5 Subgenres of Romance Fiction Explained

Hello Writer Bees, 

With Valentine’s Day only a few days away, let’s talk about the lovely subgenres of Romance Fiction.

Historical Romance

Rev up that time machine and travel back in time with a Historical Romance. As the name suggests, this love story takes place in the past, usually before 1950. Historical periods such as the Victorian era, Medieval Times, or the Roaring 1920s are examples of possible setting used in this romance subgenre. No matter the year, the time and place of a plot may impact a couple’s relationship. Rules of courtship and class can apply to characters and their relationships. When writing a historical romance, historical accuracy and research is crucial. Describing and understanding the clothing and culture of a time long ago will bring a certain era to life for your audience.

Paranormal Romance

Twilight

Love can be magical. And in a paranormal romance, it really is! In this romance subgenre, elements of fantasy, paranormal or sci-fi are at the core of the plot. Not necessarily restricted to magical creatures only, a Paranormal Romance could include any non-human creature, from ghosts, to fairies, to the ever-irresistible vampire. That being said, there’s an opportunity here to explore a human x non-human relationship, or a couple from different magical backgrounds. Truly, the possibilities are endless. Incorporating fantasy elements in a love story requires solid worldbuilding. If magic is real in that world, create a magic system and know who can use magic and how. If the story involves a non-human creature, what specific characteristics apply to that race?

Contemporary Romance

If you’re looking for a modern day happily ever after, perhaps a contemporary romance is more your speed. This romance subgenre focuses on current conventions and topics, for a more modern approach. Subject matter may include online dating, LGBTQ storylines and workplace romance. Main characters don’t fit the mold and may not live up to what’s considered attractive by society. Often times, the heroine is an independent woman with a career. This romance subgenre encompasses all shapes, sizes, colors and sexualities. When writing in this romance subgenre, remember that love isn’t perfect. Create characters with flaws and challenges and place them in realistic dating situations.

Erotic Romance

Fans Self GIFs | Tenor

Things can get steamy quickly in this romance subgenre. Erotic Romance centers around explicit, sexual interactions between lovers. It’s not total smut, but let’s just say vividly detailed sex is a major component of the plot. Relationships grow and develop through scenes of physical intimacy and intense chemistry. Often, characters are cliché and unrealistic, examples being a curvaceous cutie or six-packed hunk. If I’m honest, this is not my favorite genre. However, if I had to give a piece of writing advice, it’d be to focus on the character’s physicality, the way they move and how they interact with others. During intimate moments – not just sex scenes – be mindful of how body language is written. Readers want to feel swept away, and maybe a little turned on, when they read this kind of story.

Romantic Suspense 

Romance plus adventure equals an exciting romance subgenre. Romance suspense involves action, suspense and intrigue as the couple tackles situations like a murder mystery or criminal plot. In some stories, there is a threat on one person’s life and the other must act as protector. Or perhaps they protect each other. Characters that play well in this romance subgenre can be detectives, superheroes, members of law enforcement or even femme fatales. Regardless, in the end, the heroes form a strong romantic relationship, hopefully leading to a happily ever after or grand finale kiss. Whether there’s a mystery to solve, a villain to defeat, or a race against the clock. Romantic Suspense can be thrilling story for many readers.


Like this post? Then check out the 5 Subgenres of Mystery Fiction Explained.

What’s your favorite romance subgenre? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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The Sleepless Queen – (Fantasy Short Story)

“Is it wise to disturb her majesty so late in the evening?” The young page asked the guard, his voice shivering.

The guard yawned as pounded on the chamber door. “Course. There’s a reason she’s called the Sleepless Queen, you know.” Almost instantly, the torch lights illuminated the stone hall. The double doors swung open of their own accord, bidding entrance into the King and Queen’s private quarters. Carefully, he stepped inside the room. A question rattled in the child’s head. Why do they call her the sleepless queen?

