Whenever I’m about to make an article I always check to see what we already have on the subject. We already have quite a sizable amount on romance, so please take a look at that. A lot of it is in much more detail than this post is going to be. Click here!
We also have a previous Genre Help article (which I found after I started this one), I haven’t mentioned topics that were covered on the other post so it is worth checking it out.
Definition of Romance: The Romance novel is a literary genre. Novels in this genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.” [x]
Sub-Genres of Romance
Now I don’t write a lot of Romance, so it’s not really ‘my thing’. So I’ve done research and I found there were far more sub-genres of romance than I imagined. So I’m only including the larger sub-genres but I encourage you to have a look at some of the other sub-genres.
Contemporary Romance- Any novel set after the second world war is considered to be a ‘contemporary romance’. This is the largest sub-genre of romance with a huge portion of the sales in this genre. These are set in the time they are written. Most of these types of novels also contain some mention of the date or something that can date the novel. (Such as mentioning who the prime minister is.)
Historical Romance- Any novel set before the second world war is a ‘historical romance.’ This is a combination of the ‘historical’ genre and the ‘romance’ genre. Books that are still a commercial success that were written before world war II can also be considered to be a historical romance. This includes books by Jane Austen.
Romantic Suspense- are novels that has the protagonists trying to solve a mystery such as a crime together and during which begin to fall in love. Like all romance, their relationship is the focus of the novel and affects all decisions made by the characters.
Erotic Romance- Also called ‘romantica’ is a combination of erotica and romance. Contains SEX. No seriously has strong sexual content. Also normally includes another sub-genre
The ‘Love Triangle’
The love triangle is romances bread and butter.What is a conflict in a romance novel like another woman/man? That is always going to throw a spanner in the works! A lot of these books will contain love triangles and this isn’t a bad thing. Not at all, when done well a love triangle can be an amazing plot point.
However, perhaps you can change it up. Add your own spin to a very popular plot device. Try to write your love triangle realistically as well. I for one wouldn’t want another woman sniffing around my man and I wouldn’t be impressed if he seemed torn between us. In fact I would be insulted. So think of how your character would react, would they leave? Would they ignore it? Would they get jealous?
So yes, have a love triangle! But don’t be boring and predictable, make it your own. As we have said before clichés are clichés because they work.
Writing realistic relationships.
I’ve touched on this in previous posts, but I think it is very important that relationships ring true. Relationships aren’t easy and I think if it’s easy in your novel it becomes boring.
So what makes a realistic relationship?
- The couple isn’t perfect
- The couple have arguments/disagreements
- Things about the other person annoys them (toilet seat up!)
- Love grows over time
- Lust at first sight, not love.
The progression of a relationship is really interesting and makes us fall in love with the characters. No one can meet each other and suddenly know everything about the other person. This is something that grows over time and as time passes love grows and develops into something completely different.
But realistic relationships are boring!
I once posted the statistics for relationships failing and got slated. Realistic relationships aren’t boring, in fact they are far more interesting than the ‘perfect relationship’. If your protagonists never argue or have difficulties what is your conflict going to be? You need them to struggle and fight to stay together because relationships are fucking hard.
So write them realistically and your reader is more likely to care! To fall in love with your story and your characters.
Other useful links
I hope this has helped you to get a better idea about the romance genre and encouraged you to perhaps venture into this field?