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General Chatting > Age Range? Do readers look for characters their age?

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Im just curious. When readers pick up a book, are they looking for their age group specifically when it comes to IR themed books?


message 2: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6568 comments Mod
Not really, because I do not find out the age of the hero and heroine, until I start reading a book. The characters can be a few years younger or older than I am. I also like for the characters to be close to the same age.


message 3: by A.W. (new)

A.W. I don't specifically look for my age range when looking for books.


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1210 comments Guinevere wrote: "Im just curious. When readers pick up a book, are they looking for their age group specifically when it comes to IR themed books?"

That's a great question Guinevere. While I definitely enjoy YA, it would be awesome to find more older heroines in all genres of romance. It's not as much of a deal-breaker for me though.

Harlequin had an imprint called "Next" which featured baby boomers/empty nesters/second chance at love characters, but they did very little marketing/advertising so it went away.


message 5: by Megan (new)

Megan (meganscoils) | 674 comments Depends. I like to read books about early-mid twenties but I won't pass on a book just because of age range.


message 6: by Tina (new)

Tina | 1374 comments I don't look for a certain age, but I do tend to bypass YA and NA. Mainly because the age group doesn't appeal to me for romance purposes. I mean, I look at my 15 year old son and try to imagine him in the throes of love that I like to read about in romance. Just doesn't work for me. LOL.

I don't mind early 20-somethings, but NA as a genre feels like it has fallen rather quickly into some trope traps.

If I had to choose.. I'd like late 20s - late 30s.


Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments I don't need characters in my age range. I just don't like books set in a high school environment. Everything else, I'm open to.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I think it depends on what I'm looking for mainly. I'm still in my 20s so I can still appreciate young love. I haven't read "A song for bijou" (thefountainpendiva, my sis suggested to you?) but it's edging toward first crush/love because they're rather young, but from what my sister mentioned, they're really mature.

But it can still appreciate an older love story. I'm actually interested if anyone knows of any stories where the characters are in their 40s or 50s?

Is it somehow unappealing to be past 30 or something and looking for a relationship?

My mother married her husband at, hmmm...I'm bad with remembering her age, but I believe at 44? Is love only supposed to be appealing when people are 20 to 30 something? I imagine were all goina get older right?


message 9: by A.W. (new)

A.W. Guinevere now that you mention it would be nice to read a story where the characters are in their 40's considering I'm in my 40's lol. I can only remember reading one IR story about the heroine being in her early 40's with two teenage daughters and she meets a younger man in his late 20's I think. I can't remember the author but I have the book in my collection I need to look for it.


message 10: by Tina (new)

Tina | 1374 comments @Guinevere - The only one I can think of at the top of my head is Allegro by Adora Bennett . Heroine is 45 and hero is 50. Altho, honestly, the author wrote them as if they had the mind-set of people in their 20s, imo.


message 11: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6568 comments Mod
Guinevere, I found a site that lists contemporary, etc. books under age 30 - 60. I hope this helps you out.

http://www.likesbooks.com/older.html


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh ok, hm...I imagine you become smarter at weeding out what you're looking for with age, so I'd like to find a story where they have their *>% together, both maturity level and at the very least career wise(even if that's being a cashier at Walmart and owning it).

Even though I'm in my 20s, I'm often turned off by characters in that age range. Maybe because they lack maturity, and play a lot of mind games, but if I have to read about immature characters, It seems like an easier swallow if their teens.

Dorothy koomson makes characters in the 30s range, but their often women who have no self confidence appearance wise. So I have a love hate relationship there.

But anyone who knows any 40s and older characters let me know XD


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks @arch. But any interracial? @tina thanks for the suggestion, a little skeptical but I'll try it.


message 14: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6568 comments Mod
Guinevere wrote: "Thanks @arch. But any interracial? @tina thanks for the suggestion, a little skeptical but I'll try it."

