Should Men Write Romance?

Should Men Write Romance?

Should men write romance? Mia Botha answers the question in this post.

When we think of romance, we automatically think books for women by women, but when you look again you will notice that it is not entirely true. Men write romance. It’s 2019 and we are still getting wrapped up in gender constructs.

The first name that popped into my head when I started thinking about male romance writers was Nicholas Sparks. He is a giant in the industry and who hasn’t swooned over his stories?

There has been an idea that men shouldn’t write female characters and women shouldn’t write male characters, but I hope that stupid idea has put your back up. It’s simply not true, but it has been a consideration by some publishers when it comes to altering perception.

Some writers have published using their initials to ‘hide’ their gender. Like J.K. Rowling, “Anticipating that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers asked that she use two initials rather than her full name. As she had no middle name, she chose K (for Kathleen) as the second initial of her pen name, from her paternal grandmother.”

The same thinking is applied for men who write romance. M. L. Buchman uses his initials and then Nora Roberts, the undisputed queen of Romance writes as J.D. Robb when she writes crime.

Some writers prefer to hide their identity entirely and write under pseudonyms like Leigh Greenwood and apparently Sylvain Reynard who seems to remain completely anonymous. (Check out how effective it is to use first person to hide gender.)

And then other writers don’t hide their identities or gender. Besides Nicholas Sparks, you can consider John Green, and James Patterson (although there can be some debate about co-authors), F Scott Fitzgerald and, of course, Shakespeare, as writers of romance.

If you love love stories you should write them. Nothing, not your gender or society or ‘supposed to’ should stop you and we can teach you how.

If you want to learn how to write a romance, sign up for our online course, This Kiss.

Read More: Explore the romance writing tag on our website for more posts: Romance Writing

 by Mia Botha (winner of the Mills and Boon Voice of Africa Competition)

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. Learn How To Write A Romance Novel
  2. Why I Write Romance
  3. Do You Have A Romance Novel In You?
  4. Writing Sex Scenes – If You’re Brave Enough To Try
  5. All About The Romance Writing Genre

This article has 2 comments

  1. Alan

    Why not? I’m a male Mexican writer focused on fantasy but as a kind of vacation from all those “flashy battles” I started to write romance. Currently one editorial accepted one of this novels from me and currently I have ideas to write 2-3 more of this style. In fact, I think this is a fun topic to write, jajajaja.

  2. Mario Saincic

    The question to ask should not be whether men should write romance, but rather why they are not deemed capable.
    I think this comes down to how the romance genre has evolved into a sexual frenzy where if you don’t have the female lead drooling or fantasizing (in graphic detail) about the alpha, and this within the opening chapters, it is not considered ‘marketable’ or something the reader would be interested in. So with this in mind, a woman (whether a bored soccer mom, retired granny or top executive) writing about sexual tension and fantasy is okay, but a man doing the same is considered perverse. To back this up, I very much doubt that if Shades of Grey was written by a man it would have had the same appeal.
    This again boils down to the definition of romance. When telling people that this is my preferred genre, the first question is always “how hot are your sex scenes?” followed by the question of why I write romance if my books do not contain these in explicit detail. Basically, I write true romance because I believe it still exists, and had a reader comment that she found it hard to believe that my story was in fact written by a man. If only agents felt the same way.

    A question to writers out there would be whether they feel a man can break into the romance genre in this day and age.

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