Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I thought this would be a fun way to share a condensed version of potential rambles and thoughts that I have
This Week’s Theme:
Top Ten (or 20+) Comments
Regarding Romances In Books
It’s funny that this week’s theme comes just after my recent discussion post about The Diminishing Utility of Love Triangles where I highlight that everyone enjoys love triangles and it’s the execution that you [may] dislike. But this is just one dude’s opinion that you should never take seriously.
Anyhow, likes and dislikes are a fickle thing to claim because I’m sure that there are scenarios where I like the dislikes and vice versa. These things aren’t black and white and I surely wouldn’t auto-DNF a book based on my random comments. So the following is more like observations (mostly negative?) than anything else because there are 20+ points of randomness here.
So yes, prepare yourself for the complain train. I complain a lot. A lot a lot.
- Romance hijacking the plot. There is an underlying conflict—sometimes a real life and death situation—but then you have protagonists who’s only concern is their love life. Nothing else. Not the world ending, not succeeding in life, not getting a job and finding hobbies. Nope. Just continue to be a people (or person) pleaser and navigate through drama.
- And to a lesser extent: indecision carrying the story forward for a nonsensical length of time. Le sigh.
- Characters of introversion that somehow dismiss their own insecurities to make conversation based on superficial (often physical) attraction. Like, no. You’re of some kind of psychological anxiety and yet you can immediately strike up a conversation (with banter—might I add) on a whim in the middle of a grocery aisle with some random person? I can understand you changing for the better over time but immediately? Love ain’t that powerful, man.
- Dearinstalove, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” is not an anthem to live by.
- When the story is broken up into: plot, plot, plot, plot, sex, plo-end. At least do something with this sex scene as opposed to writing it off after all the pent-up lust and ravenous hormones or whatever. I’m fine with sexual context in fiction in YA+ age groups as long as it holds some sort of meaning that links to character development. Otherwise, what’s the point–does the story change at all if it wasn’t included at all? Derp derp derp.
- Radical change for the chance at love especially during the beginnings of the story. (Spoiler alert: drama ensues at the 80% mark to question this change but since love conquers all it’s unquestionable. LOLOKAYBUDDY.)
- The need to perpetuate a happily-ever-after.
- This might not be specific to Mary Sue’s and Marty Stu’s but when characters make no effort to achieve a relationship and want everything handed to them or done in their favour. And then when they do have something that feels real, they don’t really appreciate it to the point where the other half does (or feels the need to do) everything for said protagonist. Heh.
- When coincidence magically brings individuals of disparity together and then it’s all like Romeo and Juliet all day every day. Drama llama’s approve this message, obviously.
- When two “best friends” finally realize they’re fated for each other after x years of being friends because reasons ABCXYZ (i.e. too scared might lose friendship initially?). I’m all for friendship being the starting point (as it should be) but the timing is SO COINCIDENTAL that the narrative happens to take place when they realize these feelings “THEY NEVER KNEW THEY HAD FOR EACH OTHER” after several years of friendship. Whyyyyyy.
- Witty banter might keep you on your toes for shipping people but there’s a line drawn in conversations that differ from feeling real rather than borderline forced and pretentious.
- The oversaturation of couple combinations (including but not limited to): “unpretty”-but-pretty-girls, body-building-men, good-girls, bad-boys, illness-or-quirky defining individuals, etc. to overly misrepresent a large portion of individuals in this world. I am not dismissing that there aren’t people like this but it almost feels like a requirement to fit in these character archetypes? It’s a colourful world…so let’s make the most of it.
- This could have been part of the above but nah: those creepy stalkers who become the main love interest. What is this circa 2008 nonsense when Twilight was popularized. Please tell me you feel delighted to know someone is watching you. Don’t know if someone is watching you? Fake a yawn. Genius.
- Or how about using diversity as a means of character-and-relationship conflict without making any commentary to regard social change? Like…you just implicated it and its there for you to talk about but no efforts are made after they become a couple.
- Miscommunication leading to another fifty pages of agonizing pain because transparency is too cool to live by.
- Protagonists who downplay their own value and importance and thereby guilt tripping the reader (or perhaps other individuals in the novel) into sympathizing for them. (I will call them out on their shit every day.) Which sometimes ties into:
- Hypocritical protagonists are silly. Readers only live by the protagonist’s side of the story. That’s generally fine. We dismiss the value of why the other individual (or characters in general) do what they do and automatically throw them into the shitty pile for behaving a certain way (i.e. “cheating” when the lead protagonist is in their own love triangle, slut-shaming the actions of others when their only goal is a significant other who may or may not know them, etc.) and yet they basically act on the same thing even if its slightly different. (If any of that makes sense?)
- Hero/heroines who risk life and limb to protect their other half to achieve that happily-ever-after. Would I take a bullet for you even though I met you three pages ago? Probably not. Sorry to shatter your world but do you not have other family and friends to factor in as well? There are protagonists who are so me-involved to not be okay with the knight not saving them. Or maybe readers expect these characters to do it–and so they must oblige.
- Contraceptives must be some ancient form of voodoo magic—no, really, is it?
- How about them romance-y book covers? There’s surely a formula to those with couples on them. How about the added bonus of LENS FLARE EVERYTHING? Side profiles? Can’t-see-face-but-lovey-dovey? Just limbs? Muscle bods? “Controlling” embraces? AND SO MANY MORE?!
- As a reader, the holy grail-ish question of all is to ask “what is the purpose of this romance?” If this can be successfully answered then awesome—the romance sounds pretty solid to me. If not, what is the point? No, really?
TL;DR – I am full of nonsense and can find fault everywhere and will question everything. You’re welcome. Some of these may be repeated so I do apologize for that, and so I must also applaud you for reading all of this.
Am I missing anything? Which element of romance do you like/dislike the most? Feel free to hit me up in the comments below!
(Also thanks to Savindi @ Streetlight Reader for beta reading this lot of nonsense and approving my sanity.)