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What does a Romance Novelist do?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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A novelist is a person who is the author or one or more novels, a literary form with many genres, including adventure, fantasy, historic, mystery, romance, science fiction, thriller, and western, among others. The basic characteristics that distinguish a novel are that it is a fictional prose narrative, usually divided into chapters and longer than 50,000 words. A romance novelist is an author who writes novels in the romance genre.

A romance novelist is not, as they name might suggest, simply someone who writes love stories. Love stories can actually occur in many different genres. Rather, a romance novelist writes a particular type of love story defined by the genre romance. In the romance novel, adventure, as well as love, is often a theme. The hero or heroine may face deadly peril, enslavement, or other harrowing adventures.

The union of the lovers is often a goal that is thwarted through most of the book only to be achieved at the end. Alternatively, the lovers are united early but their happy union is interrupted by a twist of fate, and the rest of the book follows them until it can be re-established.

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A romance is a fictional narrative that had its roots in early Gothic novels that had key features of innocence pitted against malevolence and an atmosphere of gloom and fear. Some of these featured a doomed love story. Today, the romance novelist often chooses from a typical Gothic setting, exotic settings far away from the usual, mundane life of the reader, or historical settings. Often, at least one of the main characters is wealthy or a noble, albeit possibly in disguise, allowing a wider choice of settings.

A romance novelist may write a stand-alone romance or contribute to a series. Romance novels now appear as print books, ebooks, movies, and in other forms. The romance novelist can count on a readership that is nearly completely homogenous in one respect: 90.5 percent of all romance novels are read by women.

There are several professional organizations to which a romance novelist may belong, depending on his or her location. In the United States, there is Romance Writers of America. In the UK, there is The Romantic Novelists’ Association. According to the Romance Writers of America, new romance titles in 2008 numbered 7,311, during which year 74,800,000 individuals read a minimum of one romance novel.

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