Contemporary romance has many draws to it. It’s easy to world build when the story takes place in our time period. You can create more realistic characters and capture readers’ attention with the various methods for adding intrigue into our everyday existence.
If you’ve been thinking about writing contemporary romance or are intrigued enough to learn more about it, we cover the basics, along with reasons to write your own and books to study if you need more material.
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What makes a contemporary romance book?
A romance novel is considered contemporary when it takes place at the time it’s written and the themes and messages within the story are applicable for the time it was written in.
This means that over time, the genre can change depending on how long a book has been around. Take Pride and Prejudice for example. While now its book genre is considered regency romance, at the time it was published, it would have been contemporary romance.
Why should you write contemporary romance?
Of course, you should write contemporary romance if you love the genre and have wanted to write it for a while. But beyond your own interests, there are a lot of other reasons to give contemporary romance a try.
1. Huge readership
Romance is one of the most read book genres on Amazon. Those who read romance read it almost exclusively. Meaning, there’s a large market for your books.
This is a great thing! The potential to make a full-time income as a romance author is extremely high when you have a readership this large, and it only continues to grow. For this reason, if you’ve ever thought about writing contemporary romance, now would be the time to start!
2. Contributing to romance norms
Books, like other forms of art and entertainment, shape culture and beliefs. We learn through books. We grow through books. This includes in our romantic life.
Why do you think so many romance stories involve characters who are afraid and therefore hold themselves back, only to risk it and go for it anyway? It’s so the people reading it will understand that they have to take chances to find love. It’s encouraging love in real life just as much as it is telling you a cute story.
Plus, you get to be a part of shaping what women believe to be true about romance—hopefully for the better.
There use to be a lot of toxic romance in novels, parading around as the type of relationship you should want to obtain. In truth, it can be really harmful to young readers especially when certain traits (like a jealous boyfriend blaming his love for you as the reason he’s jealous and manipulative) are romanticized.
Writing romance correctly is not only important, but it’s a responsibility. You can write more of what you wish was true in romance, and hope that life will mimic art.
3. Repeatable plot structure
Romances have happily ever afters. That makes it easy to always know how your story will end, but did you know that contemporary romance stories typically follow other plot points that can make it easy to plot, outline, and write your book quickly? Which means you can publish more books, faster!
This might sound like you’d just be writing the same book over and over again, but that’s just not true. Yes, your romance novel will end with a happily ever after, where your couple gets together and is happy in the end (or “happy for now” which leaves room to turn it into a series). But how your couple gets together has a lot of options, despite sharing similar plot points.
Check this out if you want to learn how to write a romance novel.
4. It’s fun!
The meet cute. The awkward first date. The inevitable misunderstandings that lead to the drawbacks. And most importantly, the make-up scene where we learn they’ll live happily ever after.
It’s fun to write romance! There are a ton of exciting feelings we get to relive when writing. For some of us, we write out of hope of meeting someone special to live happily ever after with. For those who already found their forever person, we write to live out those moments again because they were so fun.
No matter why you’re writing, it’s entertaining to craft those moments, to include the witty dialogue, to see how many ways your characters can embarrass themselves in front of their romantic partner.
You’ll find yourself giggling while writing, and that’s reason enough to write contemporary romance.
25 Contemporary Romance Books to Read & Learn From
The best way to write great contemporary romance is to study it. What makes popular romance popular? While you won’t copy what you read, you can identify what elements of the stories speak to such a wide audience of readers
- “The Hating Game” by Sally Thorne
- “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes
- “Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston
- “The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang
- “The Flatshare” by Beth O’Leary
- “Beach Read” by Emily Henry
- “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion
- “The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren
- “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman
- “Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating” by Christina Lauren
- “The Wedding Date” by Jasmine Guillory
- “The Friend Zone” by Abby Jimenez
- “Well Met” by Jen DeLuca
- “Fix Her Up” by Tessa Bailey
- “The Bromance Book Club” by Lyssa Kay Adams
- “The Simple Wild” by K.A. Tucker
- “Roomies” by Christina Lauren
- “The Bride Test” by Helen Hoang
- “The Honeymooners” by Christina Lauren
- “The Proposal” by Jasmine Guillory
- “The Idea of You” by Robinne Lee
- “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han
- “The Light We Lost” by Jill Santopolo
- “One Day in December” by Josie Silver
- “The Flatshare” by Beth O’Leary
Of course, reading isn’t always the only way to learn. For that, there are coaches that can help you tell the story you really want to tell.