Gallen Books Guidelines Circa 1980
These guidelines suggest a freer, more open sexual environment than those suggested by imprints such as Silhouette Romance. This particular set of guidelines is particularly interesting for its acknowledgment of the Rape Fantasy that seems to be largely misunderstood in romance fiction. On a funnier note, it's interesting to note that the profession of matador was "already used" and presumably discouraged by the publisher, while the heroine was allowed to be a plastic surgeon...as long as she worked at a Swiss clinic.
Richard Gallen was a book packager whose romances were published by Pocket Books.
Gallen Books - Contemporary Romances
- Since she is the focus of the story, we prefer the first chapter to center on her activities. Her age ranges between 18 to 30. She is beautiful. Though not necessarily obvious to everyone, her beauty is recognized by the hero. Instinctively, she knows how to dress well, can carry off almost any fashion. She may choose to wear very casual clothes, but descriptions of pretty clothes are important.
- The heroine is a spirited, intelligent woman, often initiating the story's action rather than simply reacting to it. She must be likeable, though she may also have some personal problems. These she recognizes and eventually overcomes. Such problems should be easily recognized as things which the readers have experienced themselves, or have seen others affected by. Examples: selfishness, jealousy, sibling rivalry, difficulties with parents, stubborness, imagined figure problems, fear of handling money.
- She should have a career in a glamorous industry or want one. On-the-job problems can be integrated into the story. The author must be able to speak authoritatively on the profession so that the reader feels she is getting the inside picture.
- She need not be a virgin, though her sexual encounters with the hero are likely the best she has ever had. Tension with the hero is a must; however, relaxed and/or humorous moments are also encouraged. In the end they will decide to marry,* and their basic differences will be resolved if only to acknowledge they will always exist.
- If the heroine is interested in some other men, there should be no more than two.
- The heroine's parents may be living, but, if so, are not capable of giving her the full support she needs.
- He is older than the heroine but rot by more than 15 years. He is in a position of authority or on his way to being so. He is self-confident, strong, passionate, tender, and understanding. Naturally he is handsome; no specific type is required. His attire and body should be described. Though not currently married, he may have been in the past.
- With these the author may exercise more creativity, though they should never steal the show from the main characters.
- If there is another woman, the hero should not be fooled by her deviousness. He is too perceptive for that, but may be pretending to be as a means to a positive end.
- Other men cannot quite measure up to the hero.
- Sub-plots are needed. These should parallel, contrast, or otherwise be connected to the major plot of what happens to the heroine and hero.
The major theme is a love story between two dynamic people. The narrative moves the story forward, though there may be some flashbacks. Good plotting and character development, as well as fast paced action are all essential. Obvious padding will not be permitted.
These should be frequent, with the accent on romantic. Hopefully, the first sex will appear within the first 50 manuscript pages. If not, at least some passionate embraces. Love scenes can be dynamic or gentle. We want to see foreplay, during play, and after play. Though these scenes are explicit, euphemisims [sic] must be used, particularly when referring to below the waist. Varied positions and locales (not just the bed) are suggested.
Rape scenes are not recommended. If the author is compelled to do so, only one will be permitted with the following limitations. Between the heroine and hero, such an act should never be initiated with the violent motivation that exists in reality. A woman's fantasy is to lose control and this distinction must be kept. Should a true rape occur, it must move the story forward. Preferably the heroine is rescued in the nick of time, or it happens to another female character.
Beautiful and/or exciting places. A limited number of locations per book is requested.
All incidents and characters must be important to the overall telling of the story. Descriptions of clothing, people, body language, nature, and interiors should be included. Lengthy passages of background information should be broken up with demonstrations of character interactions. Dialect, slang, obscenities, etc. should be kept to a minimum and within character. Foreign words should be underlined and translated if not in common usage. Proper English is required.
Possible Professions for Contemporary Romance Heroines
- Computer Expert - Silicone Valley
- Auctioneer at Sotheby-Parke-Bernet type place
- Police officer
- Detective on art fraud squad
- Las Vegas card dealer
- Country & Western singer
- Disc Jockey
- Plastic surgeon (Swiss clinic)
- Fashion co-ordinator for men
- Securities broker, Wall Street
- Government service (Foreign Service, State Department, Agency for International Development, etc.)
- Real Estate
- Tennis, skiing, other sports
- Interior decorator
- Personel [sic] Agency
- Model Agency
- Radio news reporter
Professions already used
- Magazine reporter
- Marathon runner
- Artists' manager
- Cosmetics tycoon
- TV Anchor woman
- Owner of horse farm/stable
- Fashion designer
- Story editor, films
- Owner of party service business (plans and executes parties)
- Editor, publishing company
* (or some other emotionally satisfying ending)