Popular Romance

Romance is a reader-driven genre, and writers of the genre are a craft-conscious bunch. Romance novelist Nora Roberts has described writing romance fiction as performing “Swan Lake” in a phone booth. Romance is the largest genre of commercial fiction, with over $1 billion in sales annually. Its simple formula — a central love story + happily-ever-after (or otherwise optimistic ending) —  provides readers with an experience they’re known for returning to again and again. Women have historically made up more than 85% of romance readers and writers, but Romancelandia is becoming more inclusive as it acknowledges more diverse expressions of romantic love. This workshop will introduce students to writing romance: its history, industry, tropes, criticisms, controversies, and conventions.


Jen Wofford, lecturer in the Department of Writing, received her Ph.D. in Reading/Writing/Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania and MA in English from Washington University in St. Louis. She teaches Ithaca College’s first-year seminar Reading Popular Romance and is author of two independently published historical romance novels set in the 1000 Island Region of upstate New York in 1893: Wolfe Island and Swan Bay. She can be found at giuliatorre.com.