Myths and Merits of the Romance Genre

by Bonita Y. McCoy

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So, you think you want to write romance. I don’t blame you. The romance genre holds many wonderful opportunities for writers. Within romance, you can do serious, funny, suspenseful, or quirky stories, and the real plus, the readers always want a happily-ever-after ending. My favorite.

However, there are some myths about the genre that are floating around like bubbles on a sunny day, and they need to be popped before you settle on this genre as the one for you.

Myths

  • The Romance Genre is the easiest genre in which to write.

Wrong. All the same grammar rules and industry standards apply to the romance genre. It is no easier or harder than any other genre being written in the market today.

What should determine your genre of choice is what type of stories you love to read? If you love romance and stories that have a romantic subplot then you are a great candidate for becoming a romance writer, but if you lean more to adventure or science fiction and skip over the romantic sections, you won’t enjoy writing it any more than you do reading it.

  • With Romance, you only need to develop two characters.

Again, wrong. You may only write from the two main characters points of view, but just like any other genre, all the major characters need to be fully developed and well thought out.

Another aspect of romance writing that we forget is world building. If you write small town romances, you as the writer will have to build the small town. If you write about a character’s apartment or place of work, you will need to map out these places, so you can easily describe them in your novel.

  • The plot is not as important in a romance as the characters.

Do I need to say it? This too is a myth. No matter what type of story you write both the characters and the plot need to be believable. Though some genres are more character driven while others are more plot driven, both must run like a well-oiled machine. No holes, no clogged parts, no missing pieces.

  • The love will carry the story.

Emotional tension is the essence of good story telling, but the love in a romance can not be the only conflict or tension in the story. Your characters need baggage. Emotional, physical, mental, and any other type in order to make them real to the reader.

The love story should be powerful, but there must be more depth to the characters for the reader to be willing to go on the journey with the hero and heroine. Be creative in this area. Bring in something new and different for your characters to deal with in their daily lives. A handicapped relative, a retired parent, a critical diagnosis from the doctor, a crisis of faith, something that your reader may be dealing with in their own lives.

Now, that we have looked at the myths in the genre, let’s look at the merits. There are several advantages to writing romance.

Merits

  • It is the largest genre in the industry.

According to a Bookstr article in January 2017, romance was the number one best-selling genre clearing somewhere around 1.44 billion dollars. It is a large pond and plenty of room for newcomers to join in the fun.

  • Sub genres and tropes make the difference.

Another positive about writing in the best-selling genre is that there is a small sub genre for almost any trope you would like to write. If you want to write matchmaker romances, there is a sub genre for that. If you want to write billionaire romances, there is a place for that one too.  How about cowboy, boy next door, or fake relationships? They all fit as well.

  • Hope can be found in romance novels.

One of the best aspects of writing romance revolves around the encouragement romance writers give to their readers. Romance novels give hope. They uplift, encourage, rally, and entertain the reader through hard places in real life. They transport the reader to a place where even when its tough love conquers all. And for some, that is a place they need to visit to find a seed of hope for their own lives.

  • A Bond develops between the reader and the writer.

The romance genre weaves the threads of lives together to create a lasting bond, not between hero and heroine, but rather between reader and writer. Romance writers have a sacred trust with their readers. We will write a story that meets readers expectations of hope, love, and a happily-ever-after, and our readers will be loyal to return again and again to go on the journey with us. Romance readers are a loyal band.

Writing romances can be demanding just like any other genre of fiction, but the rewards far outweigh the frustrations. Once you’ve identified the myths that surround this genre and embraced the truth that any writing is work, you can better decide which genre is the right fit for you and your goals as a writer.

Remember, there are myths and merits in any genre. However, if you adore a sweet romance and you can’t wait to see how the hero and heroine end up together, then you might just be a romance writer who has found her home in the fiction world.

Click to tweet: The romance genre weaves the threads of lives together to create a lasting bond, not between hero and heroine, but rather between reader and writer.  #romance #amwriting

 

Writing Prompt: Maggie felt a little blue. She knew the next two weeks during Christmas would be hectic, but she consoled herself with the thought of the books she would take with her. Her own private world tucked in her suitcase.

Heart of Christmas bookAnnouncing five new stories filled with faith, hope, forgiveness, and of course happily-ever-afters. Each story focuses on an element of the Nativity, from the angels to the wise men. Be swept up in the love of the season and the promise of forever that the Christ child, the true Heart of Christmas, brings.  Available on Kindle and in Kindle Unlimited.

 

Genre Month at Inspired Prompt

An Overview of Genre

By Jennifer Hallmark

We’ve all heard the term and struggled to pronounce it. I personally try to say the word “genre” with a French accent but my natural Southern one makes it come out all wrong. 🙂

So what exactly is a genre? Vocabulary.com says “A literary genre is a style of writing.” Your favorite literary genre might be science fiction or romance, for example.

The word genre means “artistic category or style,”…When you use the term literary genre, you make it clear that you’re talking about books and writing. Bookstores sometimes use literary genres as a way to separate books into different sections, like “classics” or “mysteries.” The word genre is French, and it means “kind, sort, or style.”

And then there are sub-genres which are simply subcategories within a particular genre. The academic mystery is a “sub-genre” of the mystery novel.

Here’s a partial list of genres in literature.

  • Action/Adventure
  • Chick Lit
  • Classic
  • Comic/Graphic Novel
  • Contemporary
  • Crime/Detective
  • Dystopian/Utopian
  • Fable
  • Fairy tale
  • Fanfiction
  • Fantasy
  • Fiction narrative
  • Folklore
  • Historical fiction
  • Horror
  • Humor
  • Magical Realism
  • Mystery/Cozy Mystery
  • Non-fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Southern
  • Steampunk
  • Suspense/Thriller
  • Tragedy
  • Western
  • Women’s Fiction
  • Young Adult/New Adult

    Fairy Tale Re-Tellings

I try to read a variety of different genres because I believe it will make me a more well-rounded writer.  Some of my favorites are women’s fiction (especially stories based in the South), mysteries, and fantasy. I just finished a Southern fiction book collection that I loved called A Southern Season-Stories From a Front Porch Swing.

I’ve also read a Steampunk book by Edie Melson called Maiden of Iron: A Steampunk Fable. Steampunk is a genre (or perhaps sub-genre) of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

For a combination of Classics and Mystery, the latest series of books I’m reading are by Georgette Heyer.  She also writes Regency romances, a sub-genre of romance novels set between 1811-1820 with their own plot and stylistic conventions.

So you can see there are many genres and sub-genres. And I’ve not included a mishmash of genres, where a writers mixes two or more genres. The problem with mishmash is when it comes to finding your market. Let’s say you mix historic romance with science fiction. You’ll need to find a reader who likes both and that could prove difficult.

We at Inspired Prompt want to hear from you. What’s your favorite genre? sub-genre? List it in the comments below and tell us about one of your favorite books within that category.

Click to tweet: What is genre? sub-genre? Mishmash? Find out at the Inspired Prompt blog. #genre #amreading

Writing Prompt: Lillian ran down the street and pushed past the crowd into the library. Her favorite author had a new novel out and she had to have it. It was a…