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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've a client who's wanting to dip their toes in romance (just one, but trying to leave it anonymous :), though they may hop in later). I'm trying to explain the Romance genre to them, but sadly there's a lot of (erroneous) info that's confusing the issue. Of course, I think most of us (who read / write / edit) romance would agree that the two requirements for Romance are
1) The relationship plays a central part of the story
2) There's a happy ending (or happily for now)

But - they're finding stuff that classifies Twilight as romance. In my opinion, it's not. It's urban fantasy or modern paranormal, pick your poison, but it's not a Romance. Certainly the RWA wouldn't classify it as Romance, I don't think :)

Misinformation is making it really hard for me to educate on the genre. And yes, they're reading romances and I'm doing what I can to bring them up to speed, but I thought perhaps y'all could help :) I'd suggest Romance Divas but they're currently closed to new members. Thanks in advance!

ETA: Really good discussion going. Edited the subject to more accurately reflect the title (maybe)
 

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Sometimes in the past RD would make an exception for someone who knew someone and was serious about Romance (that sounds so, "what's the password")

I don't know what the Avon forum is like any more, but that (although, obviously they have an agenda bc it's part of their business model) Maybe reading through all the reader discussions on All About Romance might be good.

No one will judge a rom harder than true Romance Readers. They're always great resources.

Most local RWA chapters allow 1-3 "guest pass" visits to their monthly meetings. I'd highly recommend doing that as well.
 

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Danielle Steel was always shelved in the romance in my library and Barnes and Noble too, and I think that most casual readers would classify her as romance. Same with Nicholas Sparks. But neither is really romance, in the genre sense; Steel is women's fiction, and Sparks is fiction with romantic elements. The problem is that most people think of romance in the more general sense-- in discussions about what constitutes a romance, for example, people often bring up Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights as examples of "romances," without realizing that both are just about as far from genre romance as you can get. But when Barnes and Noble can't understand the distinction, how can you really understand people who don't read a lot of genre romance to get it?

In any event, your client will always be able to find sites that classify Twilight and other non-genre books as romance. That doesn't mean they're right. I don't know where to suggest you point your client, but getting him or her to read romances will help. It's always best to be familiar with a genre before you try to write it. And maybe as s/he reads, s/he may find him/herself drawn to women's fiction or urban fantasy or whatever, anyway.
 

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I will be one of the first to admit that I don't know much about traditional romance, but I have seen Twilight classified as "Paranormal Romance" a ton, and that is what I think of it as. The central part of the book revolves around a romance between two people, and their struggle to be together.

Someone who doesn't like a heavy romantic theme, will probably hate Twilight. Someone who likes a heavy romantic theme and isn't against paranormal elements, might like it.

I do however see the distinction between Romeo and Juliet and Romance, because while it has heavy romantic elements, the ending makes it a tragedy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, Catie.  I'll try and PM an admin and see if they'll let me sponsor someone as it were.  I've got a couple of peeps who'd like to join.  I think they open membership up around conference time.

And you're very right about a Romance readers being a tough crowd.  I want my HEA, dammit! ;-)

Meg: Yep.  I think the best research in the world is to read the genre, which they're doing, but meanwhile also reading articles.  Sometimes I think those articles are written by people who've never read even the back blurb on a Harlequin at the checkout line, so not the best source.

K: I think that's where my client's getting confused.  Romance readers would not classify Twilight as Romance.  You're missing the HEA until the end of the series.  A big thing, too, with romances is that even in a series you'd have a new couple every book.  I enjoyed Twilight, don't get me wrong.  But I'd never suggest it to someone as an example of the genre.
 

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Twilight is YA in my mind, nothing else. It has a huge romantic thread, but yeah.

