Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Love Stories Are Not Necessarily Romances

I receive a lot of submissions for stories claiming to be romance but, in reality, these are just stories with either romantic elements or love stories. Although these stories share many of the same characteristics, they aren't quite the same thing. It is important for writers to know exactly what the genre is that they write so they can better market it to readers, editors and agents.

So what is a romance? Let's keep this short and sweet today.

When we think of a romance genre, we need to start with the central story arc. These are stories about relationships. When we read a romance, we are following the two characters as they grow together into a stronger relationship. The ultimate goal here is to get them to a happily ever after. This may or may not be marriage.

The level of sensuality is not a factor in romance. A lot of people feel that the sex level needs to be there for it to be a romance. They often believe if there is no sex, then it is women's fiction. Nope! Not the case! It is all about the relationship building.

Love stories have a focus on other elements and the relationship is not the key here. These stories may also end up without a happily ever after.

When I talk to authors during pitch sessions I often find myself really listening to what the authors are saying. If they spend the entire pitch (or query) talking about how the two are coming together, then we are likely listening to a romance. If the emphasis is on other elements, then we might be talking about love stories.

So, to test this, tell someone about your story, or simply tape yourself talking. Don't read the memorized pitch or read anything. Just talk. Then go back and listen to what is stressed. This will tell you a lot about what genre you write.

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