Romance Subgenre #3 – Paranormal Romance

Of all the subgenres of the romance genre, Paranormal is by far my favorite. The biggest thing with paranormal romances is that you are dealing with witches, angels, vampires, and other supernatural type characters. Granted, some readers have a hard time relating to characters of the paranormal since we do not live their lives or deal with the same problems that an angel might have or a vampire for that matter.

Now when I’m talking vampires, I’m not talking about the version of vampire that we met in the Twilight Saga, I’m talking your typical vampires that are more personified in pop culture, where they do not come out in the sun or they will be turned into dust and then we won’t have a romance.

These romance stories, usually have a human/mortal woman who meets a man that is a supernatural being and they are entered into their world and have to learn not only about the world but the man as well. Granted, in recent times with these type of romances, writers tend to give the supernatural being some sort of backstory that readers can relate to even if they were from old century England or somewhere in Europe.

That’s just one thing that we have to do as writers, creating a backstory for our supernatural character as to how they became a ghost or a vampire. The other part of writing this story is that we have to make them relatable to our readers. Furthermore, we have to make the romance not only possible but give them enough so that we still come out with them having their happy ending. Now granted, not every story has to end with our human character being turned into a supernatural character but we want something that will make sure that they will spend the rest of eternity forever. Whereas with other romances we know in the back of our minds that no one lives forever and that sooner or later that they will end up together in the afterlife but with paranormal romances, we have to make sure that our characters live forever together.

Also when we are writing paranormal romance we do not want to go into gory details but we want to make the biting and such somewhat like what is found in Buffy the Vampire Slayer or some other less gory vampire story. As far as angel stories, I have only run across a few but they in those stories you are dealing with both light and dark angels and one is trying to make sure that the dark does not take their romantic partner.

There are many ways that you can take a story but just remember that you have to make rules as part of your world building and if you break any of your rules, your readers are going to be all over you in a heartbeat. I suggest that you take really good notes.

Also when it comes to young adult romance novels, paranormal romance controls the market over other romances for young adults.

Romance Subgenre #2 – Suspense Romance

I must admit that I have only read one book that is within our next subgenre of the romance genre and I really enjoyed (I just cannot remember the title), today we are talking about suspense romance also known as romantic suspense. The subgenre of suspense romance consists of romance being the main plot while it has a subplot of a mystery, crime, or thriller.

Here is one key thing to note that your female hero is not waiting to be rescued or the victim, in this case, she is a full hero of her own right so you might want to think about Katniss Everdeen and what makes her a badass in her own right. The other thing to note is that while she is in the mix of the suspense so is our male hero right beside her helping her or they can be working together to solve whatever problem that they are facing. Does this mean that the police or any other law enforcement agency is not involved, the answer is no but they should not be the one to catch the villains of the story for it should be our heroes.

Furthermore, the other thing to note when writing romantic suspense is that there should be a balance between the romantic plot and the suspense. If you way too much towards the suspense side, such as the suspense overshadows the romance then you are hitting into mainstream literature and out of the romance genre. So, in this case, the balance should be like 70% romance and 30% suspense or something to that effect. Yes, you may have to do some research like you do with historical romance such as on police procedures depending on who your characters are.

Readers of this subgenre love their romance but they also want a little something extra like a mystery or a thriller for her character to be thrown into while they are trying to become romantic with the male hero, who she may or may not like in the beginning but something brings them together to make their romance possible. But the one thing that you want to keep in mind is that you do not want to make your readers mad by falling into cliches of other mysteries or thrillers, for your readers want something that is fresh and new. Just to add to a bit to this subgenre when it comes to literature mystery is like the second most popular genre of fiction next to romance.

Therefore, you should do research on both romance thrillers/suspense and regular mysteries just in case you need some help with the subplot of your novel.

Romance Subgenre #1: Historical Romance

This week I thought that it would be fun while we are looking at the genre of romance if we took a look at the subgenres of romance individually. Granted there are lots of subgenres but I thought that I would pick the top five so that we have one to discuss each day. The first sub-genre that I will discuss is historical romance. This in part due to me currently reading the novel, The Age of Innocence.

Granted, I must admit that historical romance is not a favorite of mine for one reason, you must enjoy the time period that the romance is written for, such as Victorian England or during the American Civil War. While at the same time you could consider Age of Innocence a historical romance since the novel came out in 1920’s while it focuses on New York during the 1870’s. But I will add this part about historical romance, which is that they are one of the top subgenres in the romance genre and that also means that historical romances do well on screen too, think back to James Cameron’s Titanic and how well it did at the box office.

