Is Social Networking Sucking the Life out of Romance Writing?

August 6th, 2009

From an 8/3/09 PW article:

Brenda Knight, associate publisher of Cleis Press’s Viva Editions, thinks she knows why the paranormal has become so dominant (in romance):

“In the age of social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Craigslist, there’s less fantasy. It’s increasingly easy to find and be found,” she says. “However, you can’t hook up with your demon-lover of choice via Twitter.”

I don’t think this is the only reason why paranormal is so popular* (I wrote The Mediator series way before Facebook was ever invented), but this is exactly why I hardly ever visit my Facebook page (I know…I suck).

The Mediator

It’s true I have a Facebook page, but I didn’t want to get one. It’s not that I don’t love all you guys….

It’s just that to me, as a writer, one of the most important parts of the writing process is sitting there going, “I wonder whatever happened to….

…that hot guy I randomly made out with in my dorm room that one time all those years ago…?”

And then fantasizing about what happened to him. That’s when the magic starts happening!

And with Facebook, you can totally just put his name in, and he pops up.

But for many of us writers, this sticks a pin in the delicate balloon of the creative process, and totally destroys it.

Because then you can’t sit there and use your imagination to make up an amazing story** about how that guy is now a totally hot Marine who regularly saves the lives of the men and women in the rest of his unit by taking on the most dangerous missions because he’s still all wounded (and a little suicidal) from the way you rejected him that time you blew him off to go see the Indigo Girls in concert instead of having coffee with him in the dorm snackateria.

Marine
All he can think about is you and how you chose the Indigo Girls over making out with him again.

And he still carries this crumpled up picture of you in the pocket of his bullet-proof vest, which he gazes at every night in the glow of the anti aircraft fire.

He dreams of the day he hears you’re single again, so he can come back to the US to find you….

…where he’ll stride into the dorm snackateria (where your ten year college dorm reunion is taking place) in full fatigues (still all dusty from the desert) in front of everyone and just grab you and sweep you off your feet, Officer and a Gentleman style, and carry you away to make wild passionate love to you in the castle he inherited because he’s also secretly a billionaire prince….

But no. Instead, you go on Facebook, look him up, and see that in real life, he’s married with four kids, works as a dentist in Pasadena, and enjoys playing Bunco on the weekend.

UGH!

This is why Facebook sucks. Now you can’t write that novel about the hot Marine billionaire prince because all you can think about is dentists who play Bunco.

And all you can do to get that image out of your head is watch Intervention for 36 hours.

Or write some book about vampires or succubi or whatever, because you CAN’T look THEM up on Facebook.

I rest my case.

*While I think Brenda’s assessment is partly right, I also think the rise in popularity of paranormal romance has to do with vampires’ limitless wealth. This genre resurges in popularity whenever there’s a recession. Who wouldn’t want a rich immortal boyfriend who is totally smitten with you when there are no jobs to be had?

Although if we have learned anything from the Real Housewives, it is that it is better to have a job oneself than to be dependent on Counts or Big Poppas for one’s income. Even undead counts and big poppas!

More later.

Much love,

Meg

**I totally admit this story is not amazing, but work with me.