The Romance Genre Part 1

Romance is the best-selling genre out there. And the largest. And the hardest to define. Wikipedia has a short, simple, to-the-point definition of romance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romance  According to wiki, Romance emphasizes love over libido. I’ll go with that because it’s a definition that answers a question I’ve had for quite some time about the romance genre.

I wondered how erotica can be considered romance when the entire book consists of one sexual encounter after another and very little else. I used to think it was porn disguised as romance. I now know that it is a romance as long as the emphasis is on love, not libido.

When I read that definition of romance I remembered reading an interview with a writer of erotica who is also a professor of literature at a prestigious university, a respected writer of literary fiction, and the child of famous, literary authors. When asked why she writes erotica she said she did it because she enjoys it. She enjoys erotica. That made me think. I eventually realized that erotica, like car chases, appeals to some people and not to others and if the emphasis is on the romance, then it’s a romance.

I realized that some people enjoy reading detailed descriptions of human plumbing. I don’t. But, if it fits the story, I find the details of plumbing in a space ship quite interesting. Remember the first Star Wars movie where the main characters almost drowned in garbage? That was a wonderful scene, it was plumbing though not of the human kind. And the Star Wars series qualified as romance.

The romance genre contains a lot of sub-genres, as any best-selling genre must, of necessity, in order to accommodate every reader’s taste And the only thing that’s essential is that the emphasis be on love, not libido.

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