The Queen sat in a grand canopy bed – wide awake, as her moniker suggested – reading a leatherbound book. Her skin dark and warm like cinnamon. Ears pricked and pointed, a mark of her magical lineage. Rosy pink hair tied into a braid. Beside her, the King snored, his arm slung across her stomach.

“Apologies for disturbing you, your highness.” He bowed.

The book snapped shut. “No apologies needed.” She smiled, beckoning the page to her bedside. With a nervous tremor, he stepped closer and handed her the note. Her amber eyes skimmed the paper. Looking back to the child, her smile returned. Slowly and softly, the Queen climbed out of bed and out of her lover’s embrace. Her satin white nightgown shined in the lantern light. “A beast was seen in the forest. All the kingdoms are on alert.” Her fingers reached for the jagged crystal sitting in the windowsill. The Jagged gem began to glow. A thin silver shield, like a thick fog, covered the entire kingdom. With a resolved nod, her majesty seemed content with the shield protecting their realm.

Bowing again, the boy took a few steps towards the door then stopped. Curiosity clawing at his throat. “Forgive me for asking, but do you have trouble sleeping? Is that why they call you the Sleepless Queen?”

With a light, fluttering laugh, she shook her head. “No, little one. I’m not human like my husband. My kind do not require sleep to survive.” She explained, the gentle tone of her voice soothing like an ocean breeze. A twinkle of adoration in her eyes as she glanced over at the sleeping King. “Though I use the time well. I read. I help maintain the barrier. I protect the King when he rests.” In a playful movement, she grazed his freckles with her thumbs. “Speaking of rest, off to bed with you. Thank you for delivering this message, my good sir, you have done well.” She whispered her praise before shooing him away. The young messenger scampered off. The Sleepless Queen returned to bed, returned to her lover’s side. A book floated into the Queen’s grasp, opening to the page where she left off. “I can tell when you are feigning sleep, dear heart. Unbecoming for a king.”

Enveloping his wife in his arms, he held her in an embrace. Both of them falling into the comfort of closeness. “The Sleepless Queen. Haven’t heard that name in ages.” He hummed into her neck.

Her lips found the crown of his head. “I will gladly take up the title. Being by your side, in the quiet moments, is a blessing in itself.” Waving her fingers, the lanterns dimmed.

“Is there trouble?” The King mumble, drowsiness slowly overcoming him.

“Trouble that can wait until the morning, do not fret.” Golden eyes flicked towards the window, checking the barrier one last time. “If a dragon comes knocking on our walls, we will be protected, to an extent. Go back to sleep, my love. Enjoy the quiet while it lasts.”

“Goodnight, my sleepless Queen.”

“Goodnight.”


I couldn’t get this idea of a queen that does not need to sleep out of my head. And I had no real plot for her to play in. So, I did some freewriting. Let me know what you think.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

The Wonder of Wintertime – Fantasy 100 Word Story (Repost)

“I love wintertime, Mama.”

“Do you?”

“Uh-huh. I like how the snow sparkles.”

Curled up in their den, the mother watched her child and the snowfall. A forest of evergreen trees coated with a thick layer of shimmering white. The little one skirted the entrance of the cave, sticking his forked tongue out to catch snowflakes. Icicles hung like jagged teeth above them.

“Can I catch one someday?” Claws reached for the sky. Snowflakes instantly sizzled, melting against red scales. “And keep it until the springtime comes?”

The dragon mother smiled at her youngling, “Of course you can, dear heart.”


(I’m taking a sick day and reposting an old short story. Thanks for understanding! Hope you all enjoy. – Victoria)

Happy holidays everyone! Stay safe and keep writing!

— Lady Jabberwocky

5 Subgenres of Horror Fiction Explained

Hello Writer Bugs!

Since we are officially in spooky season, I wanted to dedicate a couple posts this month to horror writing. Horror fiction is intended to frighten the audience senseless. A lot of people love a good scare. As a genre, horror can come in a variety of shades of darkness. Today, I’m breaking down the most notable subgenres of horror fiction.


