Before you write a romance, you need to know what kind of romance you want to write.

Here are some possibilities:

Contemporary: Boy meets girl in present time. They may have sex. They may not. Sometimes a girl meets a girl or a boy meets a boy, but not often.

Historical: Girl meets boy sometime in the past. Sex or no sex, it’s up to you. Regencies are a special subgenre of historical romance set during the British Regency. Think Almack’s and Austen and those funny high-waisted dresses.

Erotic: Girl meets boy. Maybe two boys. Maybe more. Perhaps boy meets boy (or boys) or girl meets girl (or several). Much sex ensues, usually with a variety of people.

Inspirational: Boy meets girl. They don’t have sex. If they do, they feel really guilty about it. Amish is a popular category of Inspirational. No sex. Lots of bonnets. Lots of buggies.

Paranormal: A boy or girl human (or vampire or fairy or shape shifter or otherworldly creature) meets a boy or girl vampire (or fairy or shape shifter or otherworldly creature). Sometimes they have sex. Sometimes they try to kill each other.

Romantic Suspense: Girl meets boy. Someone is trying to kill girl or boy or both. There may be dead bodies. There may be sex. There will not be sex with dead bodies. That would not be romance. That would be necrophilia.

Seriously, pick your pleasure.

Romance Writers of America explains romance and its subgenres.

Kaye Dacus goes into more detail.

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