Earlier this month, I wrote a post about what you can expect from category romance. That was partly because of the comments I’ve heard after people who don’t usually read category, read category. It was also partly for the aspiring authors who’d like to write category, but have no idea where to start. Today, I’m sharing why I love writing category romance for pretty much the same reasons. (Though mainly for the latter 😉 ).
One: You learn how to hone writing the most important parts of a romance novel.
Because of the limited word count (generally 50 000-55 000 words), writing category romance means focusing on the romance. That means creating two flawed characters who are brought together by a source of external conflict and have to work through their internal conflict so they can be together. (I was going to make a joke about how this sounds simple, but then I realised it doesn’t even *sound* simple, so can you imagine how hard it is to write?)
Category romances teach you how to hone these skills. Because your readers want to see all of these factors. All. Of. Them. If your book lacks any of them, your reader will be able to tell. And they’ll likely be vocal about it. The more books you write, the more you’ll realise this – compelling conflicts and relatable characters sell – and writing category really allows you to refine your craft.
Since the last blog post mentioned this, too, you shouldn’t be surprised when I say I love tropes. Tropes are a staple in category romance. Writing category romance then means that you learn how to use these tropes to create a compelling story for your reader. It also often intensifies both the internal and external conflict. For example, in my May release, Tempted by the Billionaire Next Door, the hero is the heroine’s best friend’s brother. He is also her next door neighbour. When she’s forced to turn to him for help, there is immediately tension because of these two tropes. My heroine feels guilty about asking my hero for help since she’s attracted to him, and particularly because she’s a surrogate for his sister. The sister who also happens to be the closest thing she has to family…
See? So juicy!
Three: It gives you opportunities to learn what you like…
The pace of category romance publishing is a lot faster than single title romance. Because of this, you have more opportunities to learn what you like to write. It also helps you to figure out what your readers like.
It’s also taught me so much about my writing and reading preferences. It’s how I’ve discovered I really like marriage of convenience stories; and how I’ve learnt they only work in certain contexts. It’s allowed me to explore tropes I’ve never thought about before – hello, friends-to-lovers – and has shown me the ones I have enjoyed before might require more thought if I choose to do them again. (Boss and employee looks a little different in this climate!) Which leads to the final reason I love writing category romance…
Four: …it also gives you space to grow.
The opportunities you’re given when writing category romance allow you to grow as an author. In fact, sometimes it forces you to grow. It might be because reader feedback shows you that you might not be the best at writing cowboy romances. Or you might realise you don’t enjoy writing single fathers. The pace in category romance publishing – and possibly the fact that readers might not be reading your book, but rather a book in the category line you’re writing for – can mean you have a safe place to grow even as you’re given the space to do so.