If she wants to try out romance I suggest she grab a few really popular authors from the library like:

Julie Garwood: The Secret
Judith McNaught: Almost Heaven
LaVyrle Spencer: Morning Glory
Pamela Morsi: Simple Jess
Jude Deveraux: Twin of Ice

If she wants current paranormal, I suggest:
Kresley Cole
Thea Harrison
Meljean Brook
Gena Showalter
Larissa Ione


If she wants more romantic YA like Twilight, I suggest:
Aprilynne Pike
Kiersten White
Shannon Hale

 

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the problem is that there are multiple definitions of "romance".  the genre definition of it by romance readers is the one that Arkali first posted and would not include Twillight.  but a non-romance reader's definition might be broader.  and they'd include Twillight.  I'd include it as a PNR, but emphasis on the paranormal, not the romance.  and to me PNR is not a romance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Marjorie Liu, etc. would all disagree with you, Scarlet, about PNR being romance ;-) 

Thanks, Jill!  Glad they let you out to play :)
 

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I disagree about Twilight not being a romance. The romance arc is there throughout the series. Without the romance, there wouldn't be a series. In my mind that makes it PNR.

I think the confusion comes from the traditional romance definition. One man, one woman, usually told from both points of view and there is a complete story at the end with a HEA or HFN. The thing with PNR is there are a lot of books classified by publishers and stores as romance, where there is a romance or romantic story arc through the entire series based on the same two people. Usually these books are told in first person from the heroine's POV. My books are exactly like this. I put them in the PNR category and haven't had anyone complain ever (to me anyway).

Other examples authors who write series PNR that are not "traditional".
Katie MacAlister
Angie Fox
Mary Janice Davidson
Mindy Klasky
Jeaniene Frost


 

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Arkali said:
Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Marjorie Liu, etc. would all disagree with you, Scarlet, about PNR being romance ;-)
And you're right, Anne. These authors write traditional romance. The characters just happen to be supernatural.
 

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Deanna Chase said:
And you're right, Anne. These authors write traditional romance. The characters just happen to be supernatural.
but then they're not PNR. they're romance. that happen to be about vampires, or whatever. one of my favorite romance authors did some books with vampires. and i still consider them romances, not PNR.

but as with many things, it's in the eye of the beholder.
 

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telracs said:
but then they're not PNR. they're romance. that happen to be about vampires, or whatever. one of my favorite romance authors did some books with vampires. and i still consider them romances, not PNR.

but as with many things, it's in the eye of the beholder.
I'm not sure what you consider PNR then. Or are you saying it doesn't exist? Cause I assure you there are many readers who believe it does. :) If a romance has a vampire or a werewolf in it, I'm pretty sure the majority of us would classify that as PNR.
 

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Deanna Chase said:
I'm not sure what you consider PNR then. Or are you saying it doesn't exist? Cause I assure you there are many readers who believe it does. :) If a romance has a vampire or a werewolf in it, I'm pretty sure the majority of us would classify that as PNR.
As I said, it's a matter of focus. If the book is a romance with a supernatural protagonist and follows the genre rules (see arkali's first post), I see it as a romance. If a book is about vampires/werwolves whatever, and how they live/exist, and just happens to include a romantic aspect, and does not follow the romance genre rules, I categorize it as PNR.

As I said, it's all in the eye of the beholder. I'm not saying PNR is not a real genre, but I'm saying that it may or may not (depending on the book) be a sub-genre of romanace or a completely separate animal.
 

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I've read a ton of romances. The one thing that I expect the most is the HEA. When I'm in the mood for a romance, I won't read Sparks or Steele because you don't know what you're getting. Romances are for when you want guaranteed happiness. It would be like buying a lobster dinner and getting filet. Both are great, but it's not what you ordered.
 

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telracs said:
As I said, it's a matter of focus. If the book is a romance with a supernatural protagonist and follows the genre rules (see arkali's first post), I see it as a romance. If a book is about vampires/werwolves whatever, and how they live/exist, and just happens to include a romantic aspect, and does not follow the romance genre rules, I categorize it as PNR.