The biggest thing with historical romance when you are writing in this subgenre is that you must have done your research prior to writing so that you can get all the details just right on the time that you are focusing on. This means how they dress, did their hair, even some events that might have taken place during the time, and this does include getting your romantic details correct to such as was it appropriate to be seen kissing in public or was that more done in the privacy of one’s home. Remember your reader is interested in the time that you are writing about and if you get one fact wrong, they will ring you over the coals for creating such as a taboo in their historical romance. The key is don’t make your readers angry or your historical writing career is over.

Some other helpful things to keep in mind when writing historical romance is that you want to go back further than present times, for the more closer you are to the present the more you will find that your readers will have a hard time telling the difference. So the key is to go back further than World War I. The other key is that if your novel is set in war-time the violence of the war needs to stay out of your book. Yes, you can mention that the war is going on but any violence or gore needs to stay away from the book, unless in extreme circumstances that it has to do with the romance of your novel.

The other key to historical romance is that you want to give enough detail to set the background for the story but not have it read like a textbook. Keep in mind that your reader will have already done their homework on the time that you are writing about so they don’t need to be dictated on the time period. You can make social commentary remarks as long as they pertain from a character’s point of view.

With any of the subgenres that are presented here this week, do your homework on the subgenre to find out which one that you have a desire to write more. As part of doing your homework, I suggest reading books that have been published in the subgenre.

Reading UpdateI have read 170 pages out of 307 pages of Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence. While I reading yesterday, Archer’s wedding took place and now he is “happily married” to May and dealing with the confines of being married to her and how she is acting. Based on how he is acting throughout the first few chapters from the wedding he is already noticing things that he does not like about his bride while at the same time he is noticing the fact that he can still take up what he enjoys like the arts. So in a way, he gets to eat his pie and eat his cake too; although, he cannot have the woman that he truly wants which is bride’s cousin.

The Role of the Lovers

WIN_20180203_092301In a tarot deck, the sixth card of the major arcana in the deck is that of the lovers. This card usually represents love and marriage to the first time glancers of the cards, but in all the card represents the complexities and risks that come into play with relationships. Usually, the image on the card displays that of a happy couple, who are both have the give and takes of relationships such as attraction and opposition and it implies an ongoing cycle of conflict and reconciliation. The card as a symbol represents that of choice.

As many of you know, or you may not know, that from time to time I use tarot in my writing, and I figured while this month is being dedicated to romance, that I would showcase the lovers card and how we can use what it represents in our writing.

Just as it was mentioned above we have the complexities of what goes into a relationship such as that of attraction and opposing views that we find in everyday relationships. How we use the attraction and the opposing views of our characters is how we can create the tension that is needed for our romantic couple since this is one of the keys that is needed in a good romance novel. There has to be a tension between them. If we take the case of Beauty and the Beast, the tension comes in that he has to get over being a selfish and spoiled prince for that got him turned into the beast that he is in the first place. Yes, I know we had the strange begging woman that came to the castle and she was actually a beautiful enchantress, but still, he was very selfish and did not let the poor women come in and get warm by the fire. If he had then maybe he wouldn’t have been turned into the beast and then he would have never met the fair Bell, and we wouldn’t have the story. Let’s not undo our stories, shall we?

Now granted the tension that is faced in Romeo and Juliet is not that with one or the other, but with their feuding families, who had been warned numerous times to get along our they would have to pay the consequences, which they did. There are many things that can create tension for lovers and how you use or create the tension is the fun part for us as writers. We must balance the tension with the rest of the action of the story while giving our lovers time to find out about each other.

Also, I did mention that the card was also a symbol of choice, and that is true for think about it did Romeo have to seek out Juliet? No, he didn’t but he did and that was where the problems lie in the story. In any relationship that we enter into there is a choice element and if we chose not to enter a relationship then we lose part of the story that is possible, but just as we have to make smart choices so do our characters. Unless you feel necessary to give your character the flaw of always making the wrong choices then that is up to you but sooner or later they will have to make a right choice so that you can end the cycle of abuse that you have put your character through.

Relationships are many things for they are conflicted, choices that we must make and there is a risk element involved. Was there a clear risk for Romeo being with Juliet? Yes, there was he could have been killed by his family if they ever found out that she was with him. While on the other hand, I don’t see his family killing a young girl unless they were really that cruel but again it was more her family taking him out back and doing away with him. Plus, he killed one of her family members, which wouldn’t have gone over so well either and it didn’t. But either way, the picture was not looking that great for poor Romeo. Yes, he was a love-hungry fool and he jumped from one girl to the next and both were from the same family (Awkward).

