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Exploring Subgenres in Romance Fiction

The world of romance fiction is so vast and exciting that it has to be explored when writing your romance novel! Whether you are writing a romance novel or you’re an avid reader of romance novels, knowing all of the romantic subgenres you can dive into can be a thrilling discovery!

In this article, we will uncover all of the subgenres in love stories that can make romantic fiction more exciting, diverse, and enjoyable to write and read.

The Thrill of Exploring Romantic Literature

If you think about romantic novels, you may have a limited perception of what makes a stereotypical love story. Though there’s nothing wrong with your standard, general love story, exploring all of the diverse, intricate, and exciting subgenres romantic literature has to offer can make reading and writing romance fiction more thrilling. 

There is so much you can discover when exploring different genres of romantic literature. You are introduced to various character types, plots, and storylines that can not only entertain you but also teach you about love. 

As a writer, exploring all that romantic literature has to offer can provide you with a thrilling writing experience. It can also help you avoid the challenge of coming up with fresh ideas and concepts for popular genres. You can find your niche as an author by trying out various subgenres. 

Popular Romance Novel Categories

The list of romance fiction subgenres is never-ending, as there are so many great types of literature for you to explore. The following novel categories are some of the most popular subgenres out there.

Romantic Comedy

Who doesn’t love a good rom-com? Romantic comedy stories exude a feel-good energy that can brighten your mood on any bad day. If you need a good laugh while uncovering a meaningful love story, this subgenre is the perfect option for you. But what makes rom-com novels so entertaining? These common themes and elements of rom-coms make them an enjoyable read:

  • Meet-cute: One of the most entertaining elements of a romantic comedy novel is the unique and unconventional meeting of the two love interests. 
  • Quirky characters: Romantic comedies often have fun, quirky, and eccentric characters that can make a novel fun to read.
  • Witty dialogue: The dialogue of a rom-com novel can be fun to read and write, as the dialogue includes witty banter.

Romantic comedy novels always end on a positive and wholesome note. This makes it a great subgenre to read when you need a pick-me-up.

Contemporary Romance

Contemporary romance explores modern concepts, trends, themes, and norms through literature. This era of romance literature is seen in any book written after 1945 set in the same year it was written. Some great examples of contemporary romance themes include the following:

  • Digital dating: With social media platforms and dating apps becoming increasingly popular, digital dating is a popular theme in contemporary romance literature. Characters in contemporary love stories often meet each other through online platforms, which can be relatable for readers. 
  • Modern setting: Contemporary romance novels are set in the period they are written in, whether it’s the 1960s or the 2010s. A novel is considered contemporary in this setting.
  • Everyday social issues: Romantic novels address daily social issues in modern society. These social issues include general struggles and issues individuals may have navigating their love life in a modern era.
  • Realistic relationships: These realistic relationships showcase three-dimensional characters that aren’t all good or all bad. They are flawed individuals in realistic relationships who experience trials and conflicts. This can give readers a realistic idea of modern-day love and relationships.

Using contemporary romance in a novel is a great way to promote inclusivity and empower your readers by providing them with literature they can relate to.

Diverse Romance Genres

As we take a look at popular contemporary themes in romantic literature, we should consider diverse romance genres that promote inclusivity. These are some important diverse romance genres you should look into:

  • Plus-size romance: Individuals of all shapes and sizes deserve to experience beautiful and romantic love. Including plus-size romance as a subgenre for your book can provide people in the plus-size community with great representation.
  • LGBTQI+ romance: Though there has been some LGBTQI+ representation in novels before contemporary romance novels, modern love stories showcase the romantic journeys of individuals in the LGBTQI+ community more frequently. This representation in diverse romance literature can make individuals a part of this community feel included.
  • Racial and cultural representations: With many authors doing more research on different cultures and backgrounds, romance novels are including more diverse characters.

Every individual deserves their own love story. Romance novels are a great way for people to escape into a world of love. Having access to diverse romance genres is crucial to providing each individual with the representation they need.

