Here is a look at the popular types of romance novels out there.
There could be many reference books and how to books written on the different categories of romance novels. This list will introduce you to some of the most popular romances in today’s world and allow you to get to know them. You will see the challenges and the advantages of writing in each romance category.
Throughout history the romance industry has grown and changed with various types of stories coming and going. There are many that were popular at one time that are no longer popular. Here you will find the most popular romance categories. This will also tell you all about the category including the word count for each type of romantic novel.
Anthology: This type of romantic novel is generally made up of three or more novels. They will always have a common theme that ties them together. Each one of these stories will be by a different author. Some may be based on things like a story about witches or stories about a family heirloom that has been passed on for generations. Some stories may take place around certain holidays such as Christmas. Many anthologies will be set around the regency period and are historical.
Beginning authors do not start with anthologies. The publishers usually commission the authors who have been around for a while to construct the book. The word count for an anthology is generally around 25,000 to 35,000 for each story.
Chick-Lit: Chick-Lit is generally about women who have a steady career and have no desire to find the so-called Mr. Right. Some may be interested in Mr. Right Now. This person may want to date, maybe even marry in the future. In these stories, the heroine is usually in her mid-twenties and typically may have a dull but successful job. She may have roommates or friends that stay at her house. Heroines in these stories are generally more unconventional than in other romances. The heroine may swear, may drink a lot and may have sex with more than one person during the story. These things aren’t generally found in many of the romance novels out there, which has made these interesting for many women. Word count can vary between 50,000 words to 100,000.
Inspirational Romance: Religious figures are not a necessity in inspirational romance. The person may be a person of faith or even employed by a church, but the story may have someone who is just a typical person and not of any faith. Some include stories of people who did not believe who eventually found their way to some belief. Most often the story is someone trying to help someone who has lost their faith and trying to regain it. Many stories that have not made it in the inspirational world are ones where there is a supernatural presence. Angels coming down or God himself coming down has not been well accepted by many readers. Inspirationals that are popular include the person who has lost their faith in the book regaining it because of finding resources, courage and strength to restore his or her faith. Word count for this category is generally between 50,000 to 100,000.
Licensed Theme: These types of romances follow a specific theme agreed between the publisher and the commercial brand. Harlequin has an agreement with NASCAR where the stories are allowed to feature drivers, racing, cars and even the fans of the sport. This allows for trademarked items to be used as long as everything is used in a positive light. The word count for these types of stories varies per project and will depend on what the story is about and what the author includes.
Long Contemporary: Contemporary romance is set in the present instead of being set in a different time. These books typically have a very strong element allowing for mystery and suspense elements. These novels have a larger cast than many other books. These stories are always much longer and have a higher word count than other stories. Each one of these stories has unique requirements depending on the publisher. The typical word count for long contemporary is 70,000 to 85,000.
Mainstream: Mainstream romance novels are standalone novels that do not belong to any other category. The romantic element is present but not the entire focus of the plot. The story is about the heroine, and if the romantic element was removed the story would still be there. The word count for this type of story is around 100,000+.
Medical Romance: These types of novels involve something in the medical world. One of the characters will have a medical profession of some kind. The story will be about love and how the medical world comes into play. Some stories may have a significant event in the story and the couple meets because of it, while others may have them meeting because they work in a high-pressured situation. Some stories even happen where a main character may have a disease and is forced into a medical setting. The successful medical stories focus on more than just one thing happening and involve several different people in the story. Loose ends in these stories cannot be left hanging and need to be ended properly. Readers will want to know what happened even if the ending is not a happy one. Many people prefer these stories to be left on a happy ending, but many of them may not have a perfect happy ending. Editors will want to see some specific medical knowledge before they accept the books, so an author knows that he or she will have to make sure to do the research and have the facts right there in at hand. For instance, you will want to make sure that you visit these areas to get a realistic feel for the book.
Romantic Comedy: A romantic comedy is a story that is funny and made to make the readers laugh. The humor comes from the characters and their antics and the situations that they have to go through during the story.
One must always remember that silliness is not humor and just adding some jokes in does not make the story a romantic comedy. Adding a lot of puns to the story does not work as they are often easy to miss or overlook. While it may seem funny in your mind or on television, it will not transfer to paper.
Humor should not humiliate the characters and should make the heroine look on the bright side of life. Their biggest problems should not be a horrible thing to happen. Humor works on a smaller scale on paper, so many of the romantic comedies are shorter books. However, some single titles may be longer than others. The typical word count for a romantic comedy is 50,000 to 80,000.
Romantic Suspense: A romantic suspense is a story that the heroine and hero are involved where there is a threatening problem, mystery or suspenseful situation taking place. They are both involved in the story line and both are trying to figure out what is going on. There is a romance and it is not a subplot but the two heroes generally find out about it because of the threat to them. Once the problem is solved they end up together and in love.
One of the biggest mistakes in a romantic suspense is when someone else defeats the bad guy instead of the hero and heroine. The challenge in these books is to make sure that the story can stand correctly and is not overshadowed by any part of the suspense. The word count for these types of novels varies between 75,000 and 100,000.
Saga: A saga is a long novel that will follow the female character throughout her life and include her children and her grandchildren as well as other members of the family. There are usually several instances of romance throughout the story. It could include the loss of a husband or lover and can show how she moved on with another. Most of these stories show that the heroine has a strong drive to have a successful life. Word count is 100,000+.
Short Contemporary: A short contemporary is a novel that is more sensual, not quite erotic but with some erotic aspects. These books include sexual depictions but still focus on the love building between the two characters instead of the sex. These books focus on the hero and heroine, and there is no room for extra dynamic content. There still has to be some sort of conflict within the book while creating a highly charged relationship that has the characters having sex. The word count for these books ranges from 55,000 to 70,000.
Single Title: Single title books are promoted individually and are not part of any category of books. They get to stay on the market more than other books and are not replaced monthly. These types of books allow for many different stories. The hero and heroine can have deeper and darker pasts and even have bad habits. The bad guys in the story may be eviler than any other typical story. Some stories will be full of realistic features, while others may lean more towards fantasy. Some endings will be lower key and practical or some of the stories may feature an outlandish ending. Single title books and mainstream books are similar, but the romantic element will be stronger in single title books. There are generally 90,000 to 120,000 words found in this type of book.
Sweet Traditional: This is the original romance novel and includes highly emotional scenes. There is always sexual tension in these books, but they do not have highly erotic descriptions in the book. Some publishers will allow sex before marriage to be featured in the book, while others will not. Generally, within the books the reader will be taken to the bedroom door and that is it. No other details will be given.
Family connections and the girl next door are primarily featured in sweet traditional romances. Sugary does not have a place in sweet traditional and will not work well. There must be realistic issues and conflicts for the readers to be engaged. Emotions in these books need to be kept at an interesting level as well. Word count for these books is generally around 50,000 to 55,000.