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#WritingTip The Romance Genre Label

Romance. There’s this whole genre in movies, books, and TV series. Even then, in other genres it sort of creeps in there somehow. It comes in different flavors and even speeds! No, seriously let’s take a look at some of these. I don’t list them all, but I figured I would focus on terms you may not know how to interpret or curious to know what is being revealed. I’ll list some titles, though you may not all agree with me and that’s ok. Check out some cool listings on GoodReads for these as well:

  1. Light Romance – No sexual content or very little sexual content, light-hearted, maybe a kiss is the peak to this. Often a light romance is a secondary element or the theme in a lot of Young Adult Romance love stories where “First time’s” elements are part of the process. The Hunger Games, Throne of Glass, Divergent –

  2. Slow-Burn Romance – We are being told it’s there, but it’s slow and increases in heat. Often this is the Romance we see where it’s the secondary element in the plot or story. Usually the world or an internal conflict is preventing the Romance from moving forward with ease. Poison Study, The Captive Prince Trilogy, Pride and Prejudice –

  3. Steamy, Hot, Spicy – These imply we are going to be getting the Full Monty not just once, but two or more times. In fact, these tend to have the Romance in the foreground or as a main element in the plot. No detail is left behind in the dark room, but doesn’t always imply it is Erotica in nature. If you want to teeter just on the edge, try Romance novels with these labels as part of the Romance label. Fifty Shades of Grey, Beautiful Stranger, Thoughtless –

  4. Sweet – Is referred to those Romances that keep the love elements tender, caring, gentle even. We get the full monty, maybe, but its a feel-good love exchange, not like your Fifty Shades of Grey. This is sweethearts, soulmates, without the awkward angry scenes you get in a Steamy Hot Romance title. The Fault in Our Stars, Hopeless, The Notebook –

  5. Clean – Yes, this is one and you should be aware of it. You see this more often in Christian subgenres, but a clean romance is a little of everything while keeping to the Light Romance expectations. This mean consent and marriage may be a big part of the romance, but you still are given the Adult perspective on the matter. It’s like a Young Adult Romance’s big brother or grown-up edition. Love on the Edge, Pride and Prejudice, The Goose Girl –

And Yes, Pride and Prejudice is listed in two parts so that I may cover this next fact about Romance: it can straddle more than one of these or even morph into the other. Granted, some shifts may be riskier than others, such as taking a clean Romance series and shifting it into Hot and Steamy would be a bad idea since these two readerships are turned off or away with the opposite of their likes. On another hand, any of these could be teamed with a Slow Burn Romance and once the characters make that love connection it turns into a Light, Sweet or even Hot and Steamy Romance.

I encourage you all to cruise these lists or find similar lists and see what titles you are familiar with. This can easily lead to other great reads that have just the right amount of romance for your reading palette.

For more information on the Romance Genre, head to the masters of the genre itself, the Romance Writers Association found here: 

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