Monday, February 6, 2012


by Del Carmen

You want to write a romance, but do you know what kind? And, yes, Virginia, there are lots of different kinds of romance.  Here are some of the basics.


There are two recognized formats – series or single-title romances.

• Category romances are novels that are distributed in a sequential numbered series every month. Think Harlequin. They are the King in series/category romance. For example, Harlequin Presents, Desire, Blaze, etc.

• Single-title romances are just what their name implies – they are released as single books.


Now for the fun part--your genre. The main plot of course is boy-gets-girl and they live happily ever after, but setting, plot elements and even tone also helps to define and differentiate genres. And, nowadays, you can even mix and match.

• Contemporary Romance. Set in the “now,” in present time. Includes everything after WWII / 1945. (Note: Some publishers consider anything after 1900 a contemporary. Always research publishers before submitting.)

• Historical Romance. Just want it says, historical; novels set before WWII. These can be medieval, Regencies, Regency Historicals (yes, they are different), Westerns, Pioneer, Indian, Victorian, etc.

• Paranormal Romance. Everything from time travel to vampires to dragons to fairies to angels.

• Young Adult Romance. These are novels geared toward young adult readers, usually 14+. Think TWILIGHT, BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.


Within all these subgenres are more subgenres, a few which have become their own category. Below are a few of the more prominent examples:

• Inspirational Romance. Religious or spiritual beliefs play a big part in these novels and in the romantic relationship. Christian and Amish novels are included in this category.

• Regency Romances. Are romances written specifically during the Regency period of the British Empire. These have specific mannerisms, language, style. Think Jane Austen. Think Signet Regency Romances.

• Regency Historical Romances. These are also set during the Regency period, but they take liberties with the mannerism and language of the Regency period, and are wider in scope.

• Medical Romances. These were the original romances where the hero was always a doctor and the heroine a nurse or secretary. They are still popular.

• Romantic Suspense. These romances have lots of mystery and thriller elements in the plot.

• Novels with Strong Romantic Elements. These are novels that have a romance in them, but the romance does not headline the story. Nor is the HEA a guarantee. For example, BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY.

• Erotic Romances. Are romances that leave the door wide open and allow the reader to “watch” what goes on between the sheets, in the backseat, in the pool….well, you get the idea. These are both naughty and nice.


And, if you are scared to write a 80,000-word manuscript, you can always start small. Consider writing a short story in any of the genres above, or maybe try your hand at a confession. Writing these can help hone your craft and keep you motivated. Good luck and Happy Writing.♥

Del Carmen is the sexy alter ego of Maria Ferrer, who is looking forward to exposing more of herself. Visit her at

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