You are welcome. As for IR books, I do not know. Right now the IR genre is full of erotic books and I do not read those kinds of books.


message 15: by Justine (new)

Justine | 1228 comments Guinevere wrote: "Im just curious. When readers pick up a book, are they looking for their age group specifically when it comes to IR themed books?"

I do actually. Being in my 40s I have little interest in reading about teenagers or people in their 20s.


message 16: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More), Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 7308 comments Mod
Paganalexandria **wicked juices bubbling over** wrote: "I don't need characters in my age range. I just don't like books set in a high school environment. Everything else, I'm open to."

I know what you mean. I am over high school. I actually like YA/Juvenile fantasy a lot when it's not set in the school environment too much.

I can't do New Adult. Too much drama.


message 17: by Megan (new)

Megan (meganscoils) | 674 comments Tina wrote: "I don't look for a certain age, but I do tend to bypass YA and NA. Mainly because the age group doesn't appeal to me for romance purposes. I mean, I look at my 15 year old son and try to imagine ..."

I think I'm growing out of NA. I'm still in my early 20s but I'm tired of hearing about: Virgin girl meets bad boy/experienced guy, girl and guy are "just friends", guy changes bad ways, guy and girl hook up, girl loses her virginity, everything is good, break up happens, guy and girl mope, guy and girl get back together, HEA.

I had a professor who said when he was in college jokingly sent out a romance novel to small named publishing companies. ALL of them sent him a reply letter saying they liked it but it needed to be set up certain ways. Like, 10% girl and guy have to meet, 15% they express feelings, 30% they hook up 50% they break up and 80% they have to get back together. Him and his friend rented books and sure enough all the books had the same outline pretty much. I've noticed somewhere around 50% every couple goes through their rough patch or break up in NA novels.


message 18: by Tamekia (new)

Tamekia | 87 comments I prefer characters in their 30's and 40's - some YA is ok to mix it up but my tastes are maturing. I feel it is easier to relate with characters closer to my age and who are experiencing similar life experiences.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Love characters in their 20s but the formula is definitely "must be virgin" heroine which is a turn off...


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1210 comments I really thought NA was going to be that breakout genre, that the young heroines were going to be written with a mixture of savvy and uncertainty. They were going to test the waters with both fearlessness and foolishness.

These books commit so much epic fail. The rampant slut-shaming, virgin-worship, abuse thinly disguised as "love". I am so over the "bad boy/good girl" thing, even in mainstream romance. And let's not even get into the criminal lack of diversity, despite the overwhelming fact that most new adults attend integrated college campuses and/or have friends of different races and orientations.


message 21: by Taida (new)

Taida (dreadlockeddiva) | 98 comments Hello all, this is my first time commenting in this group but this is one of my pet peeves-- the continual use of women in their 20's as heroines. I have nothing against a heroine in their 20's, and have enjoyed many a book, but it seems to me there is a devaluation of older women within the romance genre in general including IR. I believe that the "one true love/soul mate" trope as well as the youth=desirability narrative is some of what underlies this emphasis on women in their 20's as the ideal romance heroine.

I would love to see more stories with women in their late 30's, 40's, or 50's who have loved and lost, gone through divorce, or are finding love for the first time midlife.

Ultimately I would like to see more balance in the type of heroines in romance but especially in IR. We have argued for a diversity in race, but I would also like to see a diversity in age.


message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Taida wrote: "Hello all, this is my first time commenting in this group but this is one of my pet peeves-- the continual use of women in their 20's as heroines. I have nothing against a heroine in their 20's, an..."

I second that!


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

With with @taida. I'm in my 20s but pretty soon I won't be, and while I'll know I'll still be able to connect with a good story , I wouldn't mind a little age diversity.

I think the ideal heroine being young, inexperienced, unsure of herself is only appealing when you don't know what else is out there.

Does having gone through a divorce, and had grown woman experiences make a character less desirable to readers?

