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Questions about romance sub genres

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rachelviola

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I wrote a romance novel that I think might be contemporary romance, but there's a very subtle paranormal element to it that doesn't totally come together until the last two chapters (as it stands now). It's kind of a twist ending. How do I describe the genre then? There's a slight/mystery/thriller component to it as well, but very subtle. Mainly, it's a story about two characters very much set in our world. But there are some fishy things happening that the main character thinks are just in her head or that she's too preoccupied with other things going on to take seriously. Then boom...there's a kind of out of left field ending.

Notwithstanding the possibility I have to totally rewrite this and make it more firmly footed in one genre (which might be the case), how would I categorize genre as it stands?

Oh, also as it stands, there's a heavy erotic component. I bring this up as an afterthought because I could totally cut out the erotic part and just have it be a romance. I haven't decided what to do about that yet.

But...if it's a romance without the erotic stuff, what would I call this? I feel like contemporary romance is the best fit. The paranormal element is too subtle and I think calling it paranormal romance would be misleading.

And if I keep the erotica...is it simply erotic romance? Or contemporary erotic romance?

Finally, what do you think in terms of trying to pitch this. Better with or without the erotic element? I feel like the label erotic romance narrows audience and takes the emphasis off the characters and the story when they're the most important part. But I think the erotic parts make it fun and more real than a story without them. Because isn't that a huge part of a romance between two people?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
 

Jan74

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hmmm...well, even "normal" romance can have detailed sex scenes and that doesn't mean it's "erotica". To me erotica is when the book is based on the intense sex, if you took out the sex there wouldn't be much left of the book. So if you can easily take out a sex scene then I don't think it would be erotica necessarily. I think the key to a romance is a HEA ending, so as long as your mc end up together at the end you should be fine labeling it romance.

Sorry I'm not much help...it's the blind leading the blind lol. I'm sure someone with way more knowledge then me will come in and help you :)
 

rachelviola

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No that is helpful...I feel like I should've mentioned why I feel what I've written is erotica -- because of the more graphic language and descriptions I use. It might be treading the line but I think if I softened the language a bit and made it a little more...idk...romantical? as opposed to pornographic. then it would be straight up romance and not erotic romance. i kind of prefer something a little grittier though because it feels more real to me.
 

lizmonster

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No that is helpful...I feel like I should've mentioned why I feel what I've written is erotica -- because of the more graphic language and descriptions I use. It might be treading the line but I think if I softened the language a bit and made it a little more...idk...romantical? as opposed to pornographic. then it would be straight up romance and not erotic romance. i kind of prefer something a little grittier though because it feels more real to me.

It's my understanding that the difference between romance and erotica has nothing to do with the level of heat. As long as the story is more about the emotional relationship than the sexual relationship, you can get as gritty as you like and still be romance.
 

cool pop

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It's my understanding that the difference between romance and erotica has nothing to do with the level of heat. As long as the story is more about the emotional relationship than the sexual relationship, you can get as gritty as you like and still be romance.

That's true. It has nothing to do with heat level. There are some sex scenes in romance stories that would make erotica authors blush! I've written some ultra steamy (5 flames scorching hot) romance scenes in some of my romantic suspense books, so the high heat isn't just for erotica.

This blog post from RT Book Reviews explains the difference between erotica and romance: https://www.rtbookreviews.com/rt-da...difference-between-steamy-romance-and-erotica

What can be confusing is erotica vs. erotica romance but there is a difference between those as well.
 
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Fallen

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It might be treading the line but I think if I softened the language a bit and made it a little more...idk...romantical? as opposed to pornographic.

This doesn't sound like you've been exposed to too many romance novels. That's your best point of call to see how sex is/isn't handled in romance, and why it's still classed a romance even when it does/doesn't have sex in it, no matter how on page the sex scene gets. And sex can get very, very, very gritty in romance, as most have said. :)
 

gingerwoman

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I wrote a romance novel that I think might be contemporary romance, but there's a very subtle paranormal element to it that doesn't totally come together until the last two chapters (as it stands now). It's kind of a twist ending. How do I describe the genre then? There's a slight/mystery/thriller component to it as well, but very subtle. Mainly, it's a story about two characters very much set in our world. But there are some fishy things happening that the main character thinks are just in her head or that she's too preoccupied with other things going on to take seriously. Then boom...there's a kind of out of left field ending.

Notwithstanding the possibility I have to totally rewrite this and make it more firmly footed in one genre (which might be the case), how would I categorize genre as it stands?

Oh, also as it stands, there's a heavy erotic component. I bring this up as an afterthought because I could totally cut out the erotic part and just have it be a romance. I haven't decided what to do about that yet.

But...if it's a romance without the erotic stuff, what would I call this? I feel like contemporary romance is the best fit. The paranormal element is too subtle and I think calling it paranormal romance would be misleading.

And if I keep the erotica...is it simply erotic romance? Or contemporary erotic romance?

Finally, what do you think in terms of trying to pitch this. Better with or without the erotic element? I feel like the label erotic romance narrows audience and takes the emphasis off the characters and the story when they're the most important part. But I think the erotic parts make it fun and more real than a story without them. Because isn't that a huge part of a romance between two people?

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
Is it kind of funny quirky because some chick lit type romance is mostly contemporary with a slight paranormal element. Having explicit sex in your book doesn't make it erotica.
 

veinglory

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Your book sounds to me like simply contemporary romance. If you wan tot be sure get a beta-reader familiar with the subgenres to have a look at it.
 

Jan74

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See I knew others with much more knowledge than I would step in :)
 

rachelviola

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Great...thanks so much! I guess I thought it was erotica because of the words I was using. Most romance I looked at were going out of their way to not use the p and c words and stuff like that. And the ones that did came up as romance/erotica when I bought them off amazon. Maybe it was a miss-classification because I wrote this based kind of on what I gathered from reading those books. Yes, I don't typically write/read romance but wanted to try something different. I'd love suggestions on good reads! and good insight veinglory on the beta reader idea...it's a draft away from a serious beta read and I think I should research more based on your responses! many thanks :)
 

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It's my understanding that the difference between romance and erotica has nothing to do with the level of heat. As long as the story is more about the emotional relationship than the sexual relationship, you can get as gritty as you like and still be romance.

This is my understanding too. There are different "heat" levels in romance too, from very steamy and graphic to completely chaste (with sex not even implied). As others have said, a story is erotica when the sex itself drives the characters' journey, romantic or otherwise. Romance requires a central love story and a HEA.

I've read contemporary novels that contain paranormal elements that are not actually paranormal in focus or intent. Often they leave the true origin or nature of inexplicable experiences up in the air. I read a recent Judy Blume novel (*for adults, not one of her kids' books) that had a character who thought she was possessed by a spirit, for instance, and it was never completely clear if this was so or not.
 

edutton

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why I feel what I've written is erotica -- because of the more graphic language and descriptions I use. It might be treading the line but I think if I softened the language a bit and made it a little more...idk...romantical? as opposed to pornographic. then it would be straight up romance and not erotic romance. i kind of prefer something a little grittier though because it feels more real to me.
We're living in an era where even in Regencies (once a solid bastion of the "sweet" (that is, non-explicit) romance story), the men usually have cocks and there's a fairly set and predictable banging progression. You may want to do a little wider reading in the genre.
 

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