As I said, it's all in the eye of the beholder. I'm not saying PNR is not a real genre, but I'm saying that it may or may not (depending on the book) be a sub-genre of romanace or a completely separate animal.
I see now. Thanks for clarifying.
 

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If a book is about vampires/werwolves whatever, and how they live/exist, and just happens to include a romantic aspect, and does not follow the romance genre rules, I categorize it as PNR.
Paranormal romance is not an area in which I have a ton of expertise, so maybe I'm confused, but I thought PNR stood for "paranormal romance." To me, that would be a romance with paranormal elements, and what you're describing is the reverse, paranormal fiction with romantic elements. I would call that simply "paranormal." But I will freely admit I could be wrong *shrugs*.
 

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MegHarris said:
Paranormal romance is not an area in which I have a ton of expertise, so maybe I'm confused, but I thought PNR stood for "paranormal romance." To me, that would be a romance with paranormal elements, and what you're describing is simply paranormal. But I will freely admit I could be wrong *shrugs*.
you're not wrong, because it's all subjective. we may read the same book and i see it as straight paranormal with a touch of romance, someone else may feel it's a romance with a touch of paranormal.

if a book follows arkali's guidelines for romance, i see it as a "romance", no matter what that characters are. if it doesn't follow those guidelines, it doesn't fit the genre.

as i said before, there's a difference between the genre definition of romance that romance readers expect and the general definition of romance. but genre romance readers will come down really hard on someone calling a book their selling as a romance if it doesn't have an HEA/HFN.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Paranormal Romance is a subgenre of Romance.  There's also just paranormal, which is a different animal.

Deanna, I'd classify your stuff as urban fantasy.  It's in the same genre as Ilona Andrews's Kate Daniel series, Nalini Singh's Archangel (or Guild or whatever it's called) series, the Mercy Thompson books by Patricia Briggs, etc.

A lot of people who like paranormal romance will also like the subgenre of urban fantasy (itself a subgenre) that features a strong female lead like those above.   That's why you see a LOT of the authors writing both.  Marjorie Liu, for instance, has her Dirk & Steele books (paranormal romance) and then she's also got her Hunter Kiss books (urban fantasy).  The key difference and the quick way to tell them apart?  

The Romance novels will feature
* A new couple each book
* The couple will get their HEA / HFN

The urban fantasy books will have
* The same protagonist from book to book
* While there will often be a love interest, they often don't enter into a relationship three or four books into the series
 

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PNR is romance. Its Paranormal Romance. Its a sub genre under the romance umbrella. It is as much romance as historical romance, contemporary romance etc. All romance.

What isn't romance is UF. Urban fantasy. There might or might not be a romance thread with one couple throughout the books, but its not guaranteed.

In PNR the focus is still the romance, just with a different setting and world building as contempo and historical. I am not sure I understand the confusion. If PNR is not romance, what is. Does that mean HR are not romance either? Only contempo themes are? Only category is? Course not.

I think the mistake that those that don't read romance make a lot of times, they think its a very narrow genre. One little box of fluff and sunshine. Or some think romance are the harlequins at the checkouts only. It is a huge genre with lots of sub genres. I read all of them. They are all very very different. Some are sweet, some are witty and funny, some are very very dark.
But they are still all romance.

I wouldn't call Twilight romance either. Its YA with strong romantic elements. And Sparks is very much not romance. He himself doesn't want to be besmirched by that label.
He writes basically sappy formulaic romance and then kills the characters so that his books get taken off the romance shelf.  :D.

Only way one knows about the genre romance, is read it. It would be like me making assumption about the fantasy genre after reading a couple of books and not really knowing anything about it.
 

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Don't over-complicate this. 'Romance' means everything hinges on two characters falling in love with one another.

You can change the flavor all you like with genres and sub-genres and ratios and rules and non-rules and tropes, but the core conflict is always 'he loves me, he loves me not'.

So yes, Twilight is a romance because Bella and Edward's relationship -- as hotly contested as it might be -- drives absolutely everything that happens.
 
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