I'm just asking because I've never been married and don't have children. So for the most part, if were not talking about race, culture or age, my image is pretty much always included.


message 24: by Anino (new)

Anino  (anino) | 773 comments Taida wrote: "Hello all, this is my first time commenting in this group but this is one of my pet peeves-- the continual use of women in their 20's as heroines. I have nothing against a heroine in their 20's, an..."

I'd like to read about a 40 something woman who finds love for the 1st or 2nd time in her life. Perhaps even detail how she never thought that she would feel again. If it was well written, I would definitely buy that book.


message 25: by Tina (last edited Jul 25, 2014 05:57PM) (new)

Tina | 1374 comments @Anino & Taida -

Dancing on the Edge of the Roof by Sheila Williams . I read this ages ago and loved it.

The heroine is in her forties and "runs away from home" from her grown thankless children and throws a dart on a map and seeks adventure. She finds new friends and romance.


message 26: by Emotonal (new)

Emotonal Reads | 164 comments I totally agree with you Diva, every word.


Monica **can't read fast enough** (wwwgoodreadscomuser_monlat) | 895 comments Tina wrote: "@Anino & Taida -

Dancing on the Edge of the Roof by Sheila Williams. I read this ages ago and loved it.

The heroine is in her forties and "runs away from home" from her grown thankless children ..."


Thanks TIna-I'm grabbing a copy of that one too!


message 28: by Megan (new)

Megan (meganscoils) | 674 comments TheFountainPenDiva wrote: "I really thought NA was going to be that breakout genre, that the young heroines were going to be written with a mixture of savvy and uncertainty. They were going to test the waters with both fearl..."

This is so true. I've only read a handful of NA books with a gay best friend. The gay guys are always described as being so fashion forward, drama loving, funny, confident and skinny, every now and then they'll smoke like a train. My best friend of 10 years is shy, muscular, doesn't give a shit about what I wear and couldn't help me pick out an outfit, he also just so happens to be gay. The stereotypes in NA are a little sad.


message 29: by Taida (new)

Taida (dreadlockeddiva) | 98 comments Tina wrote: "@Anino & Taida -

Dancing on the Edge of the Roof by Sheila Williams. I read this ages ago and loved it.

The heroine is in her forties and "runs away from home" from her grown thankless children ..."

Thanks Tina! I actually read that awhile ago and I liked it as well. I think I smell a re-read coming on.



message 30: by Lavender (last edited Jul 26, 2014 12:41PM) (new)

Lavender Parker (LavenderParker) | 31 comments I personally avoid NA because I dislike the tropes in that genre, which have all been talked about here. I hate virginal heroines with a PASSION.

I prefer an experienced heroine myself, and I tend to write heroines and heroes in their 30s. My new novella features a divorced heroine with two young children.

I think life experience adds to the romance!


message 31: by Lavender (new)

Lavender Parker (LavenderParker) | 31 comments TheFountainPenDiva wrote: "I really thought NA was going to be that breakout genre, that the young heroines were going to be written with a mixture of savvy and uncertainty. They were going to test the waters with both fearl..."

I completely and totally agree! I can't stand the slut-shaming either. It's really gotten out of control, IMO. And the lack of diversity is also not cool. I don't get why NA is such a popular genre!


message 32: by Tisha (new)

Tisha | 45 comments I usually prefer when the characters are slightly older than myself. I like to feel like the hero/heroine is ahead of me in life, if that makes any sense. For example, I am no longer interested in a heroine that' 16-18 years old,going to college and whatnot. I've already been through this in my life so I don't want to relive it. I like to feel like I'm learning something from the characters (although that rarely happens), so I Like them older.
Now many commenters have mentionned the YA genre...is it the same thing as the Young Adults genre?? You guys don't seem too fond of it lol


message 33: by Megan (new)

Megan (meganscoils) | 674 comments ^^^Na is New Adult, it's pretty much Young adult grown up. People are 19-21 college aged. Most of them are in college too, some are not. There's more sex, sometimes drugs, smoking cursing etc.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

I think new adult could have had potential but it's honestly just an excuse to be more explicit with sex, which I don't think is the worst thing in the world. But it's often so poorly executed, it's just shunned altogether.

