Most Popular Fiction Genres – Make the most money (2022)
- Romance: Romance novels generate over $1.44 billion in revenue annually, the highest-earning fictional genre, 66% of adult fiction sales
- Crime & Mystery – $782.2 million
- Religious/Inspirational – $720 million
- Science Fiction/Fantasy – $590.2 million
- Horror – $79.2 million
- Historical Fiction
- Young Adult
- Children’s Fiction
Romance = a feeling of mystery and excitement associated with love.
Romantic Elements in Romance Fiction = a central love story AND an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending
Emotion = a conscious mental reaction subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body
- Life Observations – How someone experiences in their body and mind something in their environment.
- Memory – Recalling in detail something, using the senses, to convey the feelings remembered.
- Body – Where in the body the person reacts to something or someone.
- Voice – Using the person’s tone of voice and behavior to show the emotions felt.
- Body Language – Physical reactions to show more than what a person says.
- Form – Change of pacing in sentence and paragraph structure to show anger, action, sadness, etc.
Testing Your Emotional Descriptions
- Print out your chapter or story.
- Use a highlighter to mark words that express emotion, whether it’s in your character’s inner thoughts, setting, or dialogue.
- There should be emotion and conflict on every page.
- Go back and rewrite those highlighted emotions, trying to infuse them with deeper emotions.
Range of Romantic Fiction
- Very limited sensuality, maybe one or two kisses.
- Quoted scriptures, written-out prayers, and sermons.
- Limited sensuality/physical contact, kisses are okay.
- A bit of physical attraction but not “lust.”
- Little to no quoted scripture, no sermons.
- Plot is driven by emotional intimacy.
- Clean, no sex and no swearing.
- No religious/spiritual content.
- Think Hallmark movies.
- Plot and character development are driven by the romance and emotional aspects of the relationship.
- Kissing, heavy petting, but no body parts explicitly mentioned.
- Actual sex takes place behind closed doors/off page.
- Think Lifetime movies.
- This is the majority of mass-market romances sold.
- Readers expect to find several sex scenes, terminology is toned down a bit.
- Plot is driven by the sexual relationship and contains strong emotional impact.
- Hottest of the hot, no holds barred.
Stages in a Relationship
- Brain releases a mixture of chemicals that make your heart thump and more
- See the world through rose-colored glasses
- Ignore your partner’s flaws
- Believe love will last forever
- Power Struggle
- Feelings of disappointment and anger seep into the relationship
- One partner may pull away, the other feels emotionally deserted
- Couple must establish independence without destroying the love connection
- Thrill of love returns
- Both accept that they will never change the other
- Develop boundaries that both accept
- Accept each other’s shortcoming
- Consciously choose to be together
- Agree to be together and work together in the world, in a business, a family
Stages of Intimacy
- Holding hands
- Closed mouth kissing
- Open mouth kissing
- Clothes come off
- More intense touching
- More, more, more
Body Language of Attraction
- Feet – Face toward a point of interest.
- Behavior – Subconsciously mirror the behavior of someone you like.
- Eyes – Pupils dilate; women flutter eyelids, look up and to side; man flirts with a wink.
- Cheeks – Blushing
- Posture – Welcoming pose by facing word another person.
- Head – Subtle head tilt when speaking to another person.
- Touch – An arm/shoulder touch, playful tap.
- Eyebrow – Quick eyebrow raise indicates interest, flirting.
- Lips – A woman subtly bites lip to indicate attraction.
- Nostrils – Flaring nostrils can indicate either anger or excitement.
- Preening Gestures – Women play with hair, toss hair.
- Voice – A woman’s voice becomes high pitched; a man’s voice becomes lower-pitched.
Adding Romantic Elements to Mysteries
- Add a subplot to develop a romantic relationship. It can raise the stakes for the protagonist by adding tension.
- Protagonist can be torn by wanting to protect the other person and fearing the other person’s motives are suspect.
- Romance adds emotional depth to the lead character by forcing the protagonist to act out of his/her comfort zone or make choices under pressure.
- In a mystery series with a romance subplot, the relationship will have ups and downs in subsequent books.
- Sex may occur off-screen, letting the reader use their imagination.
Adding Romantic Elements to Science Fiction
- Introduce a strong character deeply committed to a cause to someone of the opposite sex who is equally strong and committed.
- The need for each other must go both ways.
- One character offers the other character something that is necessary for the way the world is set up.
- The story’s obstacle must be important to the world and the plot.
- Set up the world to make it difficult for the two characters to fall in love.
- Romance is more about talking than about the physical contact.
Adding Romantic Elements to Young Adult Stories
- Love is a primary driving force behind the plotline.
- The romantic element can range from an unrequited crush to falling deeply in love.