“The worst of all literary genres is still the romance novel.”

Denis Scheck from Deutschlandfunk

Is this scathing statement of a literary critic true? Or is he completely wrong? It is a fact that millions of romance novels are sold every year and worldwide and the romance novel is probably one of the most successful and most read genres. Many romance novels are filmed. And some love films are among the most successful productions of all time, such as “Titanic” (1997), “Gone with the Wind” (1939) or “Beauty and the Beast” (2017).

Love stories are almost as diverse as life itself. And yet there are certain themes that almost all love stories come down to. If you know these themes, you increase the chances of your novel or screenplay being a success enormously.

The success topics range from clichéd aspects, such as “The Protector”, “The Dream Man” or “Legendary Ascent”, to challenging topics such as “Transformation” or “Love by Detours”.

Love stories span an amazing spectrum. They can be clichéd and sordid. But they can also be instructive and enigmatic. Which path you choose for your love story is entirely up to you.

My goal is to give you tools to perfect your love story. A love story only works superficially according to a simple recipe. Unfortunately, many authors follow their specific, proven pattern again and again and repeat themselves in their stories.

Why genres?

Genres not only help the reader and the viewer to find their way around. Above all, genres help authors to focus on a specific topic. A producer, for example, says to an author: “Write a thriller. That goes down well! Thrillers are what people want!” And the author is already thrown into a genre, if he is willing to write a crime story.

Under no circumstances perceive a genre as a narrative prison. Rather, a genre serves to engage with and focus on a central idea or theme. There is nothing to be said against mixing a specific genre with elements from another genre. As an author, however, be warned against suddenly wanting to make two or even three out of one story and losing sight of the essential.

If you write an adventure story, for example, then you may of course weave in a love story. However, be careful that the love story doesn’t get the upper hand completely. This is exactly the reason why you will get to know so-called “Superplots” here on this website. These super plots will help you to recognize the theme in a genre.

You can also compare genres with sports disciplines. For example, there is athletics, football, gymnastics and swimming. Every athlete decides for himself which discipline he wants to practice. Theoretically, they can switch between different sports. But do you really know many athletes who are good in the most diverse disciplines? Maybe there are. But there are certainly few. So it makes sense to choose a particular discipline.

Every athlete does it. And writers do not behave differently in this respect. They often intuitively decide from the beginning of their career on a certain genre in which they feel comfortable and in which they later publish their most successful books. Just as every sport has its own rules for training and practice, so there are rules and regularities for writing and within a genre. Many rules of the four most important genres you will learn on In this way you can specialize relatively easily or try to be one of the few who want to become a master in various fields.

To continue reading, use the drop-down menu under “Love Story” or click here.