What’s Love Got To Do With It?

I’ve been thinking about the genre of romance lately, especially after reading an article that the romance genre is the most popular one in the world. Maybe it’s just me, but I find myself wondering why that is. Do people lack this in their own lives? Do they crave it to the extent they need to live vicariously through fictional characters? Are they feeling nostalgic for the way things used to be, after the thrill is gone and the spark has gone out?

Along those same lines, I’ve wondered about the horror genre. Why is this so popular? Most horror novels that I’ve read aren’t really scary, just disgustingly gruesome. This is especially the case with the dreck that Stephen King produces… but that’s a rant for another time. In any case, I find most horror to be more repulsive than terrifying. If I want to read something scary, I’ll read Michael Crichton – since he did scientific research into his novels, there’s the possibility that his scenarios might come true. That alone brings a fear factor that can’t be found from some alien demon living in the sewers.

But why is horror so popular? I’m thinking that it could be for the same reasons why romance is popular. These writings elicit an emotional response in the reader. With how mundane and predictable life can be, some people crave that – anything to break the tedium and the crushing despair that comes with the realization that this is, indeed, as good as it gets.

Of course, this is just idle speculation on my part. My preferred genres tend to be fantasy, science fiction and mystery. In fact, I generally roll my eyes whenever an author has to depart on a romantic side story and patiently wait for it to end before moving on to the main attraction. But perhaps some fans of romance or horror can help me figure this out. What do you see in these genres? What draws you to them? And if you’re a writer, what do you do to bring out the emotions in your readers?

Feel free to comment here, or on my Facebook page. Let’s see if we can get a discussion going!

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