Love is a universal force that binds us all together. Thus, it is no surprise that romance is a genre that exists in literature since the beginning of time. It is through love that we are all able to understand one another regardless of race, age, and language.
Not only that; the romance genre has so many subgenres (contemporary, historical, mystery, comedy, drama, or suspense), and if any of these fit your literary taste, there will always be a romance book waiting for you.
However, what comprises the romance genre? According to Romance Writers of America (RWA), a nonprofit organization, there are basically two elements in the romance genre: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying ending.
The story should mainly focus between two characters falling in love. To the author’s discretion, subplots may be included (as many as she or he wants) as long as love is still at the center. This is what sets a romance novel apart from others. Some stories may have some characters falling in love, but their love is not the focus. The novel will still feel complete even at the removal of the couple. Doing the same thing to a romance novel would not be applicable.
As for the ending, it is usually considered satisfying when the main couple is rewarded with a profound love after all the struggles they went through just to keep their relationship alive.
There are also two romance novel formats: series and single-title. As the series format suggests, these books are numbered in sequence. They are also published at regular intervals. As for the single-title romance books, they are longer than the ones that are in series and can either be hardcover or paperback.
Romance, however, is not only exclusive to books as there are also romance movies. The difference is, of course, the audience can already see the visuals and thus, may not need much the assistance of imagination. But the same concept still applies to the movies as in books.
According to RWA still, the romance genre gets the largest share of the consumer market. But why is this so? It may be because the hope of a happy ending is attractive to its readers, reminding them that it is possible to have one after all.
Be careful, however, as there are also downsides to the romance genre. It may be that it can present a more distorted version of reality where everything is all rainbows and butterflies. It is not always. Also, if an author has multiple romance books, it may be that she or he just changed the names, hair and eye colors, or any other physical attributes of the characters, but the story is essentially just the same.
It is important to remember that even though what you are reading has hints of reality, it is still fiction through and through.
Michaels, Leigh. 2008. “Studying the Romance Novel.” Writer’s Digest, July 8. Accessed January 17, 2017. http://www.writersdigest.com/qp7-migration-books/on-writing-romance-excerpt.
Romance Writers of America. n.d. “About the Romance Genre.” Accessed January 17, 2017. https://www.rwa.org/Romance.
Romance Writers of America. n.d. “Romance Subgenres.” Accessed January 17, 2017. https://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=579.