Sometimes well executed books make age so insignificant, but many are not open to them based on age. Thoughts?


message 35: by Tina (new)

Tina | 1374 comments Lavender wrote: "I completely and totally agree! I can't stand the slut-shaming either. It's really gotten out of control, IMO. And the lack of diversity is also not cool. I don't get why NA is such a popular genre! "

UIgh. The slut shaming is terrible in NA. I don't even read the genre and I get a truckload of it just from reading excerpts and synopsis.

I think NA grew out of the popularity of self pubbed authors who basically fan-fid's Twilight into lucrative careers.


message 36: by Tisha (new)

Tisha | 45 comments Thanks for the help Megan. I find the combination of frequent/explicit sex scenes and slut-shaming quite interesting. Are these NA books actually written by people of that age range or by older adults??


message 37: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More), Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Wants to Read More) (gatadelafuente) | 7308 comments Mod
I'd like to see more romance books with older heroines who aren't experienced. It happens. I think the assumption is that if you're a certain age you have done everything and been in love and that's not necessarily the case.


message 38: by Megan (new)

Megan (meganscoils) | 674 comments The slut shaming is turning into a broken record. I find it weird in all these books the virgin is being praised and "sluts" are always mean and the antagonist. My friend and I also talked about how the main character's best friend is always sexually experienced, has a wild hair color, more social than the MC etc. It's also pretty rare you find one of these books where the guy is younger than the woman.

Tisha wrote: "Thanks for the help Megan. I find the combination of frequent/explicit sex scenes and slut-shaming quite interesting. Are these NA books actually written by people of that age range or by older ad..."

Uh it really depends. Colleen Hoover, Jamie McGuire and Abbi Glines are pretty big names around the NA community. None of them are in their 20s, I think all of them are in their 30s or a little older, they all have teenaged kids (I went to book signings, not a stalker lol). I've also noticed that at these book signings none of the readers look to be college aged.

I have noticed an uprise of younger college women or women in their 20s beginning to write more NA novels which is refreshing. If you're curious in reading one I can loan you one if you have Kindle.


message 39: by Elle (new)

Elle Rush (ellerush) | 24 comments I have a hard time reading NA characters for a couple reasons - my life experiences can make it hard to read about their choices without flinching, and the fact that high school/college was not a great time for me socially, so reliving it isn't a priority. I'm good with adult/mature characters of any age.


message 40: by Kaia (last edited Jul 29, 2014 09:52PM) (new)

Kaia Bennett (kaiabennett) I don't have a particular preference when I read. I may change my tune as I get older because this thread pointed out how rarely I've seen older heroines/romantic relationships broached...but then I think that has something to do with the fact that we may age physically, but in spirit we can totally relate to young, vivacious explorations of sexuality and romance, or at the very least feel nostalgic about it.

Anyway, the last time I saw older romance/sex written with any sort of care was when I read Moo by Jane Smiley. It used the college backdrop to explore how several couples of various ages/races were having sex across campus in one chapter. That wasn't the focus of the book, but it was done really well. You saw older couples, homosexual couples, younger, inexperienced couples, some unsatisfying sex, some loving, great sex. And there was an interracial relationship as well.

Right now I'm reading Abigail Barnette's The Boss, because Mara Wilson tweeted some shade over 50 Shades *snickers*, and I was curious as someone who never read 50 Shades for no other reason then I just...haven't. I like that the male lead is hot but older, as in near 50 but a caring dominant, and the female lead is 24-25, but no child. She knows what she wants, she's not perfect or non-threatening so the Dom can seem more dominant by comparison. I like it as far as May-December romances go, and it features some awkwardness, some stops and starts that make it more real.

