Romance GenreCon brought love, lust, and literacy to the masses at Mid-Continent Library (2023)

Attendees at the Mid-Continent Library’s Romance GenreCon enjoy a presentation about dialogue writing given by author Virginia Heath. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

There’s a lot more to writing romance novels than imagining steamy scenes or finding that enticing cover image.

To dive into the details for both writers and fans, the Mid-Continent Library held its annual Romance GenreCon Aug. 4-6. At approximately 400 participants in attendance over three days, GenreCon premiered its first in-person event since the pandemic’s onset.

The conference drew dozens of published authors and the up-and-coming, from many states and even a few different countries. Due to the library’s sponsorship, entry was free to all.

It all got started in 2018 after Amy Fisher, manager of the library’s information and reader services department, attended several romance conferences in other cities.

“We thought: A lot of authors don’t come to Kansas City, even though according to one of the big publishers, Kansas City is a hotspot for romance readers and buyers,” she says.

She figured those elements could make for a successful local conference—and she was right.

“We incorporate a little bit of everything. Some of our purposes and goals are to educate the library staff and raise awareness of the romance genre and also to provide guidance and resources for novice romance writers and then to celebrate the genre by building a community for those romance readers,” Fisher says.

That last point is key because as many romance readers will know, there’s often a stigma attached to liking the genre. Romance novels are often considered a farce of writing, and lack the sincerity some require.

“Why is it worse to read a book where you know it’s going to end happily no matter what happens than it is to read a book about serial killers? Because more people fall in love than meet Jack the Ripper, don’t they?” says author and conference presenter Virginia Heath.

Fisher hopes this event helped more people find a group where they can share their interests without judgment.

This year’s focus was on historical romance, drawing in authors such as Heath, Tessa Dare, and Vanessa Riley, among others.

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Heath traveled from her home near London to present sessions about writing snappy dialogue and the history of medicine. Lecturing at the conference came naturally to the former high school history teacher.

“I’ve met lots of authors who are quite introverted. They put everything on the page, but they don’t like to be out there,” she says.

To show people all the different elements that make dialogue work, Heath took a page of conversation and physically highlighted what parts were internal thoughts, physical movements, and personal tics or pauses—all pieces that keep dialogue moving and create pictures for readers.

“I approach all talks with my teacher head on, and I’ll always try to deconstruct things and do things very practically,” says Heath, who is currently writing her 26th book. “In a book, people need to be able to see a picture you’re creating. There’s a knack to that. I think especially when you’re a first-time writer, it’s easy to make mistakes because the advice you’re always given is show, don’t tell, and they think you have to show everything. And actually, you do, but not quite in the way they think.”

Although she’s been to the United States several times, this was Heath’s first time in the Midwest, and she was excited to sample Kansas City’s barbecue scene.

Though some sessions were strictly focused on the craft of romance writing, others had topics such as copyright law that could apply to novel writing overall.

Local romance novelist, Elle Jackson, enjoyed attending the various sessions to help guide her burgeoning writing career.

“I really am working on branding and just learning about effectively managing social media while also trying to focus on writing. I loved that there were a few sessions devoted to that. It was just exactly what I needed,” Jackson says.

Donita Hammond drove in from Salina to see what the conference had to offer.

“I am a new author. I haven’t published anything, but I’m trying to learn and grow as a writer,” Hammond says, calling it “well worth the trip.”

The combination of the informational sessions and getting to meet established romance authors left St. Louis resident and aspiring writer, LaShaunda Hoffman, energized about her own work.

“I’m ready to go back to the room and work on some things,” Hoffman says.

  • Author Cat Sebastian discusses how to structure a plot during a presentation at the Mid-Continent Library's Romance GenreCon. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

    Author Cat Sebastian discusses how to structure a plot during a presentation at the Mid-Continent Library's Romance GenreCon. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

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  • Author Virginia Heath presents a workshop on how to write good dialogue at the Mid-Continent Lbirary's Romance GenreCon. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

    Author Virginia Heath presents a workshop on how to write good dialogue at the Mid-Continent Lbirary's Romance GenreCon. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

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  • Lisa Rayne presents a session on copyright law at the Mid-Continent Library's Romance GenreCon. In addition to being a romance author, Rayne had a previous career as an attorney. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

    Lisa Rayne presents a session on copyright law at the Mid-Continent Library's Romance GenreCon. In addition to being a romance author, Rayne had a previous career as an attorney. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

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  • Conference attendee Beth Clinton chats with author and presenter Virginia Heath at the Mid-Continent Library's Romance GenreCon. Clinton came from Tulsa for the event, while Health traveled from the United Kingdom. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

    Conference attendee Beth Clinton chats with author and presenter Virginia Heath at the Mid-Continent Library's Romance GenreCon. Clinton came from Tulsa for the event, while Health traveled from the United Kingdom. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

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  • Attendees at the Mid-Continent Library's Romance GenreCon enjoy a presentation about dialogue writing given by author Virginia Heath. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

    Attendees at the Mid-Continent Library's Romance GenreCon enjoy a presentation about dialogue writing given by author Virginia Heath. // Photo by Beth Lipoff

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Categories: Culture

Tags: Amy Fisher, Donita Hammond, GenreCon, Mid-Continent Library, Romance GenreCon, Tessa Dare, Vanessa Riley, Virginia Heath

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FAQs

What is the romance genre What are some of its characteristics? ›

According to the Romance Writers of America, a romance novel must have a central focus on the development of a romantic relationship between two people. The other criteria for a romance novel is that it must have an emotional throughline and build to an optimistic conclusion.

