Should you write a romance bestseller?

Have you been tempted to write a romance bestseller lately? The other day, I was chatting to an author about how speculative fiction is such a hard-sell in India. (It’s the usual conversation between science fiction writers. There’s a handful of passionate us, and a handful of equally passionate readers. The others, don’t really care if it’s not mythology.) Immediately, I get a WMA (well-meaning advice):

“Write romance. It sells like hot cakes in winters.”

Umm. Frankly, all Indian writers, be it of any genre or creed, have thought about romance once in a while. After all, it’s the most selling genre in our country. I did seriously consider it for a second. I did!

And then I remembered, that the last romance I read and appreciated was between the Oankali, alien genetic engineers who  touches DNA in humans to have sex and a woman named Lilith. Author Octavia Butler‘s Lilith Brood gave me as many goosebumps as decades ago Sharukh Khan’s ‘palat’ in the movie Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge had done. And  I don’t read much romance myself, unless it has alien spit or monster claws involved. So I turned my eyes away from the temptation of writing that romance bestseller we all think we can write and decided to plod along on the current science fiction mess I’m in the middle of.

Should you write a romance bestseller?

Which is why when I came across this witty sketch by author Sarah Maclean over Twitter, I had to share it on my site. Sarah is a period romance writer based in New York. The flowchart tells you how to decide on whether you should write a romance novel or not. As I read it, I was ‘out’ in the first step itself. If you’re considering writing romance like me, due to a WMA given by another or by yourself, do read and go through this flowchart. You’ll figure out the truth, I promise!

Have you ever considered changing your genre and writing something else that is selling well nowadays, like mythology or romance? Do tell me the truth!

Message across the e-ocean

The nerdiest romantic proposals of all time—any geeks out there who can top these this Valentine’s, do write in

In April, Aayush Jain, 27, an engineer, proposed to Ambika Bumb while dancing in a flash mob to Bhangra tunes at Pier 39, San Francisco, US. Called the “Bollywood-Bhangra Flash Mob Proposal”, the video of his proposal on YouTube had garnered 161,352 hits by Tuesday and has made the couple online stars. A delighted Bumb was surprised by the effort her boyfriend had put into the proposal. “He even involved my brother, sister and friends through a secret Facebook group, which made the whole thing 10 times better,” she said. What surprised the couple was the buzz it created online.

Love 2.0: These geek proposals redefine romance.

For a generation which lives on the Internet and BBMs on mobile phones, proposals with sunsets in the backdrop are passé. Take the example of Greg Rewis, who was the first one to tweet a marriage proposal to Stephanie Sullivan, in March 2008. All he did was put in four words, “Will you marry me”, as part of a conversation he was already having with Sullivan.. Her reply: “…I’d be happy to spend the rest of my geek life with you…”. Home-made videos, lolcats, iPhone apps, virtual reality games, Google Maps or Foursquare—people are finding tech tweaks to make their proposals stand out. Here are a few of our favourites.

Stream it live

What’s a happy event if none of your family members are there with you? Matt Van Horn, who works for a tech start-up called Path, appreciated the value of family and friends. So in August 2010 he used Qik, a live-streaming mobile service, to propose to his girlfriend, Lauren. He arranged for a friend to take his girlfriend to the top of a hill in San Francisco where he was hiding behind a rock. Yet another friend used his iPhone to live-stream the proposal through Qik. “It took me a week’s planning to do this. I added last-minute touches on the day of the proposal,” said Van Horn via email. Family and friends had been alerted half an hour earlier to keep a lookout on his Qik channel. As soon as he saw Lauren, he checked into the spot via Foursquare, which auto-updated his Qik, Twitter and Facebook accounts. “I knew Lauren received my tweets via text message on her phone,” he wrote on his blog, “so I asked her to turn around as I proposed!” Meanwhile, his girlfriend, who didn’t even know her boyfriend was in town, was delighted and surprised when she saw him pop up from behind the rock with a smaller but very important rock in his palm. They are now happily married. “I am extremely happy with the way it turned out. I love doing things for my wife, so there will be plenty more surprises for her in future,” he said in an email interview.

See it online


In 2009, Bryan Haggerty, 30, a San Francisco-based designer for Twitter, created an app to propose to his partner Jeannie Choe on her iPhone. “I design mobile apps for a living so I decided to take this way,” said Haggerty in an email interview. “I finally designed the app as a mobile Web app so that she would receive a text message from me with the link to launch it.” The app, called Romantech, displayed a map containing location points throughout San Francisco. Each point had a video in which Haggerty gave clues on where to go next. Eventually the two met at a point where all the location dots on the map connected to form the shape of a heart (<3) symbol which had a lot of sentimental value for the techie couple. “The app was one time only use, tailored specifically to one person,” Haggerty explained over email. For romantics, Choe said yes. The couple is now happily married, with a four-month-old daughter, Euna.

See it online

A new kind of bottle

A staunch believer in the idea of a message in a bottle, KC’s boyfriend John, a Web developer, created an online website to propose to KC in July 2006. The website ( had an online quiz to check if the person who replied was the real KC. It took KC until June 2009 to reply and say “yes”. Why?


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Venice and romance? Bleh!

Sorry for being such a party pooper for romantics (I consider myself one, btw. It must be society of cynics getting to me). Let me start this blog by copy-pasting a quick Google search I did on Venice.

‘Venice is probably the most romantic city in the world; its unique watery landscape gives the city a magical quality that is irresistible…’

‘The romantic city of water, that is how Venice is known to the masses. Who visits Italy, has to see Venice as well’


‘Why is Venice Italy a romantic city?’ on without any answers to it.

And finally, my favourite, from a tabloid The Sun,

‘The singer took a romantic gondola ride with pretty LUSIANA LOPILATO (famous chick in Brit) in Venice, but the stirring sights of the city failed to provoke even the slightest smile. At one point he even looked like he couldn’t wait to get off the watery ride as he rested his head on his hands.’ This accompanied a photo of the a grumpy looking singer.

I like what Sun said. Rather I understand what the Sun said. What is so romantic about the city after all? Why does the whole world keep on gushing about it? Don’t get me wrong, I loved the get-lost-in tiny lanes over canals that Venice is. Venice, I am sorry to say, looks good just in photos (as proof find here the pictures I clicked). It stinks for one. It’s a dead town full of three hundred year old buildings and romantics with gooey eyes.


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