Welcome Marleen our second in the series of reader guest posts!

Been there. Done that. Beaten It to Death With a Dildo


The average fantasy reader can read hundreds of books about teenage boys that rise from poverty to be the most powerful wizard/warrior/king/jedi in the world. Het romance readers can read thousands of books about plucky women being swept of their feet by tall, powerful men. And m/m has its own tried and true story lines. Whether it is twinks or bears or BDSM or Gay For You, you pretty much know what you’re going to get. But sometimes, you get too much of what you know you are going to get. Here is my top 3 of Knock-It-Off-Already.


I Must Leave You Because I Love You (Because I Am No Good For You)


Generations upon generations upon generations of Het Romance Heroines (HRH) have gone down this path. After humping the Hero a time or two, the HRH decides she must leave him so he can keep his career/status in society/bachelor ways/approval of his family/scruffy dog. Because she loves him more than her own happiness, you see. This is supposed to ‘recreate’ the conflict in the story line now that the Unresolved Sexual Tension has been Resolved. As if we don’t all know exactly what happens next. Dude hunts down HRH and declares, preferably very publicly (OMG! She is So Mortified! But So Happy!) that he doesn’t care about said career/status in society/bachelor ways/approval of his family/scruffy dog if he can’t have her. And then, Hey Presto!, all obstacles vanish and he gets to have both HRH and a mangy dog. Insert tears here. Think you can use this vehicle in m/m and make it feel new? No, you can’t. The majority of your readers come from Het-Romancelandia and this is exactly why they left it. Dumber than shit characters who do dumb things based on dumb assumptions. Must you really separate your heroes 2/3 of the way into the book, just like everybody else? Try something different, please.


As long as it is not the Big Misunderstanding, ok? If the conflict can be resolved by one guy simply asking the question: “WTF was that about, dude?” it does not belong in your book. No. It really doesn’t. Because it’s dumb people doing dumb things based on dumb assumptions. Again.


The Grand Declaration of Love for Convalescing Characters


This one often functions as the Vehicle of Reconciliation after we have separated the heroes about two thirds of the way into the book (see above). We are stoic, manly men. We cannot admit to having these lovin’ feelings (even though they are obvious to the reader). But OMG!!! You Almost Died! Rushing to your bedside, we desperately clutch you against our chiseled pecs (ever mindful of the colostomy bag, of course) and weep copious man-tears because we almost lost you to that gunshot wound/fall of your horse/shaving accident. Our life is meaningless without you! Insert inappropriate hospital sex here, if lucky.

Planning to bring your guys back together in the hospital? Fifty-nine books (and counting) on this Listopia on Goodreads have already done that: OMG! You Almost DIED! M/M with hospital scenes. Maybe you can reunite your guys in a pet store. Cute guys with cute kittens? I’m just throwing it out there.


All Women are created Evil



The whole Gay For You genre is based on the premise that your guy doesn’t realize he is attracted to guys until he meets Mr. Right. Your guy has had, up till this point, relationships with women only. Now, we all know the m/m reader does not want to read anything about the relationships with these women (aka girl cooties). Fine. Whatever. Going on the assumption that your guy has been at least somewhat attracted to these women he has dated before, this genre would technically have to be called ‘Bisexual for You’, but that does not seem to sell. Because it implies a less than perfect conversion to the Church of Gay, I think. Anyway. The problem is, do all these exes have to be vindictive bitches? Your guy, with his impeccable taste in men, has an execrable taste in women, apparently. In fact, 99% of the women surrounding your guy are despicable in one way or another. And that while all the gay men I know personally have excellent relationships with lots of women, friends and family alike. But the ultimate goal here seems to be to eradicate all traces of female contamination from the life of the happy couple. Something is wrong with your genre when it’s a relief to find a normal woman in a story. Really.


So now you know, dear author. Please cease and desist using the above mentioned worn out plots. If you fail to put the poor things out to pasture, I will have no choice but to perform mercy killings in my Goodreads reviews of your books. Words like ‘cliché’, ‘formulaic’ and ‘omg-wtf-bbq’ will be used. Consider yourself forewarned.


Marleen isn’t an official book-anything. She doesn’t blog, she’s not an (aspiring) author and she doesn’t write anything for big time review sites. She just plays on Goodreads and tries to entertain her Goodreads friends with snarky reviews. In fact, her Goodreads friends enable her by sending bad books to read and review. In her not-at-all-professional opinion the best way for authors to avoid getting their egos hurt by bad reviews is to write better books. Feel free to completely disregard her opinion, though. You can follow her reviews here.

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Published on April 20, 2012 17:39 • 110 views



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message 1: by Emma (new)

Emma Wow! This article makes more sense to me than anything else has made in the past weeks!


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