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Why’d You Have to Go There?

Has it ever happened where you’re happily reading a good book, and BAM! Suddenly you’re not safe anymore. A dreaded political statement has been inserted into the prose, taking you out of a perfectly good piece of fiction.

Most fiction, but particularly romance novels, serve as a fantasy. We want to be that woman who gets swept off her feet by that perfect alpha male (or beta, I’m not judging). By inserting politics, you’ve added a cold splash of reality into the fantasy – even if your reader agrees with your viewpoint.

As a reader, it turns me off. I read a well-written, very funny romance novel a couple months ago, but was taken out of the story at four different points when the author felt the need to make her character spout her political views. I still haven’t decided whether I’ll buy another book from that author.

As a writer, I understand that we want to make our characters as fully-fleshed out as possible, and that might mean giving them opinions on politics. But do you have to hammer the reader over the head with it? It also seems like an odd business decision (and, yes, writing is a business) of potentially alienating half of your reading population with your views.

There is a time and place for everything. I love debating politics with friends, family, and the local barista as much as anyone else, especially during this crazy election season. But come on people. Can’t we at least make our romance novels politics-free zones?



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