Gothic

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The gothic horror subgenre is a healthy mix of horror, mystery, death and a little romance. And some would say it’s the true beginning of horror fiction and the jumping off point for other horror subgenres that developed over time. The macabre takes takes center stage in this type of story. Setting plays a key role in gothic horror. The atmosphere must be dark and moody, usually taking place in a castle, religious abbey or haunting estate. The theme of death and love are prevalent in the plot. It’s a dreary, decaying world full of ominous omens and unexplainable events.

Example: The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Monster

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Let’s do the monster mash. A true classic in horror genre. Typically, the plot centers around a character(s) encountering a creature. Creatures of the night are either the result of scientific experiments, born from fantastical means, or simply urban legends come alive. Iconic monsters including – but not limited to – werewolves, vampires, mummies, zombies etc. An argument could be made the even gigantic monsters like Godzilla would be included in this horror subgenre. Sometimes in the narrative, there are underlying themes of duality, an internal conflict between good and evil. It’s an interesting battle to explore within characters. Is the monster really a monster at all?

Example: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Paranormal

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In the paranormal subgenre, it’s all about the fear of the unknown. Evil spirits, wicked witches and demonic entities wreck havoc and chaos in the lives of mere mortals. Ghosts, demons and haunted houses tend to fall under this category. Exorcisms – whether the holy kind or the high-tech ghostbuster kind – occur in paranormal horror. Similar to the Monster horror subgenre, antagonists can have supernatural abilities and there’s usually a struggle between good and evil. However, paranormal creatures are derived from mythical, other-worldly origins. And let’s be honest, the things that go bump in the night are often what scares us the most.

Example: The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Killer

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A killer is on the loose! For this horror subgenre, the story focuses on a central killer. The main antagonist can be a supernatural entity or a natural born psycho. Whatever their reason, the killer’s sole mission is to annihilate anyone and everyone they deem a target. With elements of a thriller and/or crime plotline blended in, building suspense is crucial in this kind of story. You want the reader to feel like the killer is breathing down their necks and lurking around every corner. Will the killer be brought to justice in the end? That’s entirely up to the writer. In horror, no one is promised a happy ending.

Example: American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Psychological

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Send readers into a living nightmare. Throw rationality out the door and turn the mundane into something terrifying. Characters in psychological horror have either fallen into madness or are trapped in extraordinary situations. Surreal imagery or bizarre visions experienced by the protagonist only add to the insanity. For this horror subgenre, the narrative would benefit from a tight viewpoint, not a multi-narrator piece. A single character’s internal conflict can be just as compelling than an external conflict, if written well. Phobias, paranoia and one’s deepest fears are explored in this type of plot. In psychological horror, there’s not overarching monster or antagonist, the real monster is the human mind itself.

Example: The Shining by Stephen King


Personally, I’m not a fan of excessive gore. However, as a mystery writer, I sometimes must describe a corpse or a crime scene, for the sake of the fictional investigation. A little bit of horror can go a long way in any genre.

What’s your favorite subgenre of horror fiction? And if you are a horror writer yourself, how would you categorize your story? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love hearing from you.

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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The Tale of a Boy and a Mermaid (Parts 1-5)

(Written 4/16/21 – Hey Writer Bugs! It’s been a stressful week for me. So I decided to repost this old short story I wrote back in fiction writing class, in 2016. Don’t judge, every writer starts somewhere. Appreciate your early work, they’re a representation of how far you’ve come as a storyteller. Keep writing my friends! – Love, Lady Jabberwocky. )

The Tale of a Boy and a Mermaid

[Part One]

[Part Two]

[Part Three]

[Part Four]

[Part Five – Finale]

“I have an important task for you, lad,”

The knight commander was intimidating, over six feet tall with a thick beard and a scar on his forehead. Behind him was the kingdom of Eros’ flag, a deep purple with the emblem of a griffon, wings spread proudly. “I’m sure you have heard of the recent number of casualties out at sea, correct?” Many ships coming into port were either facing horrible storms or being sunken by unknown forces. Some in the village believed it to be a mermaid’s doing. “Take this message to the water’s edge tomorrow morning. Their messenger should meet you half way”The message was a scroll in a glass bottle, sealed tightly with a cork. “Is this…A declaration of war, sir?”