Historical Romance

Who says old-fashioned romance has to be left in the past? The subgenre of historical romance explores realistic periods before 1945 and the fictional love stories of their times. If you’re passionate about reading historical literature, you can explore novels that were written before 1945 or novels written after this period that are set in the past.

Romance has a rich history, as its literature began in the medieval ages. Exploring some of the classics in romantic literature can inform you of the evolution of romantic novels.

Erotic Romance

Want to write or read something spicy and exciting? Erotic romance is a risqué subgenre that has become increasingly popular over the last few decades. A good erotic romance novel develops strong characters that are well-rounded and relatable.

To write a successful erotic novel, you need to set the scene by building up sexual tension and writing engaging descriptions. Erotic romance also incorporates themes such as self-discovery and empowerment.

Romantic Suspense

If you’re a lover of romance but also have a soft spot for mystery and suspense, this subgenre is perfect for you. This element of suspense can add more tension and excitement to the plot while you follow the love story of the main characters.

The protagonist often portrays resilient characteristics that allow them to persevere through threatening or mysterious circumstances. When two characters are met with obstacles of suspense and mystery it can both cause intense emotional conflict and bring them closer together.

Inspirational Romance

Love has the power to inspire people. This subgenre is so valuable for readers seeking emotional escapism. Writing this form of romance is a great way to promote a positive message that makes readers optimistic about love. If you need a good read that makes you feel inspired and hopeful about love and life, this subgenre is worth exploring.

Paranormal Romance

You have a love for ghouls and ghosts, but you’re still a hopeless romantic? Paranormal romance is a subgenre that explores the world of the unknown through love. This supernatural take on romance includes love stories between characters such as vampires, ghosts, witches, werewolves, or other fantasy-related creatures.

Paranormal love stories can also have an element of forbidden love, making the novel more gripping. For example, a vampire and a human falling in love would be an unexpected love story, probably forbidden by other characters in the story. This secretive, taboo, and forbidden love can be an exciting read as you watch the story unfold. 

Single Parent Romance

Single-parent romantic novels can be a relatable and empowering subgenre to both write and read. The use of this subgenre is important for the following reasons:

  • Realistic representation: Single parents are a growing demographic that deserves representation. Showing single parents that love is possible for them, even if it’s less conventional and simple, gives them a positive outlook on love. 
  • Blended families: With love, relationships, and families being less conventional and non-traditional, romance novels should showcase these more modern family dynamics. Blended families are normalized through this genre of romantic literature.

Reading single-parent romance novels shows all single parents out there that their love stories are possible as well!

How to Write Different Romance Subgenres

If you’re an author or you’re looking to self-publish a romantic novel, making use of these various subgenres can take your book to the next level! The following tips can help you write a romance novel with suitable subgenres:

  • Ensure the subgenres fit in the plot: When introducing a subgenre in your romantic novel, you need to make sure it suits the plot of your love story. For example, if you’re writing a Christian romance novel, you’d want to avoid any erotic romance.
  • Do your research: When you are planning on using different subgenres, you need to do the necessary research to ensure you’re reflecting this subgenre accurately within your novel. Once you’ve done your research, write your novel, keeping your pacing and structure in mind.
  • Hire a ghostwriter: If you feel overwhelmed and have no idea where to start when using subgenres, hiring a ghostwriter may be what you need. A ghostwriter can help you explore all that romance literature has to offer. At The Urban Writers, we have professional ghostwriters skilled at navigating different subgenres.

When you learn how to make use of subgenres successfully in romance, you’ll be able to write a novel that keeps readers entertained.

In Summary

Writing a romance novel can be too broad and overwhelming because you don’t know where to start. Using these subgenres to find direction for your story can not only make your writing process more enjoyable but also make your novel more appealing to a specific target audience that is passionate about your chosen subgenre.

If you’re a romance bookworm, finding a subgenre you thoroughly enjoy can elevate this hobby to a new height! Explore romance for all it can offer and read about the different subgenres out there.

Now is the time for you to self-publish your romance novel that introduces readers out there to a variety of subgenres. Check out our services to see how hiring a ghostwriter can help you!

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