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Matching personal writing style to each subgenre

Adapt personal writing style to a project’s genre/subgenre is an important step in getting the right tone and mood for a book. Let’s take a look at the basics styles of several popular romance subgenres.

Each romance subgenre has specific stylist elements

Contemporary Romance: tone ranges from semi-sweet to borderline edgy/dark; mood ranges from serious to light and fun depending on the story; word choice involves mild to moderate graphic descriptions of sex and violence; wordiness is moderate and scene specific; syntax is largely casual but may change when the scene calls for it.

Paranormal/Fantasy/Sci-Fi: tone is more serious and edgy; mood also tends to be more serious but can have lighter elements; wordiness is more elaborate to accommodate heavier description and worldbuilding; word choice is more complex and subgenre specific, may use profanity and have moderate graphic descriptions of sex and violence; syntax varies widely depending on the topic and scene.

Sweet/Clean: tone is lighter and sweeter but can have more serious elements; mood is softer and gentler, drawing on hope and love; wordiness varies from simple to moderate, depending on the topic and scene; word choice is mild and avoid profanity or graphic descriptions of most things; syntax ranges from casual to semi-formal.

Religious/Spiritual: tone is lighter and more “pure” but can have more serious elements; mood is softer and gentler, drawing on hope and optimism; wordiness varies from simple to complex depending on the topic, may be more elaborate to communicate beliefs/ideals; word choice is mild and avoid profanity or graphic descriptions of most things; syntax ranges from semi-casual to somewhat formal.

Erotica: Edgier/darker and more serious tone, but may have lighter or humorous tone; more indulgent, high emotion mood; word choice involves more graphic descriptions of sexual topics and encounters, uses profanity more freely; syntax and wordiness vary based on the scene but lean toward snappier wording and casual syntax.

Romantic Suspense: tone is edgier/darker and more serious; mood is high emotion and intense; wordiness leans toward concise and snappy, but can change depending on the scene; word choice ranges from moderate to graphic descriptions of sex, violence, and profanity; syntax is more serious and formal, but can vary based on specific scenes.

New/Young Adult: tone is ranges from light to more serious/dark depending on the topic and age of the characters, NA is edgier and deal with more serious topics in most cases; mood tends to be high emotion and ranges from moderate to intense; wordiness tends to be concise and snappy with specific scenes being more complex; word choice is dependent on the topic, but YA tends to have less profanity and graphic content while NA is more open to both; syntax varies from casual to serious depending on the topic, but YA leans toward less complex structures.

Historical: tone is more serious and formal; mood is also more formal and proper, though lighter elements and humor are also used; wordiness is more complex and elaborate, relying on proper and formal speech patterns; word choice is specific to the time period and region, and ranges from formal to colloquial; syntax is more complex and detailed, putting more emphasis on the construction of the phrases and sentences.

For more information on writing styles, check out this helpful article!

If you want to see what classic writer your style compare with, learn about the style of some writing greats here.