What is the climax in a romance novel? ›

The Climax (around 90% or 72,000 words)

Almost always, the Climax of a love story will show the two characters getting back together. Usually, there's some romantic gesture or a scene where one of the characters proves their love for the other.

Where and when did romance first develop? ›

romance, literary form, usually characterized by its treatment of chivalry, that came into being in France in the mid-12th century.

What were the romantic novels concerned with? ›

A romance novel or romantic novel generally refers to a type of genre fiction novel which places its primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and usually has an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." However, precursors include authors of literary fiction, such as Samuel ...

What is the theme of romance genre? ›

The romance genre is a popular category of books that consistently churns out bestsellers. The aim of the genre is simple, showcasing a love story where two people overcome adversity to obtain their happily ever after.

What is an example of romance? ›

Examples of Romance in Literature

William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is an example of a tragic romance. Two teenagers, Romeo and Juliet, fall in love but keep the marriage hidden due to their feuding families.

What is climax in the story? ›

The CLIMAX of the story is when the CONFLICT of the PLOT is resolved.It is often the most exciting part of the story: when the hero saves the princess, discovers the buried treasure, or slays the dragon. Imagine when you read a story that you are climbing up a mountainside. The CLIMAX is the mountain peak.

What is the purpose of the climax in a story? ›

What Is the Climax of a Story? In literary terms, the definition of climax is the highest point of tension in a storyline, often depicted by a confrontation between the protagonist and antagonist. A climax resolves the main conflict of the story and is the moment the main character reaches—or fails to reach—their goal.

Who is the protagonist in a romance novel? ›

The protagonist is the main character who pursues the story goal and has the most to win or lose. Clearly from the blurb, Serle has chosen Dannie as the protagonist. It can be hard knowing who the protagonist is, particularly in a romance novel. The romance genre is often misunderstood as having two protagonists.

Why is it called romance? ›

The term Romance derives from the historical origins of these languages in the Roman empire. Romanice meant to speak 'in Roman', which eventually became Romance. So that's why we still refer to any language with roots in Latin as a Romance language with a capital R.

What is the actual meaning of romance? ›

the feelings and behaviour of two people who are in a loving and sexual relationship with each other: I felt as though all the romance had gone out of my marriage. Thesaurus: synonyms, antonyms, and examples. love.

What did romance mean? ›

A romance is a relationship between two people who are in love with each other but who are not married to each other. After a whirlwind romance the couple announced their engagement in July. ... a holiday romance. Synonyms: love affair, relationship, affair, intrigue More Synonyms of romance.

Can romance be a theme? ›

1: Think about common themes for stories in your genre

Each genre of writing has core common themes. Romance, for example, typically has themes relating to human relationships since this is its focus.

What is the importance of romance in literature? ›

Romances give us better insights into relationships.

Romance novels can serve as mentors for what it takes to forgive, persevere, and make things work. They can also be mirrors that reflect what real love looks like, displaying healthy relationship skills, sacrificial love, and how to overcome obstacles.

Does romance have to have a happy ending? ›

For many, romances aren't necessarily about the ending because it's practically a rule that the two main characters will get together, but it's about the journey.

What is a theme of a story? ›

The term theme can be defined as the underlying meaning of a story. It is the message the writer is trying to convey through the story. Often the theme of a story is a broad message about life. The theme of a story is important because a story's theme is part of the reason why the author wrote the story.

What kind of romance is the most popular? ›

Popular Romance Tropes
  1. Friends to Lovers. Two people who have been friends a long time (usually since childhood) suddenly realize their feelings for each other and start going out. ...
  2. Enemies to Lovers. ...
  3. Second Chances. ...
  4. Pretend Relationships. ...
  5. Forced Proximity. ...
  6. Destined to Be Together. ...
  7. Forbidden Love. ...
  8. Love Triangles.

Who is a romantic person? ›

Someone who is romantic or does romantic things says and does things that make their wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend feel special and loved. When we're together, all he talks about is business. I wish he were more romantic. They enjoyed a romantic dinner for two at one of their favourite restaurants.

What are the 4 types of romantic relationships? ›

Here are a few different types of romantic relationships, and the pros and cons of each type:
  • Independent. In an independent relationship, both partners can function independently of the other. ...
  • Codependent. ...
  • Open. ...
  • Long Distance. ...
  • “Just for now” ...
  • Sexual/physical.
12 Jan 2021

What is the conflict in a story? ›

More precisely, conflict means thwarted, endangered, or opposing desire. It's basically when a character wants something but something else gets in the way. Maybe the character wants a thing but can't get it.

