Alrighty, well as you can see I’m going out of order with the defining of the genres posts. I promise, you will survive (hey! hey!).
I defined the genres as thusly (here):
5. Science Fiction
But I’m not going in order. That’ just me though; sporadic. Although, I never said I’d go in order, so… In fear of kicking a dead horse, let’s move on.
I loathe that phrase, by the way: kicking a dead horse.
Here is my definition of romance and then all of its subgenres (and its subgenres’ subgenres)…
ROMANCE: Genre Fiction.
The plot and most of the conflict have to do with two people falling in love and then struggling, for one reason or another, to stay together. A romance novel is focused on the romance between a couple and the woes that accompany it. Sexual and emotional attraction builds throughout and there is an emotionally satisfying resolution.
When romance started out, romance and sex didn’t go hand and hand. The uber sex filled books were normally left to the erotica writers. But more and more, these overlap and romance authors have filled their books with more sex, blurring the lines a bit. (I’m not saying this is good or bad, I’m just giving the facts people; no biting my head off.) Also, when it comes to sex scenes, some are detailed and some are not. It’s up to each individual author.
More often times than not, it’s an optimistic love story and has a happy ending. In fact, everywhere I’ve seen the definition of “romance”, it’s been accompanied by “must have a happy ending”. Looking at some of the books I’ve read and heard of as of recent, I don’t think that’s entirely true.
SUB-GENRES and their subgenres:
Contemporary Romance: A romance novel taking place after the World Wars up until present.
Fantasy/Sci-Fi Romance: A romance novel taking place in another world or in our world with elements of magick and/or magickal creatures.
- Paranormal Romance: Normally contains inhuman creatures or humans with inhuman abilities but can be set in our own world.
- Futuristic Romance: Set in the future with fantasy and/or science fiction elements to it. Sometimes classified under paranormal romance but it’s a growing subgenre and some publishers give it its own.
- Time Travel Romance: Normally contains two different characters time travelling between two different periods of time to come together, whether on purpose or not.
Historical Romance: A romance story set in the past.
- Western Romance: Romance set in the old west time period.
- Regency Romance: Specifically set in the early 1800s in England.
Inspirational: Normally written with some kind of spiritual belief backing.
- Christian: Sex is not present until the couple is married and normally isn’t written about at all. The novel follows Christian beliefs and standards.
Gothic Romance: The atmosphere in this romance story is usually dark and mysterious, a bit close to horror as far as scare tactics and tone/mood go.
- Romantic Suspense/Action/Thriller: This emerged in the 1950s due to gothic romance. More on the drama end of the spectrum, these include intrigue and mystery elements. The heroine is normally an adventurer and/or isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. It’s more psychological.
Erotica: Feature sex quite a bit more than normal romance. The sex between the characters (not always just a couple) plays a large role.
- BDSM: Recently more popular and specific form of erotica, where the sex is BDSM.
Saga Romance: These stories take place over a long period of time, showcasing several generations of one family or families.
Chick-Lit: Much more lighthearted, down to earth, and sometimes amusing than normal romance. Concentrates on the woes of relationships and emotions but isn’t so whimsical.
Women’s Fiction: Novels for women but in which the romance doesn’t play the largest role in the written work. Doesn’t always adhere to the “happy ending, get together” rule.
REAL LIFE “ROMANCE” DRAMA
I categorized erotica, chick lit, and women’s fiction as subgenres of romance.
Some people don’t agree with this and believe each to be their own separate genres, outside of romance. But this is how I interpret it and I approached this as looking for the main “umbrella” genres (romance, fantasy, horror, etc.) when I began. Remember; I’m not an expert, this is entirely how I perceive the fiction genres. This doesn’t mean I’m right or wrong, it simply means this is my opinion. And we all know the saying that goes with opinions. 😉
So what do you think? Did I miss any subgenres? Was this helpful and easy to understand?