Defining Romance
Thursday, August 25th, 2005 Aug 25th, 2005 leave a response

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion in the romance writing community about the definition of romance. What exactly is a romance? The most common definition would be a story in which the hero and heroine fall in love and live ‘happily ever after’, or at least have the potential to do so.

The romance industry is always evolving and changing. Sub-genres today include stories set on other worlds and in fantasy, paranormal and futuristic settings. Heroes might be shape shifters, vampires or aliens. Heroines can be assassins or androids from the future. Does this mean these books don’t fit the definition of romance?

I think they do. Readers seem to enjoy these new sub-genres. Heroes and heroines don’t have to be human to be in love. Two opposite ends of the market which seem to be growing are inspirational romances and erotic romances. I’ve read a few inspirationals. I admire any writer who can plot a story with the no sex in it. I can learn a lot about developing sexual tension when I read these books.

The opposite end of the spectrum, erotic romance, seems to evoke a far different response from many romance writers. They don’t think ‘those type of books’ should be included in the romance section. They don’t think it qualifies for the golden rule of ‘happy ever after’.

Why?

If my own writing community don’t understand what I write, how am I ever going to sell a book to a reader? (Although, to be fair, the huge increase in sales of erotic romance seems to indicate there is a definite need out there) I don’t write porn. I don’t write erotica. I write erotic romance. I shall quote from award-winning author ANGELA KNIGHT who sums up the difference between these three things perfectly:

“There’s porn-tab A in slot B. Emotions are irrelevant. People moan, but that’s it. In erotica, the focus is on emotions and sensation, and there’s characterization, but the relationships usually don’t last. But in erotic romance, the focus is on the romance more than the sex. The sex is an expression of the romance.”

‘The sex is an expression of the romance.’ Thank you, Angela. That’s what I write. Very sexy love stories about people who intend to live happily ever after.

check out Angela’s website at www.angelasknights.com

2 comments to “Defining Romance”

  1. Daisy Dexter Dobbs
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    1
      · August 29th, 2005 at 4:17 pm · Link

    I agree, Kate—the sex is an expression of the romance. I wouldn’t be interested in writing erotic romance if that weren’t the case. I’m a romance junkie. I love to read romances with HEA endings, watch romantic movies and write blatantly romantic books. The sex is simply icing on the cake and, in my opinion, would have little meaning without a satisfying romance behind it.



  2. Daisy Dexter Dobbs
    Comment
    2
      · September 2nd, 2005 at 5:34 pm · Link

    Hi again, Kate! Please stop by my blog when you get a chance and read my Best & Worst Advice for Writers article. I’d really love to have you share your advice for aspiring writers!



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