Romance Subgenre #5 – Erotic Romance

We end this week looking at the final popular subgenre that hit the mainstream a couple of years ago thanks to Fifty Shades of Gray. Here is the truth about this subgenre, you could only buy this subgenre in your bigger bookstores like Barnes and Noble and Borders and also they use to also hold these behind a glass case and at some retailers, you would be carded if you wanted to look at them before you purchased them. Fifty Shades of Grey changed all of that for this subgenre.

The other fact about this subgenre was that on the back cover there used to be a disclaimer that read something like this:


Well, if you look at the erotic romances that come out today there is no more disclaimer and they can now be found at your local grocery stores.

The subgenre has come under the criticism of whether these types of book are porn or is it the details that are in the books that make them so racy. I would argue that the details in the sex scenes and their details in a regular romance novel and turns up the heat like to the really hot scale but I would not necessarily call them porn books.

Also, the love or attraction that are in a regular romance novel is somewhat thrown out the window is used to instead of focusing on the romance of a couple you are more focused on the sex that is in your novel and your character may have one or more partner. The biggest take away with erotic romance novels is that sex sells and the steamier the better, and just like any other romance novel can fall into a subgenre so can erotic romances for I have one that is fantasy-based.

This is a fun genre to read and sometimes fun to write if you are ever bored with writing regular romance novels and want to try something new write a few of these pages turners to see what you can achieve. But as always before diving head into this subgenre, I would suggest that you study the genre and then find a few test readers to see where they would the details in your book and if they would read it. The reason why I say test it out before publishing is that you want to find out if your book really falls into the subgenre. The last thing that you want is for your novel to be smacked with a porn label and that you take things too far. Granted, it will get the label anyway but you want it by critics not by the readers of your genre.

Romance Subgenre #4 – Young Adult Romances

I touched on this a bit with yesterday’s subgenre, Paranormal, but actually, in reality, there is quite a bit too young adult romances. Now when we are writing young adult romances you are going to go for writing to older teens like somewhere between the 15-18 range, which means that your characters should be somewhere between 16-19 maybe even 20 but don’t push the bracket on placing them to be older than that. Basically, when looking at writing for teens/young adults the rules still apply and one of the biggest ones for teens is that the like to read about some teens that are bit older than what they are currently.

That also being said you can also focus the niche for your book to be a certain reader, such as the one that is either still waiting for their first love or they are going through their first love but have yet to experience certain things with that person. Now the biggest question around these type of stories is the subject of sex like you would find in a regular romance novel, and the answer is you can have some but not the extent that a normal romance novel would have or even an erotic romance novel would have. This is where rating your book becomes important, and then if your book was a motion picture you can rate at PG-13 and that is about it.

Granted, the main subgenre of romance that teens are faced with are usually paranormal romance, there is the occasional historical period piece, and then there is the contemporary novel other than there is typically where romance in young adult novels can be found.

Also when it comes to writing young adult romances, you can also write for middle-grade but as far as romance goes, it’s going to be awkward, puppy-dog love, and there may be kissing but no sex. I would really suggest when it comes to writing romance for young adults/teens that you really do your research as far as what is accepted and what is not for the age that you want to write your book towards.

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.

Getting to know your Genres

I thought today, that I would switch gears from talking about character to genre. In any genre that you choose to write, you will have characters, but there are certain elements in each genre that your story must have.

In Fantasy, you must have mystical creatures, magic, witches and wizards, and the like in your story. In Sci-Fiction you must have elements of the future and some scientific know-how in your story that is either advanced or a new discovery in the future. Historical fiction must be set in the past and in a historical time period and must contain elements of that time period (a good example of this is The Book Thief). Romance must have a two characters that fall in love, and at the end of the story they must have a happy ending. In Horror there must be dark elements this is also the same with thriller. Mystery there must be a murder and the mystery should be solved towards the last page.

Now granted many of the genres listed above also have sub-genres, such as Paranormal Romace. Paranormal Romance have romance that have vampires as the characters or angels. There is also historical romance, where romance takes place in a time period in the past. There are so many out there to choose from but the main point is that you should know your main and sub-genres.

If you don’t know your genres very well, then you are going to have a hard time finding readers for your stories. Readers typically like to buy or read certain genres. I heard someone once say to know your genre is to know your reader. The same with books goes for movies too and in some cases television shows as well.

It also helps to know what is trending in your genre, but please, note that we should not writing towards those trends, but understand them so that we can modify those trends to what we want to write. As I have said before, we are writers, we are creators and we should not be made to write to trends. If we write to trends how much fun is going to be create new worlds or stories. We should trends more as suggestions but not necessarily as a master key. Trend writing can sort of get boring, for everyone will be writing the same story and there will be hundreds of the same story on the shelfs of bookstores.

We should own our work and work each day to add new things to our genres so that our genres can grow and when a genre grows we find more readers.

I hope that you have enjoyed today’s topic.