Don't wanna high-jack the thread from a writer stand point, so ignore this next part if you're uninterested in an author perspective: To date I've written women wrapping up college or recently graduated because that's when I started writing, but I think there's room for all of us. One of my favorite films is The Mother, which is a beautiful, often sad portrait of an older woman experiencing her sexual awakening long after her kids are grown and after just losing her husband...with Daniel Craig. Soooo... Or Chloe, where you see a married older, successful woman with a teenage son coming to terms with whether her husband might be cheating on her, and it's a younger woman that's crazy for her...granted those are films, but the core truth is that hot expressions of sexuality are not limited to the ages of 17 to 25, or to women that have never had sex or kids. There's more nuance involved in sex and romance than that, from the act itself right on down to the individuals partaking in it.

I dunno, I'm weird. I wrote a NA book, but I don't feel like a NA writer, I just feel like that's the story I wanted to tell at that point, and I can still relate to the NA mindset. So I don't have a lot of judgment about the genre (I don't read as much as I should, so that might be why). I will say this though, I got a bit tired of seeing virgins or near virgins written as delicate flowers without bite or sexual agency. You know, sweet girls that are corrupted by the hero who then nulls that corruption by falling in love, which makes them clean again. I think there is a huge difference between inexperience and just hiding your head under a rock. And I think you can be a good girl and still get dirty with the right partner. Or the wrong partner. You can do whoever you see fit, because character isn't limited to how many people you've let inside your lady parts. So I started writing some stories that explore that aspect of virginity and inexperience.

Oh, and male virgins should get more play. I would love to read/write about an alpha male that also happens to have not had sex yet. It's the journey that I find interesting, and that doesn't stop when you reach a certain age, sexual landmark or relationship status.


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1210 comments I would LOVE to read more male virgins!

The whole "good girl" idea just sounds wrong. It implies a value/moral judgment that is too close to the false Madonna/Whore dichotomy. That's my feminism talking, but it's maddening we still think that way and these books seem to reinforce the status quo. Worse, is the seeming need to attach some kind of sexual abuse or trauma. I know these issues are serious. They shouldn't be treated like a popular plot device.


message 42: by Kaia (new)

Kaia Bennett (kaiabennett) TheFountainPenDiva wrote: "I would LOVE to read more male virgins!

The whole "good girl" idea just sounds wrong. It implies a value/moral judgment that is too close to the false Madonna/Whore dichotomy. That's my feminism ..."


I feel you, especially the Madonna/Whore complex, which is why anyone over a certain age gets marginalized into the Crone archetype needlessly. What I like to do rather than disavow the tropes altogether, is turn them on their ear. What is a "good girl"? Well, people think it means a girl that doesn't sleep around but in my mind it's a girl that cares for others, that takes care of her responsibilities. She follows certain codes of conduct, or at one point held to expectations others set for her. That doesn't mean she can't be a badass, sexual, kind, smart without being pretentious. It means that at first glance people believe she fits their norms, especially sexual one. For me bad boys are the same. I tried to twist it on it's ear and make it less about a guy that screws his way across campus and more about a guy that doesn't care what you think, is his own boss, makes mistakes and knows how to admit it, and ultimately is unafraid of anyone so when he faces fear it rocks him. But I think the tropes are there to be bones and it's up to writers to supply some meat and give it nuance and shape. Sometimes we fail, sometimes we succeed *shrug*

I don't condone abuse, sexual or otherwise, in life. I'm a feminist, a humanist. I don't advocate treating others as lesser, whether you're male or female, young or old, and when a character does that I have them face it and the consequences that come with making a decision you can't take back, or facing a trauma that takes a while to heal from. But... that's a hard thing to censor in erotic works especially. One person's abuse is another person's kink, and when I write sex scenes I use them as an allegory for the relationship. If there's animosity that may come out in the scene, but not in a way that is dangerous to either party. I think context is important, as well as understanding fantasy can be contained and constructed, but reality can't. I can write/read about dark themes and not want to practice them or condone them in real life. I think that's the main issue I have with shaming and censoring things. More people might be open to writing different characters, older characters, or other races if there was more exploration and less focus on not being "wrong".

