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Romance Novel

The romance novel or romantic novel is a literary genre. Novels in this genre place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." Through the late 20th and early 21st centuries, these novels are commercially in two main varieties: category romances, which are shorter books with a one-month shelf-life, and single-title romances, which are generally longer with a longer shelf-life. However in classical times, Romances were considered very basic literature and reading a romance a plebeian activity. Separate from their type, a romance novel can exist within one of many subgenres, including contemporary, historical, science fiction and paranormal. One of the earliest romance novels was Samuel Richardson's popular 1740 novel Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, which was revolutionary on two counts: it focused almost entirely on courtship and did so entirely from the perspective of a female protagonist. In the next century, Jane Austen expanded the genre, and her Pride and Prejudice is often considered the epitome of the genre. Austen inspired Georgette Heyer, who introduced historical romances in 1921. A decade later, British company Mills and Boon began releasing the first category romance novels. Their books were resold in North America by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd, which began direct marketing to readers and allowing mass-market merchandisers to carry the books. It is often claimed that the modern romance genre was born in 1972 with Avon's publication of Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Flame and the Flower, the first single-title romance novel to be published as an original paperback in the US, though in the UK the romance genre was long established through the works of Georgette Heyer, Catherine Cookson, and others. Nancy Coffey was the senior editor who negotiated the multi-book deal. The genre boomed in the 1980s, with the addition of many category romance lines and an increased number of single-title romances. Popular authors began pushing the boundaries of the genre and plots, and characters began to modernize. In North America, romance novels are the most popular genre in modern literature, comprising almost 55% of all paperback books sold in 2004. The genre is also popular in Europe and Australia, and romance novels appear in 90 languages. Most of the books, however, are written by authors from English-speaking countries, leading to an Anglo-Saxon perspective in the fiction. Despite the popularity and widespread sales of romance novels, the genre has attracted significant derision, skepticism and criticism.

Definition According to the Romance Writers of America, the main plot of a romance novel must revolve around the two people as they develop romantic love for each other and work to build a relationship together. Both the conflict and the climax of the novel should be directly related to that core theme of developing a romantic relationship although the novel can also contain subplots that do not specifically relate to the main characters' romantic love. Furthermore, a romance novel must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." Others, including Leslie Gelbman, a president of the Berkley Group, define the genre more simply, stating only that a romance must make the "romantic relationship between the hero and the heroine ... the core of the book." In general, romance novels reward characters who are good people and penalize those who are evil, and a couple who fights for and believes in their relationship will likely be rewarded with unconditional love. Bestselling author Nora Roberts sums up the genre, saying "The books are about the celebration of falling in love and emotion and commitment, and all of those things we really want." Women's fiction (including chick lit) is not directly a subcategory of the romance novel genre, because in women's fiction the heroine's relationship with her family or friends may be equally as important as her relationship with the hero. Some romance novel authors and readers believe the genre has additional restrictions, from plot considerations such as the protagonists meeting early on in the story, to avoiding themes such as adultery. Other disagreements have centered on the firm requirement for a happy ending. Some readers admit stories without a happy ending, if the focus of the story is on the romantic love between the two main characters (e.g. Romeo and Juliet). While the majority of romance novels meet the stricter criteria, there are also many books that are widely considered to be romance novels that deviate from these rules. Therefore, the general definition, as embraced by the RWA and publishers, includes only the focus on a developing romantic relationship and an optimistic ending.

" Stereotypes of the romance genre abound. ranging in number from trilogies to long-running series. For instance."Nonetheless.000-110. This is often considered a subgenre. the books are numbered sequentially within the line. which may involve similar settings. featuring rich. or about 55. can find their novels translated into 26 languages and sold in over 100 international markets. with a certain number of books published in each line every month. addiction. many people in the mainstream press claim that "all [romance novels] seem to read alike. usually no more than 200 pages.000 words. and are the most popular form of modern erotica for women. Even controversial subjects are addressed in romance novels. Despite their name. In many cases. Harlequin/Mills & Boon. typically between 350 and 400 pages. Depending on the current market and perceived reader preferences. but on average authors write 1. some believe that all romance novels are similar to those of Danielle Steel. the "author must pare the story down to its essentials. To write a successful novel of this length. including topics such as date rape.[12] most romance novels are told from a woman's viewpoint. Formats Romance novels are divided into two sub-sets. remaining on a bookseller's shelves until they are sold out or until the next month's titles are released and take their place.S. Single-title novels remain on the booksellers' shelves at the discretion of the store. specifying the elements necessary for a novel to be included in each line. but they are not considered series romances because they are not part of a particular line. There are no specific restrictions on what can or cannot be included in a romance novel. in other romance novels the characters do no more than kiss chastely. Some authors prefer to write several interconnected books. and may be labelled as "Number 1 in the XXX Series". or 100. Writers for the largest publisher of category romance.000 words. and plot elements does. Such sets of books often have similar titles. The romance genre runs the spectrum between these two extremes. levels of sensuality. but others. domestic violence. Although most romance novels are about heterosexual pairings there is a sizeable amount of romance novels that deal with same-sex relationships. Single-title romances Single-titles novels are romance novels not published as part of a publisher's category. Because women buy 90% of all romance novels. location. time periods. They are longer than category romances. glamorous people traveling to exotic locations. also known as series romances.As long as a romance novel meets those twin criteria. and single title romances. Subplots and minor characters are eliminated or relegated to the backstory. Publishers of category romances usually issue guidelines for each line. however. While some romance novels do contain more erotic acts. These novels have widespread distribution—often worldwide—and a single U. Despite the numerous possibilities this framework allows. print run. Category romance Category romances are short. characters. erotic and Christian lines have been introduced while traditional Regency romance lines have ended. help a novel to fit into one of several romance subgenres.5 novels per year and have one each year published. and disability. . single-title novels are not always standalone novels.[1] Many authors write only within one of the formats. Publishers may release the novels over a shorter space of time for sales velocity and publicity reasons. Romance novels are sometimes referred to as "smut" or female pornography. have achieved success in both formats. category romance lines each have a distinct identity. Many romance readers disagree that Steel writes romance at all. considering her novels more mainstream fiction. The books are published in clearly delineated lines. Most recently. The combination of time frame. so that they can revisit characters or worlds. or types of conflict. it can be set in any time period and in any location. publishers frequently begin new lines or end existing ones. category romances. in either first or third person. including Jayne Ann Krentz and Jennifer Crusie.