Okay, now that we've got that over with...
ROMANCE novels! Last week we talked about our FAVORITE ones, what makes a GREAT one, and then ended by dreaming about romantic destinations.
Today... let's talk about--
I'm tiptoeing slightly here, because I don't want this to be a negative post, and my intent is not to put writer's down who have done my particular pet peeves. I'll preface this that we all have our own set of what we like and don't like. It's why books are so subjective. What one person thinks makes an AWESOME novel... someone else might groan at.
But today, I want to focus specifically on the romance genre, because while we learn a ton by discussing what makes a GREAT book, it's also important that we know what readers are annoyed by, what makes them frustrated--besides bad writing of course! Also, what is a "not so great" thing in romance might be perfectly acceptable and wonderful in women's fiction or suspense or what-not.
So... without further explanation, Krista's PERSONAL romance novel pet peeves:
- Zero attraction. I'm trying to stay away from noting the opposite of my "must haves" from last year, but this is a huge one for me. Especially in Christian romance, there are some lines regarding the big S word that we can and can't cross. And while I REALLY appreciate the lines, as I don't care to read a play by play of certain, ahem, actions, I also get frustrated when I get to the end of the book and the characters get together, but there seemed to be ZERO attraction between the two. While physical attraction should NOT be the only thing a relationship is built on, in all relationships, and especially a romance novel, it can't be ignored. Romance is more than just a couple deciding to get married. It's the dance between two people, the wooing of one to another, the element that makes our hearts race a little faster. So, yes, please leave out the explicit sex scenes, but not the romance, sexual tension, attraction, etc.
- A dissatisfying ending. There is a HUGE difference between an love story and a romance. A romance novel should ALWAYS have a happily ever after where hero and heroine end up together. Zero exceptions. I should have a big sigh and a smile on my face as I close the book, not sobs and the urge to throw the book through the window.
- Slightly off subject, but a personal pet peeve of mine is when a book LOOKS like a romance from the cover and title... but when you read it, it's anything but. MAJOR let down, and I'm less likely to pick up a book by said author after that. Whereas, if I'd have known it wasn't a romance, I would have set my expectations as such.
- Stupid characters. I know we have to add conflict and tension, and keep the story building, but sometimes, on occasion, authors stoop (or better said, make characters stoop) to levels of stupidity to create that conflict. I can suspend quite a bit of reality when I read books, we all have to, because face it, fiction is highly fiction. But there is a point that is too far, where it makes conflict between Hero/Heroine seem author forced instead of character driven.
- Going on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about pretty much nothing. You've read the books... the pages of emotional angst from a character where they just lament about the same thing over and over and over and (okay, you get the point.) Or sometimes it could be pages of vast descriptions over a setting that you know the author really loves, because they describe it to us in a billion different ways. I must confess though: I have the opposite problem when I write. I tend to forget to tell you what my characters look like and have to go add it back in. So this is a two-way street. Too little or too much, both are not great!