Clean Romances discussion

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

A three prong question:

1. What do you consider 'fluffy, light and escapist' in a romance (list specific books please) and what is 'deep'.

2. Which do you prefer?

3. Do you like a books that hits the ground running in chapter 1 or do you prefer a slow starting, slow building book and does the book being 'fluffy' or 'deep' influence your preference?


message 2: by Emilia (new)

Emilia Barnes | 16 comments 1) Something fluffy, light and escapist generally always has the following characteristics: it has a HEA, it contains a lot of humorous situations, no 'heavy' topics are examined or delved into very deeply if they are there at all, it contains at least one but often several comically absurd characters, and the generally positive tone of it is what makes it escapist since life is not like that. When I think of an ideal book of that category I think of Georgette Heyer books, in particular ones like Cotillion.

Deep books are generally about more than just the story they tell. They evoke themes, people are more than just themselves - they represent things. A HEA is not necessary and generally not the point of the work. It is there if it serves the point the author was making. For example: Anna Karenina.

2) It really depends how the mood strikes me. In my lowest moments I tend to go for authors like Heyer. It's there to make you laugh and forget your worries and, well, escape a little from reality.

3) I like it when the author sets the scene. I don't like it when everything gets going at once, since I need to care about the people I am supposed to read about, light and fluffy or no. It is possible for things to be too light and fluffy. For me, for example, Julia Quinn books are like that. Funny, yes, but too light on research and generally escaping any sort of sense of time and place, and no real drama is build up, no action has any weight, there are no rules and consequences are only ever followed through if it is convenient for her plot (in fact, the only time any behavioural breach has a consequence in her novels is when the hero and heroine succumb to their passions and have to marry).


message 3: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 146 comments I second basically everything Emily says! Though I might not feel we had to go as far as Anna Karenina to get to “deep.”

(1) To contrast light-and-fluffy with deep in a different genre, I’d go with Elizabeth Peters’s Egyptian novels (Crocodile on the Sandbank and so on) versus Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax series (starting with The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax. Peters’s books are (at least until several books into the series) about surface challenges, vivid characters, wacky situations. Gilman’s books are very funny, but she starts out with Mrs. Pollifax having an existential crisis and contemplating suicide. It’s lightly handled, but it places her death-defying antics later in the book in a deeper context. Gilman brings the wacky, but we also feel the characters’ pain and need for attachment and meaning in their lives. They seem like rounded human beings.

(2) I tend to prefer deep (by this definition) nearly always, especially if leavened by humor and vivid characterization. It’s rare that I want to read something that stays on the surface, no matter how funny. Maybe Jeeves and Wooster stories would be an exception, but the level of art has to be pretty high. I need to feel a connection with the heart of a character.

(3) People today seem to expect books to hit the ground running, and are very impatient with a slower opening. In a book written more than a hundred years ago they might tolerate it. This makes me sad, as I quite enjoy the discursive, philosophical openings of some classic books. Just too hard to get away with nowadays, sadly. I tend to compromise by opening with a grabby scene and then backing up to give a taste of the themes and ideas. I’d say this requirement applies equally to fluffy and deep books.

Interesting questions!


message 4: by Lynne (last edited Aug 13, 2015 12:45PM) (new)

Lynne Stringer | 170 comments I think there's a place for both types of books. I enjoy some books that are just light and fluffy, where you know as soon as you start to read it pretty much what's going to happen. As long as they are well written and I like the characters, I don't mind that kind of book.
I like the other kind as well, where things aren't as clear cut and there's more richness in the story and the characters, not to mention a few plot twists.
I also like books that are intense from the start and ones that build slowly (so long as it's not too slow). I think there's an audience for all these types of books and it would depend on personal preference what different people enjoyed.


message 5: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) 1. What do you consider 'fluffy, light and escapist' in a romance (list specific books please) and what is 'deep'.
'fluffy, light and escapist' is where the whole plot is centered around the romance, nothing particularly bad or exciting happens, but it’s a feel good HEA. The plot is generally something like; they meet, they get to know each other, they have a misunderstanding, they get back together.
‘deep’ would be a plot where circumstances happen that make the characters develop, change, grow… not necessarily horrible or devastating but something that makes them (and the readers) really think about a situation etc.

2. Which do you prefer?
It depends on my mood but I’d say something in the middle. I like some form of adventure and excitement when you feel the characters are really getting to know each other, developing together and becoming better for it… rather than simply a love at first sight situation. However if I am having a bad day, a feel good novel might be all I’m interested in.

3. Do you like a books that hits the ground running in chapter 1 or do you prefer a slow starting, slow building book and does the book being 'fluffy' or 'deep' influence your preference?
I like both… no I don’t think the type of book influences it as much as the writing style. There has to be something to capture the reader’s attention.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you for your comments! Very interesting, most informative.


message 7: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 31 comments 1. I would say that fluffy, light and escapist are the romances that focus on the positive, uplifting aspects of love and relationships, they often tend to dwell more on the "new phase" when all is still thrills and butterflies, but generally have a greater focus on the exciting parts.
"Deep" concerns itself more with the question of what makes a relationship work and stand the test of time, or fail and wither, often in context of how society and or upbringing may influence our expectations of and how we lead our relationships. Also deep is more prone to highlight the dull and difficult phases.
For fluffy Gail Carriger's Paranormal Romance Series would come to mind: Soulless.
For deep: Egenmäktigt förfarande: En roman om kärlek, which is not a Romance by genre definition I guess.

2. Usually fluffy, life is deep enough of its own. :D

3. Depends on the story I'd say, but if it is about a building relationship I guess there'd be small point in hitting the ground running.


message 8: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie McCune (bonniemccune) | 35 comments 1. I don't like to separate between light and deep. I read many books that are able to convey lots of thinking material while still containing humor. Some of the books mentioned aren't really romances as we define them nowadays. But I'd say Wendy French and Jennifer Weiner are on the light side, while Barbara O'Neal and Nick Hornby fall on the more intense side.
2. I greatly prefer books with substance and many aspects to them. Even in my scifi/dystopian reading.
3. I'm still trying to decide in my own writing whether to hit the ground or go slow. Every time I pick up a book that I like, I go back and read the beginning to see which usually holds more appeal. I can't tell. However, excellent writing in and of itself makes a major difference.


message 9: by Louise Sparrow (new)

Louise Sparrow (louisex) Bonnie wrote: "2. I greatly prefer books with substance and many aspects to them. Even in my scifi/dystopian reading...."

I find that interesting Bonnie, and I think it highlights the differences we have in perception. You said you like books of substance, even in your sci-fi... in my experience sci-fi has far more substance and is far deeper in it's concepts than romance.


message 10: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie McCune (bonniemccune) | 35 comments Actually I agree with you. Sci-fi deals with issues more than romances. However, since romances are a huge part of the market, guess I would generalize that the writing style in romances can be better.


message 11: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee I agree with all of these different viewpoints. That's why I like these forums, the variety of viewpoints you can learn from.

I don't have any specific books in mind, and it never occurred to me if I like a book that starts quick or slow. But to me, if the writing is such that it holds me to page after page, then I don't care if it starts off slow or hits the ground running. I love mostly all types of books as long as the writing is good.


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