Anonymous asked you: The difference of fluff and romance
I think I can help you out there!
Fluff (n): A story (usually fan fiction) or part of a story which has no plot or a very simple plot and no or very little character development; humorous and/or conventionally romantic writing; feel-good romance.
As I understand it, Fluff is a sub-genre of Romance.
Romance (n): A story arc which centers around the romantic relationship of the main characters; a story in which love is a main theme.
Other sub-genres of Romance include:
- Contemporary: Stories are set in the present day. Usually after the World Wars.
- Dark Romance: Non-traditional love stories (possibly without HEA).
- Dark Fantasy: May include Fantasy/Paranormal elements of a darker nature, including vampires, demons, satyrs, witches, warlocks, etc.
- Erotic Romance: Stories written about the development of a romantic relationship through sexual interaction.
- Fantasy: Stories that take place in other realms, other worlds, often including magic. May include magical creatures, elements of mythology, etc. May also includes fairies, warlocks, witches, werewolves, etc.
- LGBTQ: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer. LGBTQ romantic relationships are central to the plot and may encompass any of the sub-genres of Romance.
- Gothic: See Gothic Genre.
- Historical: Stories take place during a specific time period in history with all the clothing, etiquette, and events of that period. Usually before WWII. See Nostalgic Historical for events fifty to one hundred years in the past.
- Inspirational: Stories inspire the reader and evoke hope for love. Often contain religious beliefs context.
- Multicultural: Characters of different cultures are brought together, or characters from a non-dominant culture are explored in depth.
- Nostalgic Historical: Usually taking place in recent past. Approximately fifty years in the past, including the World War II era up to and possibly including the 1950’s and 1960’s, etc.
- Paranormal: Other world elements, such as ghosts, spectres, ESP abilities, unexplained phenomenon, etc.
- Regency: A time period that encompasses a particular set of morals, manners, and societal structure of the early 1800’s. Often set in England.
- Religious: The love story is governed by religious rules and customs (See Inspirational above).
- Romantic Comedy: The love story leads to a happy ending. In modern usage, the love story usually involves humourous plot devices.
- Romantic Suspense: Elements of suspense and intrigue drive the romance forward. In Romance, this would be character/relationship driven as opposed to plot driven.
- Time Travel: A romance that spans across two or more time periods.
- Urban Fantasy: See Urban Fantasy included within Fantasy.
- Western Historical: Usually the background is set as the American “old west.” (x)
And any of those sub-genres can have Fluff-y elements in them just like Suspense, Horror, Fantasy, and just about any other types of stories can have Fluff-y Romance in them, but writing something sweet can be difficult, especially if you don’t normally write feel-good romance. See this post for idea on how to look at Fluff in a new way.
Basically, if the Romance genre is dessert, then Fluff is whipped cream. Fluff is sweet and light and giggle-inducing, and Romance is a major narrative genre with plenty of conventions, tropes, sub-genres, etc. under its umbrella. The two are not synonyms, though they are certainly connected.
Feel-good romantic Fluff isn’t a bad thing to write, but taking a break from carrying a narrative forward to smother the reader in cuteness without substance might not be the most effective choice you could make for your story. The easiest way to avoid doing something like this is to plan so that everything you write contributes to your story goals. For tips on that, you might want to grab a Towel. Remember, while you’re writing your first draft, you’re allowed to write Fluff if you want to. You can always edit it out during the revision process (or not)!
For more on Romance:
And here are a few books on writing Romance:
Thank you for your question!