I don’t know, but I don’t think it can be defined as romance in that case. I mean, there is certainly interest in value in a story where you see how the people had a journey to meet one another, but doing so violates one of the basic tenets of the genre.
Me too, Karen. Also books where the h/h only know each other because they live in the same building but never talked and as soon as they exchange first names they’re going at it in bed within the first 4-5 pages of the book always stump me.
Emmy, there’s a vast expanse between the H/h not meeting for over 100 pages and doing the nasty in the first chapter. I don’t mind, personally, if it takes a few chapters for the characters to meet. But 100 pages is, on average, the length of a novella. If it takes them that long to meet, in a Romance novel, that’s a bit off.
Man-O-Man, did you call it!!! I totally freakin agree with you! I try to have a 38 page rule (I can no longer remember which book made me create that rule, but I do recall I was < 21 years old) — that if the book didn’t grab me by then — I’d give up.
I don’t know. One of the best mystery books I ever read had absolutely nothing mysterious about it for around 150 pages. Yet it turned out an unforgettable read and I’ve come across the same scenario in horror novels, too. If these genres can stretch outside the limitations of the box I see no reason Romance has to remain confined.
Hey Tuscan, well, I can definitely tell you that if you’re trying to SELL a romance to a publisher, if your chars don’t meet in the first two chapters or at least acknowledge some knowledge of each other…you ain’t selling it to an established Romance pub.
Rule of thumb is generally not to go twenty pages–without a VERY compelling reason–without the characters interacting. Excuses include plot-requirements, like an abduction where the rescue is protracted for excellent reasons. And even then, they’d better be thinking a lot about each other.
From a craft position, if you can’t keep the focus of the story on the couple together, then you’re not targeting properly. Subplots are definitely allowed, of course, but only in a secondary sense.
Mysteries have different rules, because subtlety and misdirection and evidence gathering usually has to happen in an unobtrusive way. Five bucks says the back half of that book you mention only works because of the info imparted in the first 150 pages.
I’m blanking on the name, but there is a romance by a very well-respected genre author in which the hero and heroine do not meet for some ridiculous length of time. Yet, the book has been a phenomenal success. (I think it may be something by Diana Galbadon but I could be TOTALLY wrong on that score.)
There are always exceptions. Most people can’t pull them off, however.
Nonny, If I recall correctly, I believe the hero was from another time? The heroine witnesses a murder and she goes on the run to protect some valuable artifact or scrolls or something. She undergoes an amazing transformation whilst on the run, and actually she becomes the hero and the heroine of the book.
Is that the one?
One of my fave Linda Howard books of all time, it runs a very close second to Cry No More.