“Just negotiations,” The commander replied shortly, placing a large hand on by shoulder. “This will be a test, to prove if you are worthy of becoming a true knight someday,” He shooed me away with a wave of his hand. “Now, go attend to your other duties”.

I bowed and took my leave, examining the glass bottle in my hands. My brown leather boots shuffled along the dirt path that led to the stables. There were three large stallions, the noble steeds of the warriors of Eros. I began to brush one of the horse’s smooth coat. The sound of metal feet stomping towards me broke me from my daze. Sir Roger entered the stable, removing his helm. He ran a hand through his blonde hair, most likely returning from sparring.

“Have you finished with my sword?” Sir Roger approached me, removing his gauntlet. I nodded quickly. “With haste, mouse” He said impatiently. I dropped the brush and went to retrieve the knight’s sword. Yesterday, the blade was splattered with blood after a day’s quest. Now it shined like a sunbeam. I returned with the sword tucked into it’s leather sheath a moment later. “What do you have here?” He asked, examining the scroll in the glass bottle next to my satchel.

“A message I must deliver,” I informed “Tomorrow morning, to Crescent bay”.

“Well then you’re as good as dead, little mouse,” He laughed. “Have you ever seen a Mermaid before?”


Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

The Charlatan (Fantasy Flash Fiction)

“Excuse me, kind sirs. Could I borrow a moment of your time?” A plump gnome woman approached a table with three half orcs clad in leather armor. Cradled in her arms were three cork-topped bottles, filled with burnt orange liquid. The opal ring on her finger winked at the weary adventurers. “I’m selling home brewed health potions.”

The group exchanged looks, grunting and crossing their arms. “100 gold for the whole lot.”

A sigh in surrender as she glanced over her shoulder. “Well, I didn’t want to say anything but… See that fellow over there?” Stationed at the lonely table near the tavern door was a figure wearing a dark cloak and a crow like mask. He appeared to be entranced by the lute playing bard across the room.

The trio of warriors leaned closer, now intrigued. Her tragic tale of woe began. “Would you believe it? A bolt of lightening set his house on fire. Left his home a pile of ash.” After setting all three vials on the table, she dabbed the corner of her eye with a handkerchief. ” Left his face severely burned and hideous scarred. 100 gold per bottle would greatly help him get back on his feet.” Coins clattered onto the table.

….

Hooking her arm in the crook of his elbow, the two strolled into a secluded alleyway, embracing the shadows. “Severely burned and hideously scarred,” He mocked while he counted the coins in the pouch. “You really laid it on thick this time, Poet. Those poor fools.” His cape enveloped her, eyes faintly glowing silver behind glass windows. Autumn leaves skittered across cobblestone streets.

For a brief moment, the opal ring shimmered. Her entire body transformed. A sly grin spread across burgundy lips as she snickered like a conniving witch. Lavender painted her skin. On both sides of her head, ram horns curled. No longer a mere gnome, but a roughish Tiefling.

“The world is built on poor fools.” Poet kissed the beak of his mask, her devilish tail swishing like a pendulum. “Come along, Endymion. We need to make a new batch of Poppy flower tea.” With her masked companion trailing behind, the charlatan disappeared into the night.

“On to the next town.”

————————————————————-

Since our DnD is suspended until further notice, I’m reposting this short story I wrote during quarantine. Inspired by the game and characters my boyfriend and I plan to play, someday after the pandemic.

Stay safe and stay healthy out there, everyone.

Lady Jabberwocky