Message from the President

April 2022 RWR
Clair Brett
“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world.” – Robert McKee

The experience of sitting at your keyboard desperately pounding out our latest story and having that moment when we think, does my story really matter? What’s the point? Have you had it? No? Just me then? I am sure this thought is, in fact, universal in all writers and storytellers. And I am here to say that your story matters, because you are unique, one of a kind, and only your life experiences, teachings, and values can bring the story to life in your way. Another author could take the same character, plot line, or romance thread and write a vastly different story.

Storytelling has been the way cultures carry along their history for centuries, and it is also how people bring change into the world in times of great upheaval. In every era, you can find examples of stories that changed the narrative or brought a new perspective to conversations.

The romance genre as we know it today came during a time when women were learning about their power and romance novels helped to put the idea out there that it was okay for women to be interested in sensuality and taking control of their own sexual narrative. It also introduced heroines who beat the odds to find their own happiness. All during a time when, though women had gained strides in women’s rights, there was still a long way to go.

Stories give a perspective, which often was a predominantly male perspective, and romance pushed back on the idea that women’s voices didn’t matter. The romance genre didn’t just push back, it kept pushing and banging and making noise that was uncomfortable to many, until it became the highest-grossing commercial fiction genre to date.

As a romance author and a believer in social change and justice, it makes me proud to be part of such a trailblazing industry filled with brave authors who write their stories among the sometimes-harsh ridicule of those being forced to step aside and give voice to this world.

It has always confused me as to why our society acclaims the horror genre, or even action adventure, as appropriate reading or viewing, but shuns the often emotionally deep, real stories of love and acceptance that is romance. As a society, we seem fine with gore and anger coming into our homes and infiltrating our hearts and minds, but love and the themes ones explores are considered dramatic, hysterical, and too messy to ponder.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss an episode of The Walking Dead or the latest Stephen King novel, but my romantic heart is always drawn to the characters or the love story. Often, there is a love story weaved into the plot, and I am left with a full experience because of that tiny subplot every time.

And though it may feel like romance and happily ever afters are not gaining ground, when we step back and look at the numbers, even our harshest critics can’t argue we are the genre to compete with in the marketplace.

So, whatever you do, when you hit that point in your current work in progress where you start to wonder if any of it really matters, don’t stop writing. Keep going because your story, from your point of view, is important to someone, and they want to see themselves and their own experiences reflected back at them. Your book may be the one that does that.

All the Best,
Clair Brett