Since I've already blogged about my new release, La Mirage, which happens to be this week's Book of the Week, I thought I'd talk about something else today. I don't mind if you just want to scroll down and gaze at the cover art for Hunter's Mate in my previous entry, though. Whatever entertains you. ;)
Over at Romancing the Blog the other day, Lori Devoti was talking about romance clichés. She listed some of the major players and asked for others in comments.
Here are a few of the things that were mentioned and my take on it:
Happy Endings – yes, perhaps these are cliché. The HEA defines a romance novel even when we strive so hard not to have romance novels easily pigeonholed. But in defense of the HEA, I have to say this is the reason I read romance and the reason I write it. Books I’ve read that have ended badly, with notably few exceptions, have left me cold and not much inclined to seek out more of the author’s work. I read for enjoyment, and there’s nothing more enjoyable than a happy ending. Sorry if it’s been done to death. I need it, I want it, I demand it.
The Wasp-Waisted Heroine – Oh yes! Here’s one I heartily agree with. Skinny Minnie’s need not apply in my novels. Granted, I’ve written a few heroines who are slender and toned [because in my mind, so am I], but to me the term wasp-waisted brings to mind the picture of a bug wearing earrings and lipstick. Sadly, I was reading a reprint of an older novel from a well known and much loved romance author the other day and lo and behold, she got away with describing her heroine EXACTLY this way. For the rest of the book all I saw was a big bee buzzing around with the hero. It was awful.
The Surprise Orgasm – the inexperienced heroine gets old fast. Now of course in the average historical romance, you’d expect a respectable lady to not have any prior experience bumping nasties, but her utter and complete shock at discovering it’s actually a lot of fun with the right guy wears a little thin. We were all virgins once, but I doubt we were all shocked speechless or given to fits of the vapors at our first sight of a fully aroused male.
Soul Mates – Soul mates are cool, but in romance I tend to agree it can make for lazy writing. I’ve read too many stories where the readers are told, “these two characters were made for each other, they’re bonded by some mystical force” and that becomes the some total of the sexual tension. They’re hot for each other because they were born to be hot for each other, the fact that they have nothing in common and don’t get along even for a moment unless they’re in the sack and then suddenly they luurve each other just doesn’t cut it. I can’t root for a couple like this. Sorry.
Rich heroes – we’ve all done this one. Part of the fantasy of romance is to meet a prince, a dashing CEO, a closet billionaire, come on ladies, haven't we all wished that hubby would wake up one morning, roll over towards our side of the bed and say, "Oh, by the way, I never mentioned this before, but I have a warehouse full of money, let's go spend it." Fantasy aside, there seems to be a stigma against the working class hero unless he has a dangerous job, like cop, fireman, etc. How about a guy who’s just a guy? He has a job, he’ll make a good dad and he’s kind to small animals, but he doesn’t own a private jet or a storehouse of jewels and isn’t likely to inherit a castle from his rich Uncle Vampire? Regular guys need love too sometimes.
And best of all: The Amazing Schlong – okay, as a writer of erotic romance, I don’t think an eenie-weenie is going to cut it, but men who need a sling to carry their equipment need not apply as far as I’m concerned. If the author spends a whole page just describing the landscape of the hero’s...package, I’m taking aim at the wall. I’ve read too many books where the heroine basically falls in love with the guy’s pocket monster. She dreams about it, drools over it and works to impress it...and he’s just there because IT can’t walk on its own.
What about you? Any romance cliché’s that burn your toast?