Monday, July 20, 2009

What Really Drives Me Up A Wall In Romance Novels



Happy Monday to All! After reading about ten different books over the last couple of weeks, I realized that there are certain plot devices, character flaws, and other items that drive me totally nuts when I am reading. Here is a list of some of these irritations....

1) The huge "Three's Company" Misunderstanding....
My husband and I call the "Big Misunderstanding" plot device in movies, books and TV shows...a "Three's Company"-- a reference to the ludicrous television sitcom from the 1970s/80s. I cannot relax when reading a book with this irritating plot device...I rush through it to find out when the misunderstanding is cleared up. And if another huge misunderstanding is heaped on top of that, well....I get seriously irked.

2) Sex outside of the hero/heroine coupling, especially when friends are involved...
I don't like reading about the hero getting it on with some other woman, and then being introduced to the heroine next chapter. Especially if it's her best friend. Hate that!

3) When the plot outshines the character development...
Bottom line: I want to fall in love with characters. I don't need (or want) 5,000 incredibly complex story lines going on. Romance, people, I want romance!

4) Over-the-top descriptions of death and destruction...
I can totally appreciate how gross a paranormal world is, but I don't need to hear about the liquid oozing out of some one's eyeball. Ewwwwww. Yuck.

5) Rape and/or child abuse....
Rape and child abuse do not mix well with romance. Period.

6) When a story line is started, and then disappears for no good reason...
Sometimes I get the feeling that an author started a story, got sidetracked by something, and forgot all about Aunt Ethel in the south of France. What's up with that?

7) Snarky first person heroines who are totally clueless....
Snarky first person heroines are pretty popular right now. I can handle them if they are funny instead of ultra-bitchy, and smart instead of too-stupid-to-live.

8) My ultra big beef-a-roni....series that lose the magic and fail to deliver....
When an author gets us hooked on an awesome series, and then starts cranking out books that are below-par, or fail to do justice to a character we have fallen in love with....Piss me off!!!!!! 

Some day I will write a list of things that make me really happy when I read a romance novel (tortured heroes finding true love, snappy banter between h/h, and wicked hot sex scenes in historicals will be included!)- I am off to walk (carry) Lucy, the laziest wiener dog on the face of the earth.
Penelope

P.S.- I would love to hear what some of your irritations are!!! Leave a comment!

4 comments:

MsMoonlight (Elizabeth Jules Mason) said...

Excellent list. Number 8 is a particular issue with me as I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE book series but often find them going down hill after the 4th or 5th book. That's just so disappointing.

Penelope said...

Hi MsMoonlight! I love series, too! I feel like a lot of these authors are letting down their fans by making us fall in love with certain characters and then writing a crappy, totally-not-satisfying book for them! Ugh! I think you're spot on with the 5-book limit. The only author I've read recently whose books are still getting BETTER as they progress is Annette Blair.

Jill D. said...

Hi Penelope!

This is a great idea and I agree with a lot of your list - numbers 1, 2, 4 & 8 specifically. I love that you have coded the "Big Misunderstanding" as a "Three's Company". Too funny! I would like to add to that list villians who are evil for the sake of being eeeeviiiillll and an over abundance of mental lusting on either the hero or heroine's part.

Penelope said...

Hi Jill D! I hear you about the evil villains...I like my villains to have something a little bit different or cool, or maybe even redeemable about them. Also, I can't stand books that have the h/h mental lusting for more than half the book before they get down to business. I am VERY impatient for the real lusting to begin...just ask my critique partners. If there isn't some sort of action in the first chapter, I get cranky.