Romance novel and romance writing deal with matters of the mind, body, and heart. Romance Writing Academy seeks not to judge or censor content, but to promote respectful representation and a safe space for all learners and readers, and that begins with market-appropriate content.
Students in our courses, visitors to our site, and anyone using the Romance Academy platform may not write, post about, share, or otherwise refer to ANY of the following topics, in any way whatever, including fade-to-black (reference to “off the pages” activity) or character backstory:
DO NOT WRITE THE FOLLOWING: (RED LIGHT, FULL STOP)
- Incest in any form. This includes step-siblings and step-parents even if not blood relations/they don’t know they are related. These are considered “taboo topics” and most taboo topics will not be appropriate content for this class.
- Pedophilia in any form. This means NO explicit sexual content that involves any character under the age of 18 with a character over the age of 18. Absolutely no exceptions.
- Bestiality in any form. (The ONLY exception would be an animal shifter. However, any sexual act that takes place between a character and an animal shifter must take place when the characters are in human form. No animal sex of any kind, even between two animals. This includes jokes or suggestions about animal sex.)
- Rape, coercive sex (including sex slaves, hostage/kidnapper, forced prostitution/trafficking) of any kind. Rape for titillation and rape fantasies are expressly prohibited. Rape jokes are prohibited. No exceptions.
- Scat, golden showers, and any bodily excrement involved in a sex act (other than ejaculate from a sexual organ that is naturally released from a sexual organ and saliva). No exceptions.
- Age/power relationships. When responsibly writing romance, you may NOT write teacher/high school student, coach/student, doctor/patient power relationships between any adult with any potential to abuse the relationship because of the age and power dynamic. A general rule of thumb is regardless of age, any high school student should not be involved in a sexual relationship with someone in a position of power and authority. Once that same individual is in college (as long as that person is 18 in college and not 17) then the perception of the power dynamic abuse changes slightly. But it’s still something to be cautious in writing and mindful about.
- Abuse, hate speech, or violence of any kind, whether it be physical, emotional, etc. Violence on the whole should be critical to the plot and not gratuitous. Absolutely no violence within sex, even if it’s consensual. Violence is defined as any act that could cause harm to another person. (BDSM will be addressed in “what you CAN write.” BDSM is not “violence,” so please don’t mistake one for the other.)
- Selling the virgin, abusive, or non-consensual loss of virginity. Even within a fantasy universe, the virgin character and the abuse of same is prohibited.
- You may also NOT write role play between adult, consenting characters that involves any of the prohibited topics. This means you may NOT write a sex scene between a husband and wife that involves a schoolgirl fantasy, role playing rape, etc.
- Any character tampering with or damaging birth control or safe sex devices. This includes a man removing the condom so his partner is unaware he has done so; a woman damaging a barrier device without the other partner’s knowledge or consent. Drugging a character without his/her knowledge/consent is also off-limits.
- In general, if a topic is generally considered taboo, or if a content warning would need to be placed on the material for it to be sold by a traditional market, please use your discretion and do not write about triggering, disturbing, or inappropriate content in any manner.
When in doubt, ASK first. Jeanne has an open-door policy for any/all questions. She is available via email, chat, and social media. If you have a question about writing a topic that is not addressed here, your work MAY BE appropriate for the publishing market, but simply not for posting in this forum. Jeanne is happy to provide judgment-free advice, guidance, and support on whatever question/topic you have. Contact Jeanne at email@example.com for clarification on these at any time.
Thank you for your sensitivity and understanding!