Skip to main content

Defining One's Genre: When is Romance not a Romance?

Silly question you think, but not so. While I was laboring through my story yesterday it hit me. I like to throw love into my story lines. Sure there is drama, action, death even, but there is always an underlying romance occurring. This gave me pause. Does this mean I am a romance writer? Or am I a fiction writer who has the occasional love story intertwined in the plot?

Defining your genre is crucial when querying agents, but it also pigeonholes you. What if my first two novels have a romance as a backdrop to the every day life of the characters, but my third is just a story about three guys who go on a journey of self discovery? The agent would not publish it because there is no romance. This is making my head spin.

When Jane Austen wrote her novels, did she scribble along thinking"Ahh yes, another romance." Or did she approach it has, "This will be a good story to tell and the BBC will make movies of it over and over again." Yes I am being silly.
All writers tells stories, but they must define what genre they belong to first. This has been the thorn in my side as I do not want to market my bounty hunter story as full blown romance, but in a way, it is about Molloy allowing her heart to be touched again. And by someone she least expected.

According to Romance Writers Of America's website: Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.

A Central Love Story: The main plot centers around two individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.

An Emotionally-Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love.


There is also this: 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.

Now I am even more confused. While I did not write a central love story, it is in there. I just told her story and love was a part of it. I cannot be the only writer who hits this wall. Some folks say you should write the synopsis before the novel so you can see where it goes and what it would be marketed as. I totally get why now. As for this book, I have sent it off to agents as a futuristic-romantic-thriller since they are former military who now hunt the bad guys and it is 2030 and in the midst of this, a serious relationship forms. Am I wrong though? Am I selling this incorrectly and need to rethink strategy here? I bet Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Chabon don't sweat about this. Lucky kids.

I struggle with pulling any serious romance overtones out of my latest work with the Angels off Death because I want it to be able to be marketed to a larger audience. Then again, Romance novels are some of the best selling in the world so no slouch there. I fear being tasked to write the same thing over and over in a formulaic style just to meet the Happily Ever After requirement. I know that is what people want, especially in such uncertain times, but it is not what I always want. And so the mumbling and rumbling in my head continues as I try to figure out just what kind of stories do I write. What kind of storyteller am I at this very moment? This is the million dollar question.

Cheers!
MissFifi

Comments

  1. "Sure there is drama, action, death even, but there is always an underlying romance occurring. This gave me pause. Does this mean I am a romance writer?"


    It means you're a girl. ;)

    Get in touch with your masculine side a little more. It can only add to your depth.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A little bit of this and a little bit of that

I have made a painting for our living room where I sewed a dress onto a canvas. Now I need pages from a decadent book, get them on there and the piece will be complete. I will take a picture once it is done to share. It was a lot of fun to do and if I knew I could make money selling them, I would do more.

We have decided to forgo a built in bookcase in the living room. While I love the whole idea of some accent piece in the living room,I would rather it be the books and art work, not the bookcase/media center that would be holding it. So now we are looking at furniture similar to this console from Ballard Design. Just at a much better price.

This display from the blog Chic Provence makes me want to grow wisteria for the rest of my life and only dine under a fabulous pergola.

Theresa Burger, I love, love, love your resin rings.

Ahhh, one of my favorite all time songs by Dead Can Dance called Indus. It is sublime.

As a former jewelry designer who knew how to work as a metalsmith and with wa…

I AM ON A MISSION

And not necessarily a wise one. Human beings like to collect things. Whether it is comic books, Dr Who paraphernalia, baseball cards, guns or weird cat art, for some reason we have a need to hunt and gather. I am not very good at things like Ebay or Craigslist. I basically suck at bidding and I get lazy about checking every hour for the possibility that someone may have posted/listed something I want.

Until now.

Recently I have gotten a bee in my big ass bonnet to locate a great deal on the following furniture pieces.

Hoosier Cabinet

I want this awesome piece of furniture for my kitchen so I can eliminate most of my upper cabinets and have a place for flour to sift out of because that would make me so cool. Some are wood, some are retro metal, all that matters it is a multi-functional piece of art that would be amazing to own..

Pie Safe


I don't make pies and that is irrelevant to my desire for one of these.

Vintage Ice Box

Where would I even use this? I don't care. We can addres…

Bad Writing Abounds In Twilight Novels

I have never had the desire to read the "Twilight" series. What I knew about them sounded like a bad young adult novel and I could not be bothered. Besides, I read Anne Rice's Vampire Series years ago, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but that was enough vampire lore for me.I have a very good friend that loves "Twilight". One day I saw her book on the table, picked it up, read one page, threw the book down and said to my husband, "This is written like absolute crap!" And yet the books are best selling series and the author makes millions. Bless her heart. I hate dumbed down books and I really hate books written as if the author never took an English class. Oddly enough, Ms. Meyer was an English major, go figure. From what I have read in regards to the Twilight books and heard during conversations about the beloved series, I know that I do not like her main characters. They sound like people that would fall under Too Stupid Too Live for me. A vapid, needs to …