write what you like to read.