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What drives me crazy in a romance novel

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message 1: by Mary (new)

Mary (mjaw) | 4 comments I grew up reading romance novels. In fact I probably started younger than I should have. Romances are what I seek out the most when I'm buying books. That said, why are we still dealing with many of the cliches that were in romances 40 years ago when out mothers and grandmothers first started reading them?

I guess my biggest complaint is the misunderstading that could be cleared up in five minutes if the two main characters whould just sit down and talk. I know there should be some tension, even major conflict, in any book. It usually keeps the characters apart. But make the problem more complex than overhearing a random coment that is out of context or seeing the hero kissing another woman. We as readers know the other woman probably kissed him and seconds later he pulled away but out heroine always sees the kiss just after it started and runs off before he ends it. Come on, confront the guy. You are supposed to love him, be strong, not a wimp.

This is just one example but you get the idea. There are so many more and sometimes it just feels lazy to through one in to cause conflict and not to think of something more original.

Any thoughts fellow readers?


message 2: by Allison (new)

Allison | 252 comments I'm not a huge romance reader, but what you're describing annoys me to no end. Sometimes if it's in a TV show I'll change the channel, because I just can't handle that. There's got to be better problems out there besides context issues. But hey, talking it out isn't half as entertaining than misunderstanding mishaps :P


message 3: by Madhuri_v (new)

Madhuri_v (NineMuses) | 5 comments @Mary

What an excellent topic and excellent point. It is one of my pet peeves and not something I could share with anyone yet.

I guess even Pride and Prejudice which was written almost 200 years ago had better problems than a lot of NEW romance novels I read.

One more problem I have (not sure if everyone will share it) is the description of the cloths. I could never visualise those and just skip them. I just imagine that the heroine must be looking good. :-)

Mads


message 4: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Dawes (laurendawes) | 3 comments I don't often read romance novels but what bothers me is the quick 'instant' romance and how ridiculously fast they fall into bed with each other. I don't want to be reading a sex scene on the third chapter - it's just too unrealistic.


message 5: by Maggie (new)

Maggie I hate when characters meet for the 1st time and 3 pages later they are madly in love. I know it's a romance book, but come on!
And why do only beautiful people fall in love? I'd love to read a book where at least one character was ordinary looking.


message 6: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Dawes (laurendawes) | 3 comments Agreed Maggie! I guess it's just a way for the author to create these 2 perfect characters that a literally made for each other. It's sickening but true. I don't have an issue with romance novels if they're well written and the characters are developed well


message 7: by Farah (new)

Farah (evanleia) What drives me crazy are the 'love triangles.' It's like authors feel obligated to include them now (especially YA) and they add little to nothing to the overall story apart from dumb, cliche drama. It happens so often now that the love leans so heavily on one side, and then all of a sudden it's like "...Oh yeah! There's supposed to be a love triangle. Here, let's just put so and so here...and tada!" It's just there for the sake of being there. It drives me nuts.

What's even more upsetting is when the main character doesn't even choose between the two either. Often circumstances outside of their control forces one out of the running, making it so that the main character (often female) is forced to chose the other. I HATE that. As much as people may rag on Twilight (and it is unfortunately to blame for most of the dreadful trends found in many new novels), at least Bella actually made a CHOICE between the two.


message 8: by Erika (new)

Erika Lynn | 4 comments I love reading romance and erotica but it drives me bonkers to read all the FSOG knock off books. IT seems like ever since FSOG came out, too many authors have molded their work to somehow incorporate with FSOG. I understand all authors wanna succeed and have their book on a best sellers list. In understand it rakes blood, sweet, and tears to publish and a book and then taking a whole other risk hoping that it sells. I get that. But I just want to scream "BE ORIGINAL!" Use your imagination. Make up your own ideas. Everything can't be like Ana and Christian!


message 9: by Mary (new)

Mary (mjaw) | 4 comments Great point. Maybe there are no truly original ideas, there were books like FSOG before FSOG. But they have to done well and with the author's own voice. Most of what is done just to be fashionable is crap.