Yes, at some point, this month, I will do a whole post on Romeo and Juliet but for now, I will leave with you the thought that we should have fun making our characters and the tension/choices that we through at them.

Reading Update: I’m currently on page 111 out of 309 pages in Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence. My first thoughts about this novel are that you get a clear overview of how New York Society was in the 1870’s as well as much about the taboos of the day and age. I’m really enjoying the book and for most of it is a fast read, I just have already found myself asking will it pick up. Granted, I’ve already found characters that I really don’t like or agree with in the book such as the main character’s mother, for she seems to want certain standards to be upheld in society and she wishes that her son would share her views much like his sister, Janey, does. But on the whole, he is already thinking about his future and how it will be once he gets married and thinks that it will be a rather dull affair, and for the most part based on how the society was at the time, he is perfectly correct. These are just first thoughts about the book.

What was your first romance?

To start our long month study of the romance genre, I thought that it would be fun for you think about what was your first encounter with the subject of romance. This is not to say what was your first romance but what was your first knowledge about what is romance. The first few examples, that come to find are like Beauty and the Beast. Yes, the Disney animated classic was what I would consider my first encounter with is romance. Granted, I could say that it was the Little Mermaid, but that really wasn’t like what was in Beauty and the Beast. Other examples, that come to mind are like Dirty Dancing, although, as we all know now Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey did not like each other at all but we were still given the illusion that the characters that they played did have a thing for each other. But we all cannot forget that line “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Other examples that come to mind of romance, were some of the couples that I saw on soap operas when my mom was watching them. Granted, I got to catch a glimpse of The Young and the Restless or As the World Turns from time to time. But having this as part of my foundation of romance, allowed me to enjoy it more as an adult like when watching Grey’s Anatomy or say Scandal.

However, before there were Meredith and Derick there was The Thorn Birds. Yes, I loved the Thorn Birds. The Thorn Birds was somewhat like Romeo and Juliet with the forbidden love and they both pinning for each other even though there was another “Man” in the picture. The love between a girl and a priest which was also the basis for the novel, The Mermaid Chair.

Another example that comes to mind, of course, is Romeo and Juliet. Where to start with our star-crossed lovers? There are so many places such as the balcony scene, the hidden marriage vows, the fake death of Juliet which leads to Romeo and her death. Was it necessarily romantic? Maybe not but to every young girl that runs across the story for the first time, the answer is yes. It’s like watching the adaptation of West Side Story, where we want our characters to pull through and it goes back to that idea that love never dies.

There are so many examples that come to mind of what was my first taste of romance but hands down, it will always be the animated classic, Beauty and the Beast, since it has all the makings of a true romance novel. Since you have the tension between the two characters and then there is an obstacle that comes gets in the way of their happily ever after, he almost dies and then there is magic that saves him and then we get the happy and uplifting ending where they live happily ever after.

So what was your first taste of romance?

As per my promise that I made yesterday, I started to read Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence. Granted, I’ve only read 52 pages of the 307-page novel, but so far it’s enjoyable. But as I”m reading Wharton’s novel, a curious question came to me if a book that was written in the past read by today’s audiences still considered historical fiction? Or if the book was written today would and read by today’s audiences make it a historical fiction?

It’s February….

Well, we made it through the first month of 2018. Now we are into the second month, which is also a busy month. It’s Black History Month, Women’s Heart Health Month (Wear Red tomorrow), it’s also when we celebrate Valentine’s Day, which means that it is also romance reading month. Yes, that means that we can dive into the one of the most successful, if not popular genres of fiction, Romance.

s-l300 (2)Yes, I know that I like to write fantasy, but I also like a good romance novel too. The romance genre has hundreds if not thousands of titles published each year, and the genre of romance is banking in that ole mighty dollar. There is something to be said about the romance genre, and that is they do sell. There are several sub-genres of romance such as historical, fantasy, paranormal, and there are the newly popular erotica romances. These are just to name a few of the sub-genres.

This month I would like to spend a little bit of time studying and posting up blog posts about the romance genre. The reason for this is that I am finding more and more authors that are new to the writing game that have a desire to write romance. This is also a perfect time to look at some of the works that are written in the romance genre and the already published authors of such works.

I must admit that I have a few romance novels, that I would like to re-engage with and so far I must admit that I have done little reading this year and I need to get back into reading. So part of my goal this month is to read a bit more than what I have been doing in the past but to also write reviews on some of what I read as well.

So here is my list of goals this month:

  • Read some more
  • Talk about the romance genre
  • Work on The Raven Prophecy some more
  • Work on Ravages of Time some more
  • Start re-working The Zodiac Tower
  • Publish some work this month