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What is a Romance? : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

What is a Romance?

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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DrG2
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What is a Romance?

Postby DrG2 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 2:39 pm

How does it differ from a general fiction novel that describes a romantic relationship?

Metilda
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Re: What is a Romance?

Postby Metilda » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:37 pm


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mammamaia
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Re: What is a Romance?

Postby mammamaia » Sun Aug 18, 2013 12:07 pm

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James A. Ritchie
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Re: What is a Romance?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Tue Aug 20, 2013 12:28 pm

There's more than one kind of romance. They abound in type and definition. The only way to really know is to read about a hundred of them.

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DrG2
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Re: What is a Romance?

Postby DrG2 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:03 pm


Metilda
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Re: What is a Romance?

Postby Metilda » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:03 pm


James A. Ritchie
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Re: What is a Romance?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:57 am

Sounds like mainstream, to me. Maybe even "literary". But whatever it is, reading is the only answer. You have to find books that are similar, and see how the publisher classifies them.

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DrG2
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Re: What is a Romance?

Postby DrG2 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:48 pm

I don't know how I'd find similar stories. Google "novels with large sections describing relationships but aren't romances"?

I'm elaborating my ideas, and I think it will turn into a thriller. But, I'm having a huge problem with the idea of a novel with the inciting event 3/4 of the way in. (The beginning would be about the couple finally getting over their emotional impediments, then something from their past intrudes and threatens them, and it's big time thriller to the conclusion). I've thought of starting with the inciting event, then flashing back to the beginning of the relationship, then proceeding back to the event and the action that leads to the conclusion (I hate flashbacks, though). Just wondering if this is too non-formulaic to be salable as thriller. I could write a good query for it, but if an agent requests the manuscript they will be wondering when the thriller part begins and the relationship story ends.

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Re: What is a Romance?

Postby fatstagnation » Thu Aug 22, 2013 11:55 am

DrG, I think your idea is interesting and needs more fleshing out. Don't abandon it, just because you aren't sure of the genre yet.

It sounds like you have some great storytelling elements: A strong connection between two people causes them to (perhaps painfully) overcome their issues and have a relationship. Something huge from their past comes up and threatens that relationships just when it's starting to work.

Overcoming that last threat is the "final battle" or climax of your story. I don't like the idea of starting here and telling 3/4 of their story as flashback. I think the smaller acts of sabotage, the bumpy road, as you describe it, can be dramatic enough to build up to this climax. You say the ending is pure thriller, so make sure that some of the earlier battles are tense and have the same theme as the final climax. Use pacing and style to give a sense of foreboding and a thriller feel to the rest of the story.

Just my two cents of course!

Regarding genre - don't worry about it too much! Think about Bukowski's Post Office. It doesn't really fit a genre; definitely isn't "book club" literature. It's dark as hell but I am glad I read it and got to see through Henry's eyes.

Just tell your story and let others worry about categorizing it! :D

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DrG2
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Re: What is a Romance?

Postby DrG2 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:28 pm

I also wonder about a story about a relationship that is told from the male's POV.

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