What is a romance novel?

For those of you who don't know, I am currently in the process of writing my first romance novel. I've read tons of romance novels and am somewhat a fanatic when it comes to the genre. I have a gift for writing, but I want to be sure to respect the genre that has brought me and millions of women joy and served as an escape from the dregs of everyday life. So my first order of business was to sit down and read the definition of a romance novel. 

According to the RWA website, a romance novel must have a "central love story" and "an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending," or a happily ever after (HEA). Of course, an author can throw in subplots or whatever else it takes to complete the story, but the two aforementioned elements are what make a romance novel a romance novel.

Then there are sub-genres, like: historical, paranormal, western, suspense/thriller, contemporary, erotic, christian/inspirational, and the list goes on. Some novels are hybrids of more than one sub-genre. For example: An erotic thriller.

Visiting the RWA website also answered a burning question for me: What is the difference between Contemporary Romance and Erotic Romance?

Well, according to RWA, Contemporary Romances are set in modern times and focus on the romantic relationship of the main characters unlike the sub-genres. Erotic Romance has sexually explicit scenes as a part of the very framework of the novel. In other words, without those scenes, essential parts of the story would be incomplete.

In case you were wondering, my novel is Contemporary African American Romance. 

I have already outlined my novel, chosen a title, and am in the process of finding a cover. All that's left to do is write it, I plan to do that during NaNoWriMo. I'll be bring you all along with my during this entire process, so, get ready!!


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