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I dislike how every romance novel follows the same pattern: guy meets girl, they hate each other but usually have an overwhelming attraction, they are separated, guy must go after girl and rescue her, girl can't help falling in love with her rescuer, guy realizes he has loved girl all along, everything ends up happily ever after. It gets a little repetitive and predictable after a couple dozen! If anyone has any suggestions for romance authors that DO NOT follow this pattern, please let me know! I would love to give that type of romance plot a try!


message 11: by Laurinda (new)

Laurinda | 1 comments I totally agree with Maggie's comments. I struggle to find romances with unusual plot patterns and characters, which is why I tend to buy books from authors (eg Sara Zarr, John Green, Jonathan Tropper, David Nicholls) where romance is an element to the story but the books aren't 'romance genre'. From my own personal experience, I would say it's hard for romance writers to get their books published in the genre when their characters/plots are unusual. An agent told me that she didn't like my romance, 'The Harlequin Girl', because the two central characters didn't end up with each other. (My heroine also has a facial disfigurement.) I guess many agents/publishers believe readers are looking for the usual patterns when they buy romance.


message 12: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Lund (benlund2000) | 33 comments Kimaya wrote: "What I don't like is the fact that the Hero is more often than not PERFECT. Good looking (Of course), six pack abs (even if he's a nerd. I mean, come on! We love Jesse Eisenberg. It's okay if the h..."

If the character was anything less than perfect, the book, whatever it is, wouldn't sell.


message 13: by Allison (new)

Allison | 252 comments Maybe, but there are many versions of perfect for each individual, and only one seems to be regularly represented.


message 14: by Mary (new)

Mary (mjaw) | 4 comments For the most part we read romance novels for the fantasy. I don't need a perfect man in real life but my book boyfriends are a different matter. I like gorgeous men with plenty of money who worship the ground the heroine walks on. Yes, they are more interesting if they have some personality flaws, but physically I like the hero to be in great shape and well endowed (though not every book goes into great detail about size). I'm sure there are romances out there where the hero isn't a perfect physical specimen but that isn't what most of us are looking for in our books.


message 15: by Allison (new)

Allison | 252 comments Fair enough; I must admit I also enjoy reading about good looking characters :P :D


message 16: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin Lund (benlund2000) | 33 comments Allison wrote: "Maybe, but there are many versions of perfect for each individual, and only one seems to be regularly represented."

True. That would be in the looks department. Correct?


message 17: by B.B. (new)

B.B. Shepherd (bbshepherd) | 1 comments Laurinda wrote: "I totally agree with Maggie's comments. I struggle to find romances with unusual plot patterns and characters, which is why I tend to buy books from authors (eg Sara Zarr, John Green, Jonathan Trop..."

I was really confused by the word "romance" in reference to books when I first started marketing my book. What I have learned is that when you say "romance" to a publisher, they assume you mean romance genre. Romance genre MUST have a Happily Ever After with the two main characters ending up together. It is a genre requisite. Which means I have to be careful calling my book/series a romance also!


message 18: by Autumn (new)

Autumn (autumnmemory80) I am not a huge romance person, but what always cracks me up is that, and this is not limited to romance, the main character is always beautiful, but does not know it, or is unconventionally attractive.


message 19: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 56 comments Autumn, I like them okay, but I have to space them between others, like mysteries. What I hate is that there are usually two men after the same woman. (There may be a few more men, women or couples standing in the wings, but they only get mention.) The woman usually, as you say, is not aware of her extraordinary beauty or has beauty that is simply not considered so at the time. The one that appears bad (bad boy, rake, etc.) is usually the good one, and the good one is usually the bad seed.

Reminds me of when I was in high school and my mother and father always said I should really go out with so and so as he was "so nice" and "so polite". But the ones that were not so polite, read a lot and maybe did not dress the very best....well those were not "the right boy for you!!!"

But what often true was that the attractive, polite to adults one was a not that great; conceited, arrogant, etc. It is not always true that the other guy who maybe did not dress the best, and was not so polite, was always the best choice, but (at least back then) it was all about appearances. So some then (and sadly even today) send their daughters out with not so nice guys who appear to be the very best choice.

So this whole deal is annoying if I read too many at a time. (And I know they all don't have the same story line, but we all know that a lot of them do!)


message 20: by Autumn (new)

Autumn (autumnmemory80) Kathy wrote: "Autumn, I like them okay, but I have to space them between others, like mysteries. What I hate is that there are usually two men after the same woman. (There may be a few more men, women or coupl..."

