PDA

View Full Version : Romance Sub Genres - defined



JuliePgh
06-04-2005, 05:30 AM
I'm not familiar with the subgenres of Romance, or the nuances, but I have a romance in my SFF novel. I feel torn on how to view/classify my novel. is it a romance sub genre or a science fiction sub genre? Currently, I refer to is as my SFF novel only because I read in the SFF genre and have read a few novels with romance as key elements in the plots. Some of these are called Space Operas.

My novel has elements of science fiction (in that it ocurrs in space, between worlds I created) and perhaps some elements of fantasy (but very minor). I have a romance between my main characters that is a crucial part of the plot, if not the main driver of the plot. I don't view my novel as Romance, because it doesn't have a lot of "romantic" scenes or "flowery language" (and I apologize if that is sterotyping the Romance genre), but I do spend a lot of time on the characters' feelings and motivations surrounding one another. I have a lot of action/adventure and combine both internal and external problems.

So, can anyone offer me guidance, based on my description, as to whether I fit into a romance subgenre or science fiction subgenre? Or is this a simple case of cross over that can go either way, depending on how I market it to agents and publishers? Thanks

writerjenn
06-04-2005, 06:25 AM
Hi Julie!

Sounds to me that it could be a cross-genre sort of novel. If a big part of the story is your romance plot, you probably would have better luck marketing it as a romantic fantasy/sci-fi but again, all depends on which publisher you target.

Just my take on it.

Jenn



I'm not familiar with the subgenres of Romance, or the nuances, but I have a romance in my SFF novel. I feel torn on how to view/classify my novel. is it a romance sub genre or a science fiction sub genre? Currently, I refer to is as my SFF novel only because I read in the SFF genre and have read a few novels with romance as key elements in the plots. Some of these are called Space Operas.

My novel has elements of science fiction (in that it ocurrs in space, between worlds I created) and perhaps some elements of fantasy (but very minor). I have a romance between my main characters that is a crucial part of the plot, if not the main driver of the plot. I don't view my novel as Romance, because it doesn't have a lot of "romantic" scenes or "flowery language" (and I apologize if that is sterotyping the Romance genre), but I do spend a lot of time on the characters' feelings and motivations surrounding one another. I have a lot of action/adventure and combine both internal and external problems.

So, can anyone offer me guidance, based on my description, as to whether I fit into a romance subgenre or science fiction subgenre? Or is this a simple case of cross over that can go either way, depending on how I market it to agents and publishers? Thanks

sunandshadow
06-04-2005, 07:07 AM
IMHO, on a bookstore shelf it would be either Futuristic Romance or regular Science Fiction, depending whether the focus is on the romance or the rest of the plot.

dragonjax
06-06-2005, 04:42 AM
Paranormal romance and romantic fantasy are hot items. Check out both LUNA Books' and Tor's Paranormal line for guidelines.

veinglory
06-06-2005, 12:22 PM
There are gradations. If it meet the requirements of genre romance (relationship focused, happy ending etc) I was call it sf romance (a rare but rather popular thing). If it is more adventure with a strong romance subplot you would be more in the range of Harlequin Luna or Tor paranormal. And if it is mainly sf but with a romance like Bujold for example, I would call it space opera.

Cathy C
06-06-2005, 07:57 PM
Actually, JuliePgh, from your description, you're writing either fantasy or science fiction, depending on how extensive and how critical your use of "hard science" is to the plot.

I write paranormal romance, and they're both part of a much bigger grouping of romance, called FFP (Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal,) or SFF (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Futuristic) or just plain paranormal. Many people wonder what an "otherworldly" book should be called, so here are some guidelines:

Futuristic: A futuristic novel is one that is from 2006-infinity, but is EARTH-BASED! This means that you are using humans as they exist on Earth that may or may not interact with other species that have yet to be discovered, or dealing with a world very different than what we know know (whether from natural catastrophe, alien invasion, world politics, etc., etc.) The future world must have rationale that is understandable. For example, humans don't have green blood. They will probably NEVER have green blood, so don't try it. But Vulcans (Star Trek) DO have green blood, so that's okay. Star Trek is a tricky one, because it IS science-fiction, and it IS futuristic, and big chunks of it ARE fantasy. It's generally considered science-fiction, for the record.

Fantasy: The biggest issue with the fantasy sub-genre is the concept of "world-building." Fantasy novels come in two breeds: One is a different world, with creatures that don't exist on earth, that may or may not talk, etc. The other fantasy is "alternate reality." An alternate reality is one which follows Earth history except for one or two things. The Laurell K. Hamilton, Anita Blake world, for example is a good example. Vampires have always existed. But they were hunted like rats -- UNTIL the United States Supreme Court declared them "not dead". Suddenly, vampires could own property, adopt children (since they couldn't bear them on their own), marry, divorce, etc. Probates for "dead" relatives were unwound and life generally was upended. The key to a fantasy romance is making the fantastical elements an equal partner to the regular ones. So the guy is a vampire -- some are jerks and some are sweeties. It's an ELEMENT of the personality, but they don't have to fall into "set" requirements, because it's NOT REAL, so it doesn't have to adhere to known legends.

Science Fiction: This is often confused with futuristic and fantasy, but the goal of science fiction is the USE OF science in the story. Whether the story is set in 2005 or 3035, hard science that is well thought out is key. The Time Machine or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, if they incorporated romance would be science fiction, but not necessarily futuristic or fantasy.

Time Travel: Also a close contender for futuristic. After a long and... ahem, spirited discussion among the authors in the FF&P chapter of RWA, we determined that the difference between futuristic and time travel is one key element. Susan Grant's The Scarlet Empress was the issue at hand -- should it be entered in the RITA under time travel or under futuristic. The joint decision was made that it was futuristic, because THE HEROINE COULD NOT RETURN HOME. Susan's heroine was cryogenically frozen and re-awoken in 2176 to save the world from a "new world order". It was science fiction, and futuristic and was a woman from the past thrown into the future. But we finally all agreed that for time travel to be a key element in the novel, the hero or heroine must have the ABILITY to return to their time, whether or not they choose to do so. Otherwise, it's in a different category.

Paranormal: The key element of a paranormal is LEGEND. Werewolves are legend, and so are vampires, pixies, fairies, doxies, living mummies, etc. A paranormal is PARA or "resembling or imitating" NORMAL "real life". Most vampire romances fit this category. There is a handed down legend or fable or "this really happened!" account of something outside the ordinary that we don't generally believe but aren't complete convinced COULDN'T happen. While it can be set in the future, the past or the present, the key is that everything ELSE is normal, except for the addition of this one element.

Does that help any?

JuliePgh
06-06-2005, 08:16 PM
Wow, Cathy! That's quite a breakdown, thank you. I believe, based on the above definitions, mine is science fiction. I use two "other" worlds, though the laws of physics parallel earth, as does the populace in most ways.