What is the resolution of the story? ›

Resolution. The resolution is the end of the story. It occurs after the CLIMAX. It is when you learn what happens to the characters after the CONFLICT is resolved.

What is the climax of the play? ›

In the structure of a play the climax, or crisis, is the decisive moment, or turning point, at which the rising action of the play is reversed to falling action.

What is the setting in a story? ›

The setting of a story is the context in a scene or story that describes the elements in which a story is taking place, including time, place, and environment. Each component in story setting helps to build the narrative's mood, plot, and character development.

What is the climax and resolution of a story? ›

The climax is the most exciting part of a story. It is the turning point. The resolution is the part of a story in which the action falls. This is often referred to as the falling action.

What is plot in a story? ›

Plot is the sequence of events that makes up your story. It's what compels your reader to either keep turning pages or set your book aside. Think of Plot as the engine of your novel.

Who is the antagonist in a romance? ›

The antagonist of a Love story can be one of the lovers, a rival, or a character who represents the external conflict.

Can the love interest be the antagonist? ›

Romance Writing Simplified: Love Interest = Antagonist

In a single POV romance, the protagonist is the point-of-view character, and the antagonist is that character's love interest. In a dual POV romance, the point-of-view characters are each other's antagonists.

What do you mean by romance? ›

the feelings and behaviour of two people who are in a loving and sexual relationship with each other: I felt as though all the romance had gone out of my marriage. Thesaurus: synonyms, antonyms, and examples. love.

What is the definition of romance in literature? ›

What is Romance? In the strictest academic terms, a romance is a narrative genre in literature that involves a mysterious, adventurous, or spiritual story line where the focus is on a quest that involves bravery and strong values, not always a love interest.

What are the four characteristics of medieval romance? ›

Characteristics of medieval romance works include courtly love, a damsel in distress, knightly deeds, legends, and mystical qualities.

What are 3 characteristics of historical fiction? ›

Historical fiction is a literary genre that reconstructs past events in fictional stories. Common characteristics of this writing genre are the inclusion of historical events or historical people, invented scenes and dialogue, as well as authentic and believable details.

Why is it called romance? ›

The term Romance derives from the historical origins of these languages in the Roman empire. Romanice meant to speak 'in Roman', which eventually became Romance. So that's why we still refer to any language with roots in Latin as a Romance language with a capital R.

Who is romantic person? ›

1. adjective. Someone who is romantic or does romantic things says and does things that make their wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend feel special and loved.

What type of word is romance? ›

Romance can be a verb or a noun.

What is the purpose of romance? ›

The Significant of Romance Heightens As a Relationship Grows (Gender Plays a Role, Too) Romance, at any stage of a relationship, helps solidify our bond and reminds us of our relative uniqueness to our partners.

What is the main idea of romanticism? ›

Any list of particular characteristics of the literature of romanticism includes subjectivity and an emphasis on individualism; spontaneity; freedom from rules; solitary life rather than life in society; the beliefs that imagination is superior to reason and devotion to beauty; love of and worship of nature; and ...

What are the 4 types of romantic relationships? ›

Here are a few different types of romantic relationships, and the pros and cons of each type:
  • Independent. In an independent relationship, both partners can function independently of the other. ...
  • Codependent. ...
  • Open. ...
  • Long Distance. ...
  • “Just for now” ...
  • Sexual/physical.
12 Jan 2021

What are 3 characteristics of medieval romance? ›

In short, a medieval romance is usually characterized by the following: 1. an idealization of chivalry 2. an idealization of the hero/knight and his noble deeds 3. a knight's love for a lady 4.

What is the best example of romance in the Middle Ages? ›

Examples of medieval romance literature include La Chanson de Roland, Troilus and Criseyde, and Le Morte D'Arthur.

What are some important elements of medieval romance? ›

Common elements of medieval romance include chivalry, courtly love, religious piety, adventure, magical elements and fantastical antagonists. Medieval romances tend to have specific recurring elements and episodic narratives that can spawn multiple variations and derivations from an “original” work.

Can you base characters off real people? ›

Using real people in your fiction—whether they are correctly named or not—can be legally hazardous. If an author includes enough details that a specific fictional character is identifiable as an actual person, that person could possibly pursue legal action.

Is historical fiction real or fake? ›

Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting related to the past events, but is fictional.

What are the 7 elements of a story? ›

What are the Elements of a Story?
  • 1 — A Theme. Plot (#5) is what happens in a story, a theme is why it happens—which you need to know while you're writing the plot. ...
  • 2 — Characters. I'm talking believable characters who feel knowable. ...
  • 3 — Setting. ...
  • 4 — Point of View. ...
  • 5 — Plot. ...
  • 6 — Conflict. ...
  • 7 — Resolution.
28 Aug 2020

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