the how of writing

is it a romance?

Now that I’m at a point where I’m looking at publishers, I found myself confused.  See, my story has a very strong romantic element…and a very strong fantasy element.  In revising it, I discovered I had the wrong main character, fixed it, and now the story works well (my opinion).  I just have no idea where it belongs.

Thankfully, one of the publishers I looked at very helpfully supplied this article which contains a checklist for whether or not your novel is a romance.  Mine failed the very first question.  And the next one.  Though there’s a very strong romantic element between Annie and the dragon, Nicholas, the real action is the antagonism between innocent Nicholas and the vengeful Hunter.

But wait.  According to this other very helpful article from the same publisher, it may be a romance after all because Nicholas has Annie at the beginning (even if it’s platonic with a growing attraction), Nicholas loses Annie (at least he thinks he does), and the climax of the story is when Nicholas fights to get Annie back.

Can you have a romance where the hero is the main character?  Can you have a fantasy with as much mushy-gushy emotional stuff (but not spicy/hot) as I’ve got in there?  Can you have a romance with an evil, murderous villain who will do everything in his power to destroy your hero, with pain?  Or is it still a fantasy because the heart of the book is the resolution of the conflict between Hunter and Nicholas with Annie acting as catalyst?

Oh, my.  I think I’m still confused.

Maybe the best thing to do is just send it out to a publisher and see what comes back.  Or maybe I should do more research.  What do you think?

(BTW, I really did find the links very helpful.  I now know that a couple of the stories I have in mind, and another I’ve already written, are definite romances.  It’s just this one that’s confusing.  Oh, and I do not now nor have I ever received compensation from this publisher;  I have no ties of any kind to them as of the writing of this post.  I’m only linking because I enjoyed those articles.)

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