The Great Smut Debate (with debate inked in cursive by a fountain pen)
The Great Smut Debate

The Great Smut Debate: What Makes a Romance?

If you hang out in online romance communities enough, you’ll notice some of the same conversations pop up over and over again. One of those repeated conversations centers on the question, “Is this book a romance, or is it women’s fiction?”

Now, if you don’t know this, we’re going to be crystal clear. There’s nothing that enrages a romance reader more than the betrayal of picking up a book and discovering that it’s not really a romance after all. 

We take as a given that there are two hard and fast rules: there must be a romantic relationship and there must be a happy ending. However, beyond that, there are a lot of moving pieces that come together and really make a romance sing. 

To explore this issue further, we at the Smut Report are putting together a series of posts exploring the nuances of what makes a romance a romance. In doing so, we’ll be exploring some areas of discussion within the romance community (including HEA vs. HFN, 1st vs. 3rd POV narration, and how much sex is too much sex). Our goal is not to set rigid boundaries on the genre—romance is capacious, and there are many ways to tell a love story!—but rather to probe the grey areas that might make a reader throw up their hands in despair after reading a book.

Our discussion begins in earnest in February, with Ingrid proposing an additional defining characteristic of the romance genre. 

We’ll be eager to hear your thoughts on our questions and conclusions as we go on this smut journey. Let us know what you think by dropping us a comment or an email, or hitting us up on Instagram or Twitter

Welcome to the Great Smut Debate.

2 thoughts on “The Great Smut Debate: What Makes a Romance?”

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