When does a book qualify as "Romance?"


Hey, fellow WattPaders!

I have a question regarding genre.

My web novel, Dreams of the Dying, is based on a Skyrim Total Conversion I wrote, Enderal. Enderal has attracted a small, but very loyal fandom over the years, with alot of it centering around one of the characters the player could romance.

The novel explores this character’s past. Now, since it takes place in a fictional world with supernatural elements (magic in particular), it probably qualifies as Fantasy first and foremost. However, there are also strong horror and mystery underpinnings as well as a fair share of romance and sex. It’s only a side plot but probably fills 100 pages alone (1st draft), and it also mirrors the central themes of the book - responsibility, lies, how past mistakes influence future actions, etc, so it’s not just a matter of pandering to fans but a substantial element of the story.

Does this qualify the book as romance? If not, when does a book qualify as romance? Only if the overwhelming majority of it deals with relationships and sex? Or is the line more blurred?

Thanks in advance and happy writing!


For it to be Romance, the central plot must revolve around the romantic relationship.

I think if your story is based off of Skyrim, it will actually fall under “Fanfiction”


@Niseam A story can cross over numerous genres - as yours obviously does. FanFiction is the main one but you’ve also got subgenres of fantasy, mystery, horror and romance.

A purebred anything is hard to find. Even what might be a billionaire romance might have a mystery or adventure/action/urban elements.

You can reflect the uniqueness of your story via the tags.


Choosing a genre is deciding which element your story cannot live without. If you take out the romance aspect, do you still have a story? If yes, then look at the other genres.

Romance also requires a ‘happily ever after’, otherwise it’s just a romantic plot. However, this is the rule with professionally written books and I do think we bend that aspect quite a bit here.

If your book is a ‘fanfic’, that’s how it should be labeled as far as genre goes.


A pretty good general rule to follow is: Who do you think would be interested in the book? Would pure Romance readers like this?

To me it sounds like it’s fanfiction, since you’re basing off of something else. And therefore you have to put it in fanfic. Not that it matters. You can tag it with all the other genres it may fit into. The categories don’t really matter anymore.


I agree with this definition wholeheartedly.

Since the plot of my story revolves around the relationship of my two leads while having fantasy and vampire fiction settings and themes, I consider it a romance told within that genre/setting.

If it was focusing on goal instead and their budding was an incidental part of the story, it would be a fantasy or vampire story with a romance in it.

The structure can often end up reflecting what the focus is. A traditional story (traditionally) has a three act structure to move the plot, while romance stories are carried by the leads circling one another as obstacles between them are overcome and they grow together to become people who can be in the end goal relationship.


Hey Bridges,
Thanks, but it doesn’t have anything to do with Skyrim - it’s based on a game I wrote the story for that uses Skyrim’s technical framework but nothing else. :slight_smile:

To the rest, thanks a lot, that helped clear things up! In this case, it’s definitely not a romance, though the romance does take a lot of room.