Sorry, hate to get off topic, you just broached some interesting ideas and it made me think about my own thought process when writing. But you're right there needs to be a break from the status quo. If there hadn't been IR wouldn't exist.


message 43: by Tina (new)

Tina | 1374 comments @Kaia - Yay! on name-checking Moo. One of my favorites because as a person who has worked in Higher Ed. Administration, this book get the details right. And it is funny as heck.

This statement I wrote a NA book, but I don't feel like a NA writer is critical in discussing the phenom of NA.

My understanding is that NA is a marketing term, first and foremost. It is was conceived by a publishing house who specifically wanted the flavor of YA but with an older set of people so they could explore more sexual themes. Hence my feeling that 'NA' is more about mentality than just age range.

There is a reason so many of those books are angsting about the same things, because all they rally do is move (white, middle class) high school drama into college.

That said, I don't think of Sunday as typically NA. Sure your characters are in college and in their 20s. by that same token Ruthie Robinson's Reye's Gold could also be loosely considered NA. But both of your books' characters and themes feel like they don't belong under the NA -- at least the NA we see over and over again -- umbrella. Your characters feel more adult and have a more mature outlook than many of the typical NA's I've encountered.


message 44: by Lavender (new)

Lavender Parker (LavenderParker) | 31 comments TheFountainPenDiva wrote: "I would LOVE to read more male virgins!

The whole "good girl" idea just sounds wrong. It implies a value/moral judgment that is too close to the false Madonna/Whore dichotomy. That's my feminism ..."


Ever since I read Thief of Shadows (Maiden Lane, #4) by Elizabeth Hoyt I've been itching to write a virgin hero... I'm definitely working on it for one of my books :)


message 45: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6568 comments Mod
Lavender, write the virgin hero. We need more books with virgin heroes.


message 46: by Lavender (new)

Lavender Parker (LavenderParker) | 31 comments Kaia wrote: "I don't have a particular preference when I read. I may change my tune as I get older because this thread pointed out how rarely I've seen older heroines/romantic relationships broached...but then ..."

THIS. All of this. I totally agree! I feel like that's one of the main issues in all of romance, going way back. That's actually one of the reasons I started writing romance, because I couldn't stand the 'sweet dumb virgin' trope that has been around since the dawn of time. Some people obviously like this kind of character, hence the success of NA, but I just can't.

P.S. I've been meaning to read Sunday foreva! You got me with the blurb, but I was a little cautious because I saw it as NA-esque. I'll definitely buy it now that I know your views on the subject :)


message 47: by The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (last edited Jul 30, 2014 11:05AM) (new)

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1210 comments @Kaia:

Thank you so much for your killer feedback. I like how you flip the script/redefine "good girl/bad boy". I just would like to see both terms be used as kindling on a bonfire, lol. I've probably missed/missing some great reads because I see those terms and just don't want to be fed more lazy stereotypes. Just be a regular girl/guy who are attracted to one another and navigate the whole relationship thing.

What I meant by the overdone abuse/trauma tropes has nothing to do with consensual sex. I'm seeing a lot of NA going overboard on making the heroine a victim of sexual violence or abuse. Not that writers should gloss over such timely topics, but not every college/young adult experience is frought with danger. It's almost as if these writers want to infantilize women, make them scared of owning their agency as well as sexuality. I find it offensive that the heroines are saddled with all this baggage only to let it go when "the right boy" comes along to "save" her. Really? In 2014?

