Does Love Equal Romance?


That is the question I ask my devoted (if tiny) readership.

In other words, does a story with love as its central theme means that it is a Romantic Novel?

I ask because I had (and still have) a difficult time classifying this blog’s name sake book within a specific genre. Commercial fiction seems a bit bland and as long time readers know, I am not a fan of romance or some of its associated tropes.

Yet at the story ultimately revolves around a couple who find each other, break up and…well it forces the MC to face the truth about himself. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? I mean, if it is, I should not deny it, I’ll just end up sounding like a snobbish idiot (as Donna pointed out in a recent post).

Lets go back to the ye olde bullet pointes to see if we can sort this out. The story has the following elements:

  • Main character is a guy. 1st person narrative, full stop.  No heroine to the rescue.
  • A romantic plot involving the MC and a local woman. Not a plot tumor,as it is central to the character’s development, but it is one of several things that happen to and done by the MC during the story.
  • Sex: Yes please! But no throbbing this or pulsating that! In fact I pan to black (so to speak) when the action gets heavy. Also, no torn t-shirts, dangling panties or naked chests, well, there is this one time, but for the MC, is definitely a turn off.
  • Focuses less on “will they or won’t they” and instead focuses on what happens after they do.
  • It’s not just about romantic love, but also love of self, family, nation, place and even strangers.

So, am I in denial or what?

Help please!


Still plenty of time to dive into your local newspaper, news website or gossip column and come up with a fun seed for the “Behind the Headlines BlogFest” (click on the link for instructions). Starts Monday, April 5. Can’t wait to read your entry.

Oh, and I can’t believe I forgot to post this, but I wrote a guest post for  Plot Bunnies (formerly Crimson Ink). Thanks to the lovely Mireyah for posting it. Go check the it out as well as the rest of her most excellent blog. Rupert Jr. will thank you for it.


13 comments on “Does Love Equal Romance?

  1. You’re not in denial. Looks like the hero’s self-discovery is the focus here, not the whole romance formula thing.

    Love the term “plot tumor.” I’ve never heard that before!

    Just out of curiosity – do they get back together?


  2. Hmm. That’s a very good question.

    They do seem to go hand in hand, don’t they? But you can have romance without love, so why can’t you have love without romance?

    I agree with Kirsten, the hero’s self-discovery is the true focus, so romance doesn’t need to enter into it.


    • @Kirsten & Carol

      All well and good (I can keep my Manly Man Patch!), but how do you sell a journey of self-discovery, that is, in which genre/sub-genre do you shoe horn it? Inquiring minds who want to sell books want to know.



  3. Commercial? Literary? Mine, too, is hard to classify. In looking at agents I’ve found a few classifications that apply to mine, therefore these are the agents I’ll try (quirky, darkly comic, and straddles commercial/literary). Have you started that process yet?

    I think when in doubt you can always consider it commercial.


  4. It’s hard to know without knowing all the nitty gritty. Have you had some betas read it? Maybe they will be able to help.


    • @Southpaw

      I had a few, with mixed results (most off which I haven’t heard from since).


      Sorry, but I don’t want to spoil the ending! 😉


  5. Guess I’ll just have to buy it then 😉


  6. Literary can have a relationship as plot-central without being romance, IMO, depending (very much) on how it’s done.


  7. No, you’re not in denial. Books that deal with love, relationships, sex etc… are not the same as Romance Novels. Just take a glance at all the books in the general book section of a store that deal with those subjects, and then run over to the books in the Romance Section. There’s a strong difference in style and tone.

    Also, unlike books in the general section in which the ending can go either way, Romance novels must have the two protagonists getting together and presumably living happily ever after.

    Like Amy said, it’s how it’s done.


    • Than you both, Tasha and Amy. It isn’t formulaic and if it ever makes it to the book store shelf it will not have any shirtless fellow grasping a maiden by the waste will her hair whips in the wind.

      So no romance then. Although I have to admit I do like writing romantic plots just as much as I like to write war-based plots. They just are gold mines of conflict and tension.


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