Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bad Romance

 It's not just a song!

Although of course what people think of as "bad" can constitute many different things. I've been reading a lot of romances lately and there are a couple trends that I find incredibly annoying.

1. Woman loves man that she's known forever, when they finally fall into bed because of one circumstance or another, she blurts out her love. Man can't deal with it and somehow they end up having a sex-only relationship until he finally realizes that he's fallen in love with her too.

Okay... granted, I'm reading fiction, but come on. It drives me nuts that these female characters are often described as 'independent' and 'strong.' What is strong about telling a man over and over again that he loves you when he keeps telling you over and over again that all he wants is the sex?  And independent? Um... that's not the definition that I think of.  Even more frustratingly, the guy only realizes his love when it's too late, she leaves him and then eventually takes him back again. I guess that the leaving and having him woo her is the author's way of making him atone for his sins of hurting her when she put herself all out there (and who does THAT?) but it drives me nuts. Oh yes, you treated me like crap, used me for my body, and hurt me over and over, but now that you've realized you can't have the milk without the cow all of the sudden you love me and can't live without me? Let's get married!


2. Man thinks woman is promiscuous or slutty or whatever because of the way that her body responds to him or because they were once together and then something happened that made him think she cheated on him (and he subsequently dumped her without allowing her to explain) and so decides to use her body and get her "out of his system." Then, he finds out she's a virgin (thank goodness all these innocents manage to keep their hymen intact) and has to suddenly change his entire worldview, allowing him to love her because of her physical innocence.

Please... give me a story about a man falling in love with a woman who's had a couple of partners and isn't a milksop. The virgin thing gets old after while. I enjoyed it for a bit, but now I'm starting to prefer the stories about estranged marriages that end up working out again before they can completely end things. 

3. Somebody's life has to be in danger before the two characters can admit that they care about each other. Like... come on. Seriously. Granted, it must happen every once in awhile that two people who love each other and are refusing to admit it also happens to have a crazy stalker that kidnaps them, requiring the other to run to their rescue, or they get hit by a car or shot by a rival or whatever just at the very right moment for them to realize how much they mean to each other... but it's sooooo cliche. And unrealistic. Because it seriously can't happen that often.

But why Angel... why do you read these books? BECAUSE THEY'RE FREAKING ADDICTIVE. It's like junk food. You know it's bad for you but you can't stop shoveling the Doritos from the super size bag you got at Costco into your mouth (or am I the only one who has trouble putting the Doritos down?) until the bag is empty and you feel sick to your stomach.

I am hoping never to have any of these elements in any of my books. Do some of these themes create extra tension? Sure. Can some of them be done in ways that are hot and exciting? Absolutely. But I'm finding more and more that I want to write about the relationships that I see every day.  Maybe I'm the only one who sees tons of drama happening among her friends and family, but I really don't think I need to throw in a stalker with a gun, a drug smuggling ring, or a vindicating hymen in order to add drama and tension to a story. If that makes my books boring than so be it, but I really think I prefer to write closer to things that I actually see happen and find believable with just a liiiiittle bit of a stretch of my imagination rather than needing to wring my imagination out on a Medieval rack. 

Granted, all characters need conflict. I'm about 1/3 of the way through Chapter 9 of Being the Maid and I just dealt with a the major conflict of the story... but I've got a whole other chapter to write after 9 and so the conflict can't completely end. How boring would that be? I will admit, I'm having a lot of trouble not falling into "oh you almost died, now I realize how much I love you!" trope when it comes to Being the Maid. But I'm trying. I had someone comment that they hope Garrett gets some punishment.... eh. I don't want to seriously hurt him just to make him suffer for his actions, but hopefully the explanation that will help everyone forgive him for some of the less ah... 'good' things he's done. It's so funny to me how this series started out with lots of sex and is ending with a heavier side of plot, unlike most of my other series where things build up to the sex. But I'm having fun with it =) I'll be sad to see it go!


  1. Being the Maid is my #2 among things you have written, right behind Venus School of Sex and its follow ups. I seriously cannot wait for the next chapter :3 Keep up the amazing work! :D