Monday, February 13, 2017

#InkRipples~Genres~ ROMANCE

Welcome back to another week of #InkRipples. This month, we’re talking genres, and with Valentine’s Day tomorrow, what better genre to start with than Romance?

When you pick up a romance novel, you know that when you get to the end of the book, no matter what challenges the couple faces throughout the story, that they will end up together (at least for now.) Romances are all about the relationship. Even the sub genres, and there are many, have the relationship as the main plot line.

Romantic mystery, romantic suspense, romantic intrigue, contemporary romance, historical romance are all sub genres of the romance category. The key is that first word—

Sure, there could be a mystery to solve, a plot to foil, a king to save, or a store to open, but those all take a back seat to the relationship building between the two main characters. If the relationship is not the main story line, then it isn’t actually a romance…even if there is a relationship component to the story.

Nora Roberts is a romance author, but her books written as JD Robb, while they contain relationship components you would find in a romance, are not romances. They are actually suspense, or if you want to put in a sub genre, suspense romance (notice that romance is now the second word, meaning the suspense part takes the main storyline.)

This is how I knew that The Boyfriend Project was a romance, and that Faery Marked belonged in fantasy. Both contain romantic story lines, but the main story line in Faery Marked wasn’t the relationship, it was magic and the Faery realm. 

What are your thoughts? Is this too simple a way to look at genre? Share in the comments below. 

Be sure to stop back next week for a look at what makes a book a mystery.

#InkRipples is a themed meme hosted by Katie L. CarrollKai Strand, and me, Mary Waibel. We post on the first Monday of every month. If you would like to participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, include any of the images displayed on the #InkRipples tab above, and link back to our three blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #InkRipples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation.

This year's topics are:

February: Genres
March: Tropes
April: Revision
May: Fairy Tales
June: Blurbs
July: Heroes/Villains
August: Author Options in Publishing
September: World Building
October: Career vs Hobby
November: Finishing that Book!
December: Goals


  1. "If the relationship is not the main story line, then it isn’t actually a romance…even if there is a relationship component to the story." As simple as this statement is, it's difficult to see it in your own writing sometimes. Especially when you INTENDED to write a romance, but it turned out to be a contemporary. Good thing for wise critique partners ;)

    1. Ah, Kai...leave it to you to catch something I didn't think of ;-)

      I neglected to touch on my thoughts of contemporary or historical romance, but let me do that now.

      In my opinion, contemporary and historical are just setting the time period and have nothing to do with the genre itself. We say contemporary romance and historical romance, but with the stories I've read labeled this way, they have always at heart been a romance.

      So, I guess the better way to have stated my thoughts would be been this:

      Regardless of whether the word romance comes first or second (ie: Romantic Mystery, Contemporary Romance), if the main plot line is about the couple and their love story, you've written a romance.

      Hope this clarifies!


  2. Interesting distinction between a book in the romance genre and one that simply has elements of romance. I don't think there is any simple way to look at any genre. And people will have differing opinions. As an author looking to reach a certain audience, I would say if you want to reach romance readers (and you think they would enjoy your story), go ahead and put it as a romance, though maybe not as your primary genre.

    1. I agree that if you think a certain audience would enjoy your book you should target them, especially with marketing.

      I think part of the hardest part with genre is it's based on "where do I shelve this in the bookstore/library?" With so many book available online (both as e-versions or print versions), the physical shelving issue isn't really as much a problem, especially when you can type "vampire werewolf dragon romance" and have a series of titles appear on your screen. I think as we move further into the future with the new way of searching for books online, a new system of labeling will develop. Some of it is already in place. Take the labeling I use on this blog for my posts. Or the key words/phrases I set up with Amazon for my books available there.

      But, there are still brick and mortar stores and libraries that need an idea of where to place your novel, so for now choosing a genre so you have the "best chance to find your target reader" should help.


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