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Thread by @jen_hallock: "The presentation of @minavesguerra and @BookThingo about and English-language romance in the Philippines is about to […]" #IASPR18 #romanceclass #AprilFeelsDay2018

, 25 tweets, 13 min read
The #IASPR18 presentation of @minavesguerra and @BookThingo about #romanceclass and English-language romance in the Philippines is about to start. I will be live-tweeting it as best I can in this thread. Kat will be asking Mina questions...and there will be videos!
Kat is explaining why she felt #romanceclass should be represented at this conference: "a unique and relevant case study...with the pioneer of #romanceclass" that should launch inquiry into the achievements of this group #IASPR18
Showed a clip from #AprilFeelsDay2018 (readings, sales, fan art, & more!) and now Kat is handing it over to @minavesguerra to define the wide scope of #romanceclass and the rules it operates under in PH, including lack of divorce, English as language of privilege, and Manila-set.
(Many are Manila-set, but not all. Also not all characters are Filipino, but many are.)
Mina is talking about her background as a romance reader and her timeline as an author, both traditionally and independently published. She talks about experimenting with trends but keeps coming back to contemporary romance in English because it is important to her. #IASPR18
Mina is showing a map of readers of #romanceclass all around the world! #IASPR18
Mina is talking about movies she loves but have problematic tropes in Filipino romance and how they have inspired the rules of #romanceclass that deal with consent and heroines' agency. #IASPR18
Kat's Q: Can you give us an idea how you run an individual #romanceclass and how these address gaps in the market?
Mina: First gap we noticed was original books had no sex scenes! Then the next class REQUIRED sex scenes. Now, 1/3rd of #romanceclass books have sex.
Second gap that had to be fixed was that all books were m/f and so she did a class that was NO het romance. Now anthology that is m/m and f/f and standalones. Also other diversity: geography (Iloilo!), body type, age gap, mental health, and more. #IASPR18
Kat's Q: Are there industrial constraints?
Mina: Was trained to write novella length b/c this was what Filipino publishers wanted (max 50k words), and she "passed this problem down." But also b/c #romanceclass writers are doctors, architects, teachers, and more. #IASPR18
Kat Q: Why live readings, and how have these changed the writers and books themselves?
Mina: Explains hiring of live actors and shows clips! The audience has learned kilig, so #IASPR18 is prepared!
Showing Submission Moves clip with Jef being naughty! Oh my... #IASPR18
Kat's Q: Impact of live readings on authors and the way the writing community has now intersected with performing arts community.
Mina: Due to insecurity writing in English, hearing it made authors confident in what they were creating. Then it took off! #IASPR18
But then it became so popular that writers even write for the reaction during these readings. Also readers use the readings as ways to know which books they want to buy. #IASPR18
Mina is showing now the international reach of #romanceclass but also acknowledging this is a community still in creation and formation. Still filling gaps. Not a finished product. But the books can help fill a gap in the landscape of many countries' literature. #IASPR18
Q from audience: Should you establish an award?
Mina: We have resisted a "best of" or award. She herself does not post public reviews of any of the books to remain neutral. Other than rules (re consent etc).
Q from audience: What about histrom?
Mina: We have not had #romanceclass authors do this yet. Finding the space within a difficult history is a challenge. Have histfic, not histrom in PH.
Kat: Still fighting racist image of "noble savage" imposed by foreigners in PH history.
Q from audience: Do authors want to be professional full-time authors?
Mina: Everyone aspires to JK Rowling level success, but most are more realistic. Those in writing-related day-jobs (journalists, etc.) have a harder time finishing works in some cases.
Q from audience: How do you define happy ending?
Mina: They agree to be together by the end of the book. Unlike other countries' HEA, in PH b/c no divorce may mean that a proposal does not make sense. A HFN is more appropriate, especially for Mina's books. #IASPR18
[A side point: I am not very good at this live tweeting thing. Everything Mina says is soooo much more eloquent than I am making it sound. And all errors are my own. I'm getting like 1/10th of this down.] #romanceclass #IASPR18
Q from audience: How does Spanish legacy and Catholicism affect the books?
Mina: We have been trying to figure out how to talk about sex and romance with Filipino characters to break from assumptions of conservative society. #IASPR18
Q from audience: How do Tagalog & English language romance interact?
Mina: Tagalog romance is older & more numerous. Younger people are more open to English-language romance, but there is a resistance to read Filipino authors in English versus foreign authors in English. #IASPR18
Okay, that was AMAZING and people are fangirling Mina right now to my left. This academic conference adheres strictly to schedule, so we had to cut off. But people would have asked her 100s more questions. And people are buying #romanceclass books! #IASPR18
If you did not get a book yet, you can find the whole #romanceclass catalog at romanceclassbooks.com or on Amazon. #IASPR18
The questions keep coming for @BookThingo and @minavesguerra about how #romanceclass could be a model or inspiration for other romance writer organizations, like @RWAus. Raising the bar! #IASPR18
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