What does a Romance Novelist do?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

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.

Love is often a theme employed by romance novelists.
Love is often a theme employed by romance novelists.

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 work of romance writers combines love stories with themes like heroism.
The work of romance writers combines love stories with themes like heroism.

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.

Love in a romance novel typically follows a predictable and optimistic path.
Love in a romance novel typically follows a predictable and optimistic path.

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.

Romance novels are particularly popular among adult women.
Romance novels are particularly popular among adult women.

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.

A romance novelist may write a stand-alone romance or contribute to a series.
A romance novelist may write a stand-alone romance or contribute to a series.
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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