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Romance Subgenres

Last week, we explored the Road Trip skeleton. This week, we break down Romance subgenres. Hands down, Romance has one of the largest audiences and there are hundreds of "flavors" from mild to spicy to choose from.

1. Contemporary romance is the highest-selling subgenre and is defined by obstacles to love that occur post World War II to modern day. It is often combined with or related to the term “women’s fiction.”

2. Historical Romance explores obstacles to love that occurred prior to World War II and may feature elements of mystery or “damsel in distress.” It includes categories such as Regency Romance. Few are published in hardcover.

2. Romantic Suspense combines the Romance structure with a subplot from the Mystery or Thriller genres. These are typically contemporary settings, but can be historical settings. Girl and boy meet, one saves the other and they end up as a couple when the ordeal is over.

3. Paranormal Romance combines the Romance structure with a Fantasy or Horror subplot. Normal or otherworldly boy meets girl and faces paranormal threats but lives happily ever after. These typically include vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, or witches. They can also add elements of other subgenres such as Thriller, Mystery or Chick lit, but the focus is on the romance and the paranormal elements.

4. Science Fiction Romance combines the Romance structure with a Science Fiction subplot. The setting is in a future time or a parallel version of our own world, but the focus is on how their relationship survives the obstacles.

5. Romantic Fantasy combines the Romance structure with a Fantasy subplot that features dragons, wizards, fairies, merpeople, etc.

6. Time Travel Romance has a time travel twist, incorporating both contemporary and historical obstacles to love.

7. Christian Romance features chaste and Christian-themed obstacles to love. The story problem is influenced by, and often solved by, the character’s faith.

8. Multicultural Romance mixes ethnic, nationality, and cultural obstacles to love.

9. LGBT Romance can be set any time or place utilizing characters that are homosexual or bisexual and the obstacles they face to their love from self, society, family, etc. They can adopt obstacles from other genres as long as a main character is LGBT.

10. Erotica imbues the romance structure with sexually explicit content.

Next week, we examine the story building blocks for the Romance genre.

Check out the newly released Romance Build A Plot Workbook available in print and e-book.

For more about how to craft plots using conflict check out, Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict available in print and e-book and explore the free tools and information about the series on my website.

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