Main Entry: 1ro·mance
Pronunciation: rO-'man(t)s, r&-; 'rO-"
Etymology: Middle English romauns, from Anglo-French romanz French, narrative in French, from Medieval Latin Romanice in a vernacular (as opposed to Latin), from Late Latin Romanus Gallo-Romance speaker (as opposed to a Frank), from Latin, Roman
1 a (1) : a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural (2) : a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious (3) : a love story especially in the form of a novel b : a class of such literature
2 : something (as an extravagant story or account) that lacks basis in fact
3 : an emotional attraction or aura belonging to an especially heroic era, adventure, or activity
4 : LOVE AFFAIR
5 capitalized : the Romance languages
So, there's the "official" definition... and while it says alot (I counted 'heroic' used twice, a 'chivalric love' mention, 'love story,' and 'emotional attraction or aura..' mentioned as well...) how well does it define the romance genre, or romance itself?
What, exactly, is romance? Forget the definition for a moment, and think about what romance means to you personally. What draws you to read romance novels? What do the authors include in their stories that captivates you, keeps you coming back for more?
For myself, it's a combination of things: a likeable couple worth rooting for; how each shows their mutual attraction and (growing) love for each other, beyond the realm of kissing and intimacy; the hero is the heroine's biggest champion, and the heroine is the hero's biggest champion; what each says, does-- how they interact together. Romance is in the Happily Ever After-- the struggle to achieve the HEA and the promise of more to come.
How is romance shown? It's in the way a couple looks at each other. It's in the little things a couple says and does for one another. It's the way they touch. Laugh together. Finish each other's sentences. It's being supportive. It just is.