Monday, May 6, 2013

Enough With the Life-Threatening Danger Already!


Biggest pet peeve as a reader. 

I was really getting into a story that I'd downloaded for free on Kindle.  The love story was interesting, two guys vying for girl's attention, little bit of a mystery, and just a hint of danger... and then BOOM. all of the sudden the guy that's supposed to be the normal dude (okay, super sexy and alpha male, but not royalty) turns out to be even MORE important than the Prince that has been showing interest in the heroine... he turns out to be Prince's big brother but he's been hiding out from his royal heritage and now the King and Queen are incensed because the heroine isn't their idea of marriage material for one of their sons and so now they're trying to kill her. 

Completely disgusted, I deleted the book from my Kindle immediately and went to check things out online.  It's got two more books of the King and Queen trying to chase her down and put an end to the "problem" permanently.  A lot of people really liked it, going by the reviews, but I have just been completely wrung out by the number of books that have to throw in some crazy danger in order to make the story "exciting." It was already exciting darn it! I was excited by the love triangle and the fact that I thought the "normal" every day man was going to win out over the prince for once! (which, also, gave me a story idea).

This morning I was checking out a sample on my Kindle for a book that seemed super interesting about a town way out in rural England where people still basically acted like a Medieval town and every so often there is a "finding year" where new people can be introduced to and brought into the community.  The heroine is on her way in, hired by the Lord of the town, and she's about to find out exactly what it's like to be beholden to an alpha-male heavy-handed spanker.  WOO! Super exciting right? And then comes the other two perspectives in the book, both jealous females, both "hating" the heroine upon appearance and one of them already planning to do dastardly deeds. 

I lost interest.

Sure these elements of danger add to the plot somewhat, but they also tend to (in my opinion) take away from the character / romance development.  What's the easiest way to make an alpha male who's sworn off love admit to his feelings? Make the heroine almost die so that he has to face what life would be like without her!  

Does it work? Sure. But it also covers a multitude of sins, the biggest being that of not enough romance development. Instead of having to work to win the regard of the girl when he's been pushing her away the whole book, they BOTH get to suddenly realize that life is short and they should make the most of it.  Personally I'd rather see the guy have to work to open up and let the heroine in, to woo her in the manner she deserves. 

I know that's just a personal preference... but I felt like ranting about it.  

This is why even though Bridget and Garrett were effected by the showdown with Patrick in Being the Maid, it didn't immediately bring them together as a couple.  Because I feel like it's a bandaid over an emotional problem rather than a true fix.  There are a few storylines in my head that I'd like to write that do have danger in them, possibly life-threatening, but it's because of the nature of the careers the characters have chosen... and also, I'm going to do my best to keep it from ever effecting the emotional progress of the characters.  If I even get around to writing those books because every time I get annoyed with a book for doing that it makes me want to focus on my books that have no crazy life threatening issues. 

There are, of course, authors that do it well and whose stories I enjoy.  Stephanie Laurens and Lexie Blake spring to mind as two of my favorite authors whose characters are often in some sort of danger at some point during their books.  But for the most part, I wish there were more books that were just focused on the romance / character development and didn't feel the need to nearly kill the heroine in order to get the hero to commit. Ya know?!

Anyway.  Going on in my own world - Venus Transcendent is so close to being done, but it probably won't be out till next week because I've accepted a very kind offer to help me with editing.  The first version put out still won't be perfect but we'll be cleaning it up and putting out a new version not long afterwards - and people who have already bought it are able to download subsequent versions easily which is the nice thing about Amazon.  I just finished Chapter 16 today. I think I have four more to go. My goal is to write a chapter a day for the rest of this week, get as much editing done over the weekend and the beginning of next week as possible and then get this baby out there. Woo!


  1. I don't read a lot of romances, but I do read a lot of mysteries, and I have exactly the same pet peeve in that genre. It used to be that detectives FIGURED OUT who committed the crime, but someone decided that wasn't "exciting" enough, and now the villain tries to kill the detective during the last couple of pages.

    Well, gee, if the bad guy is going to come along and kill your hero, then you don't have to leave any clues or make your mystery hold together, do you? You don't need to make the crime figure-outable. It's partly lazy plotting by writers who aren't bright enough to write real mysteries, but there are some writers who ARE bright enough to write real mysteries who don't, because this is how it's done now.


    If I weren't writing a computer game, I'd write a mystery where the detective, you know, DETECTS. :P

    1. OOoooo that's such a good point!!!! There's some romance-mysteries that are like that and they tend to really frustrate me unless the detective has already figured out who done it and is working to prove it... although even then that's kind of lazy since when the bad guy tries to kill them outright it usually negates the need to prove anything. BLAH.

      If you ever see me do that in a book, slap me. Please.