I am like you, I read romance few and far in between, and this is what made me so mad about the last book I read by Nora Roberts. They guy was kinda a jerk. He was not nice. He had no excuse, like "Oh, my wife died," or "Oh, I am damaged from my childhood," he was just rude. How could someone be so attracted to someone who is hateful all the time, and then randomly comes over and takes her and has sex with her. Even though at first she resists. Just ticks me off. I am getting angry just typing this.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

What I hate and really turns me off is when the guy keeps trying to have sex with the girl when she already said no! No means no, period.


message 22: by -RininTa- (new)

-RininTa- (rinz) | 39 comments I like romance though it's not my top genre. But what I hate from romance is too predictable. You can easily know how the girl or the boy will end up.
Then, what I hate from romance genre is the dialogue between the main character with their lover - sometimes it's too much (what I mean is their usual conversations, their compliments, or how they express their love - is too cheesy!).
Also, I don't like romance novel with a lot of sex! Like, come on! ;((


message 23: by Desertorum (last edited Jan 21, 2015 02:58AM) (new)

Desertorum I really like romance novels but I have the same problems with them, as above said. Mostly I just get bored, but it would be fun to read the genre after a while. Do you have good suggestions, what is your favorite?
I like the men manly and I can´t stand if the woman is a wimp. It´s even a bit funny that it´s easier to understand the heroine if she likes muscular guys just because I do (and have one home ;)). Wouldn´t be fun to read different kind of relationships as well? Maybe, but not really :D It´s easier if it seems possible for me to act like the heroine does. That´s same with the wimp thing, can´t relate to that...
But flaws there must be, too perfect is just boring.
I don´t find them going to bed early unrealistic (I think that happens pretty often in real life, and in mine as well -> first date -> to bed -> fall in love -> together for 8 years now ;) ) but for a book I think it´s just boring. I want the tension to built and I would like there to be other problems that love triangle, that is so used theme.


message 24: by Melrose's (new)

Melrose's (melrosesplace01) In every book there will always be romance. That is the famous topic but it made me crazy because it gives me ideas on what to look in guys, on what kind of relationship I like and it make me aware on many things. Romance novels made me think on what love story I want create for me and makes me happy :D


message 25: by Kathy (new)

Kathy | 56 comments Mary wrote: "I grew up reading romance novels. In fact I probably started younger than I should have. Romances are what I seek out the most when I'm buying books. That said, why are we still dealing with man..."

Yes, I know what you mean. And what I also find annoying is that after the man or woman has already stated and proven their love, the loved one goes on and on about how they must not really be loved because of some stupid gesture or remark. And then they agonize over it and "dump" the other person. I guess it is the old saying that it is better to dump someone before they dump you.


message 26: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (bookswithcupcakes) | 4 comments I hate it when the guy loves the girl but she doesn't accept or realize it. So all I'm thinking is, "he's so hot my god just kiss him".


message 27: by Groovy (new)

Groovy Lee | 325 comments I love romance novels. I would read Harlequins and Silhouette whenever I got a free moment. Then I started writing them. But I did hate when the heroine's were all from one mold: blonde hair, blue eyes, and a size two, considered the "perfect" woman. Really? So, I would always just have a different image in my head when reading.

You know what else I hate? When they call erotica romance. That's not romance, it's baseless sex. It should have it's on category, just not under romance.


message 28: by Nicola (new)

Nicola White Linda wrote: "I dislike instant love where the characters immediately fall in love all of a sudden. In real life, those relationships don't usually last that long because the two people don't even know each othe..."

How about insta-lust, as opposed to insta-love? In PNR and UF especially, there are lots of 'fated mates', but often the characters fight the attraction at first because of personal history, politics, whatever.


message 29: by Sha (last edited Jul 22, 2019 02:23AM) (new)

Sha | 321 comments Hi! I read a lot of romance. :D

All of the problems I see described above are very real and very common. However, what I do like about the romance novel genre is that over the past bunch of years, there have been a lot of writers who so more nuanced and less cliche plotlines. It's one of the fastest evolving genres there is, and you can probably find something for everyone eventually.

Romance set in Civil War with discussions on race relations? A Hope Divided or An Unconditional Freedom. Modern day romance addressing class differences? Trade Me. Steampunk comedy with quasi-vampires? Prince of Hearts Comedies of manners? Most things by Georgette Heyer qualify- also check out Jo Beverley or Mary Balogh. Semi-angsty family relations and people trying to find themselves? Courtney Milan's Turner Brothers books. Frothy and irreverent contemporary romance with eccentric characters? Jennifer Crusie. Melodrama? Danielle Steel or Judith McNaught. Lighthearted relationship drama? Julia Quinn or Tessa Dare.

@Laurinda
"An agent told me that she didn't like my romance, 'The Harlequin Girl', because the two central characters didn't end up with each other. (My heroine also has a facial disfigurement.)"
I actually read a bunch of articles written recently about how a romance without a Happily Ever After/Happy For Now is not properly classified as romance, but as a love story. It's a genre convention and I think other people express it far better than I do.

@Benjamin
"If the character was anything less than perfect, the book, whatever it is, wouldn't sell."
I wouldn't go that far. A disfigured hero has been used often enough to be an actual trope. Sadly, there is less chance of encountering a disfigured heroine.


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