Oh, and I adore Elizabeth Hoyt!


message 48: by Kaia (new)

Kaia Bennett (kaiabennett) @Tina - You've read Moo! Loved that book, it was so much fun to read. Very witty, very human. Glad to see it was accurate as well. And the bread down of NA (as well as the recommendation) was very helpful. It's the Madonna/Whore thing again, YA being devoid of sex and NA being rife with it, but both having the same issues. Thank you so much for your break down of Sunday too and putting it in good company. I'm glad Gia and Flynn came out like I had intended. :)

@Lavender - Hey! Congrats on your recent release and thanks for reading Sunday when you get the chance. Glad I'm not the only one who feels virgin isn't always synonymous with "innocent and easily manipulated". I look forwarding to seeing your take on that too.

@FPD - Oh, my bad, I totally misinterpreted the last part. That I totally agree with. Love and support help but they're not a cure all for a crappy childhood or assault/abuse. It takes a lot of work to cope and manage with that sort of thing. I guess it's being used more and more as a way to get the hero or heroine to connect emotionally, provide some angst? That brings me back to older heroes and heroines, or at least more mature ones. There probably would be a more realistic showcase for those types of things if the protagonists were a bit older.

And thank you I'm glad you liked my take on those tropes! "kindling on a bonfire" was awesome.


message 49: by Tisha (new)

Tisha | 45 comments I have read all your comments on NA books and found them interesting. Of course we each have grievances on the romance genre as a whole. I must say though that because we are in the era of the internet, news travel fast and popularity is more easily attained. When a book does become successful, it is expected that the same formula will be duplicated. If these books exist, somebody must be reading them…
It is probably my pessimist side talking but I feel like stereotypes will always exist. They are easy to identify, to analyze and most of them are quite familiar to us. The virginal heroine, the bad boy, the bad guy, the anti-hero, the tortured hero, the nerd, the independent woman, the shy girl, the artsy girl the party girl, the mousy girl etc. ALL of them have existed for a while and Even trying to break free from stereotype becomes a stereotype itself. I know for fact that I cannot stand the “special snowflake” heroine. There are few other archetypes that I cannot stand. I am sure each one of you is the same. The thread about pet peeves in IR romance is proof of that. My way of seeing thing is that if something exists, it’s because it has a target audience. Those prototypes cater to the people that read them/love them. I just think the virginal heroine is a way for many to go back to a time they were “whole” and on the verge of becoming a woman. Usually in a romance the heroine will only have sex with the hero who will also become the love of her life. Maybe that’s the appeal: it basically erases the reader’s past sexual mistakes and just keeps the experience shared with that one and only (fictional) true love, i.e. the hero.
I will also say- I might offend some members of this thread who are also writers; I apologize in advance- there is practically nothing new under the sun. I have yet to find a book, especially in some particular genres, that was innovative. I’ve come to a point where I did have to abandon some sub-genres altogether because they always use the same formula in terms of character development, storytelling and plot. Even though I say that, there are formulas and archetypes that work for me. I know which ones they are and I seek them out. I ignore what I hate and embrace what I enjoy. I even like many “un-feminist” tropes in my romance novels. Is that harmful to me? I don’t know but they work for me and I unashamedly seek them out. I know that my philosophy doesn’t work for everyone (and I am grateful that everyone is not like me tbh or else the world would be doomed.)

@ Megan: Yes I would be interested in you lending me a NA book.


message 50: by Lavender (new)

Lavender Parker (LavenderParker) | 31 comments Tisha wrote: "I have read all your comments on NA books and found them interesting. Of course we each have grievances on the romance genre as a whole. I must say though that because we are in the era of the inte..."

Not offensive to writers - we all know that there are no new stories, only new ways to tell them. I think readers of any genre, including romance, find something comforting about reading the same tropes and conventions, over and over again. I know I do! As always, different strokes for different folks.

My only issue is when things become too anti-feminist. If every romance book is anti-feminist and reinforcing negative stereotypes and bias, I think that's a major problem. Especially in a genre that caters mostly to women!

As far as NA books, maybe try Kiss the Sky. It isn't IR/MC, but it wasn't too bad (IMHO lol). It has a virginal heroine, but she was an HBIC, which I always appreciate :)


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