View Full Version : What makes it romance?

03-01-2005, 11:15 PM
I have (another) dumb question. What makes a novel a romance?

In another thread, somone said that Nicholas Sparks doesn't write romances, he writes "love stories." But in his books, the whole story is about the romance. So is it because they don't have a traditional happy ending, they're not romances?

What about a novelist like Anita Shreve? All of her books focus on romantic relationships, some with a traditional happy ending, some not. Is she considered a romance novelist?

I'm sure someone will say that Anita Shreve is mainstream. So is the difference who publishes the novel? If Harlequin published Anita Shreve, would she be a romance novelist?

Am I overthinking this or what? :confused:

03-02-2005, 12:12 AM
This is from Phyllis Taylor Pianka's book How To Write Romances.

What Makes a Romance Novel?

1. A heroine and hero (idealized)
2. A critical situation
3. Conflict
4. Romantic encounters
5. A resolution to the conflict
6. A happy ending in which the hero and heroine make an emotional commitment to each other.