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18.07.2011 15:59    Comments: 0    Categories: Fiction Writing  Writing Craft  Writing Romance      Tags: romance novels  genre  romance genres  

ROMANCE GENRE DEFINED:

A romance novel is defined as a story in which the primary focus is on the developing relationship between the protagonists (usually a hero and heroine).

The following definitions of the Romance genre are from the Romance Writers of America, Inc. Web site.

 

Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

 

A Central Love Story -- In a romance, the main plot concerns two people falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. The conflict in the book centers on the love story. The climax in the book resolves the love story. A writer is welcome to as many subplots as she likes as long as the relationship conflict is the main story.

 

An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending -- Romance novels end in a way that makes the reader feel good. Romance novels are based on the idea of an innate emotional justice -- the notion that good people in the world are rewarded and evil people are punished. In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.

 

Once the central love story and optimistic-ending criteria are met, a romance novel can be set anywhere and involve any number of plot elements.

These settings and distinctions of plot create specific sub-genres within romance fiction.

 

Romance Novel Formats:

 

There are two formats for romance fiction:

 

Series or "Category" romances - shorter romances that are released in order and by month, with a series number on each title. These books are most commonly published by Harlequin/Silhouette.

 

Single-title romances - longer romances released individually and not as part of a numbered series - published by any one of nearly ten New York City publishers.

 

All romances have a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending. Beyond that, however, romance novels can be set in any time or place, entertain any number of plot elements, or convey moods from light and humorous to dark and suspenseful. The genre of romance can be classified into various sub-genres depending on their setting and plot elements. Those sub-genres include:

 

Contemporary Romance -- Romances set after the World Wars, Basic contemporary romance, Women's Romantic Fiction, Soap Opera, Glitz and Glamour, Contemporary Americana

 

Contemporary Series Romance --  Series romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship and typically set after 1945.

 

Contemporary-Single Title Romance --  Romance novels that focus primarily on the romantic relationship, released

 

Historical Romance -- Romances set before the World Wars, Historical Novels, Romantic Historicals, Period Romance, Sensual Historical and Sweet/Savage Romance, Western, Period Americana

 

Inspirational Romance -- Romances containing spiritual themes

 

Paranormal Romance -- Romances containing "other-worldly" elements such as magic, mystic characters or fantasy and science fiction elements

 

Regency Romance -- Romances set in England in the early 1800s, really a subgenre of historical romance, but large enough to warrant its own category

 

Romantic Suspense -- Romances containing mystery and intrigue

 

Sagas Romance --

 

Science Fiction Romance -- The blending of the romance and science fiction genres, covering the spectrum from straight science fiction / fantasy novels with romantic subplots to works where the romance is the main subplot or complication.  There are several categories within the SFR genre, such as the futuristic romance (Marilyn Campbell, Susan Grant and Dara Joy), the romantic science fiction or fantasy novel (Catherine Asaro, Lois McMaster Bujold and Mercedes Lackey), the paranormal romance novel (ghosts, fairies, vampires and shapeshifters), and the time travel romance novel.

 

Gay and Lesbian Romance -- Any romance genre novel with a strong romantic theme where the main charaters are gay or lesbian .

 

Inspirational Romance -- Romance novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are a major part of the romantic relationship.

 

Ethnic/Multicultural Romance -- Any romance genre novel with a strong romantic theme where the main charaters are ethnic/multicultural .

 

Alternative Reality Romance --

 

Time-travel Romance -- (Included in our Paranormal sub-genre) romances set in two different time periods, with characters "time-traveling" between both.

 

Fantasy Romance --

 

Futuristic Romance --

 

Young Adult Romance -- Novels with a strong romantic theme geared toward young adult readers.

 

Novels with Strong Romantic Elements -- A work of fiction in which a romance plays a significant part in the story, but other themes or elements take the plot beyond the traditional romance boundaries.

 
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