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In your opinion, are there any tropes or common plot maneuvers that romance writers use that you wish they wouldn't?

Can fantasy contradict reality too much?

Should fictional romantic relationships be grounded in realistic interpersonal connections, or does anything go because it's all imaginary?
 

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Instalove.

I wish the books would address even briefly the fact that when you fall for someone that quick, 99.999999999999999999999% of the time you're in love with the idea of who you wish the other person were, because how could you possibly know who they actually are? I've read books where people fall in love over a weekend and it's not so bad if there's chemistry on the page, but some instalove books are like erotic Hallmark Movies and I'm out.

I imagine the readers that do like this trope must not feel seen, and the fantasy of someone seeing you and knowing you and wanting you desperately in an instant is a meaningful fantasy. That, or I'm thinking too deeply and some readers just have limited time to read and want to skip to the good stuff? I don't know.
 

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Bite the Dusty said:
Instalove.

I wish the books would address even briefly the fact that when you fall for someone that quick, 99.999999999999999999999% of the time you're in love with the idea of who you wish the other person were, because how could you possibly know who they actually are? I've read books where people fall in love over a weekend and it's not so bad if there's chemistry on the page, but some instalove books are like erotic Hallmark Movies and I'm out.

I imagine the readers that do like this trope must not feel seen, and the fantasy of someone seeing you and knowing you and wanting you desperately in an instant is a meaningful fantasy. That, or I'm thinking too deeply and some readers just have limited time to read and want to skip to the good stuff? I don't know.
That's a good one, and I agree. It could also have to do with the pervasive myth of "love at first sight", which in my experience is as silly as "opposites attract".
 

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I've only ever read a few romance books, so take it with a pinch of salt.

My dislikes:

- Mr Bad Boy acting like a sulky teenager/rebel for whatever reason. No, he isn't waiting for the perfect woman to come along and understand him. He's like that because he's a selfish, moody git. Best steer clear of him.

- The academically brilliant male/female. You can still be smart (self-study/life experience) and happy even if you work in a shop/factory or wherever.

- Too many middle class/suburban characters.

- Too many characters of the same race/religion/ colour and not enough mix.

- Don't even get me started on billionaire romances...grrrrr!
 

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When my wife first saw me it was love at first sight. I was wearing a 'I love Scotland' t-shirt.

That's another thing. How come you don't hear jokes like that in romance?
 

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I don't know the romance genre, or its tropes very well, but I know that in other genres dealing with human behavior, fantasy is preferable in many cases to reality. Because fiction is an escape. That's why the majority of readers of 50 Shades probably will never meet a billionaire, and they wouldn't do some of the things in that book, but it was a big seller. Because the author was selling a fantasy. And fantasy sells.
 

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Rychard said:
That's a good one, and I agree. It could also have to do with the pervasive myth of "love at first sight", which in my experience is as silly as "opposites attract".
People like what they like, and I'm not saying it's impossible, I just feel like the instalove books I've read were missing the close friend or family member who says, "Hey, it's great you're excited, but pump those breaks and be smart about it. You've just met."

Opposites attract makes sense. I think they oftentimes do. Would that work out in a marriage like my grandparents had? I'm not sure, but that's a fantasy I'm there for. Enemies to lovers books can be a good time when the characters aren't toxic.
 

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wearywanderer64 said:
When my wife first saw me it was love at first sight. I was wearing a 'I love Scotland' t-shirt.

That's another thing. How come you don't hear jokes like that in romance?
I really like the idea of funny romance. It's always a little irking when the characters in a romance are too cool for school all the time. Maybe it's just me, but I don't really equate witty banter to actual affection for each other. Like, I was watching Casino Royale a little while back and was like, you know, I'm not sure if James Bond and Vesper can actually stand each other or if they both just really want to win this verbal back and forth. It could be that a quirky, funny, sweet romance would make your characters less cool, but it would sure be more realistic. If you were dating someone and they were "shaken not stirred" all the time, after a while you might just think that they are a psycho. A cool psycho maybe, but still.

And, I totally agree on insta-love. It's just played out for sure.
 

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wearywanderer64 said:
When my wife first saw me it was love at first sight. I was wearing a 'I love Scotland' t-shirt.

That's another thing. How come you don't hear jokes like that in romance?
You do though.

There's lots of funny romance. There's lots of grounded romance. There's lots of romance that is basically real life but more entertaining (and everyone is more attractive).

Romance is a big genre with a lot of range, from the naturalistic to the extremely over the top.

And it's got a range of messages, from the wholesome to the incredibly toxic.

I won't fault anyone for not seeing the naturalistic books with wholesome messages, because it's hard to tell what you get from packaging. But those books exist. They're not even rare.

And there are plenty of books where the characters are richer or more attractive than is realistic, but their relationship is still relatively grounded and realistic.

NikOK said:
I really like the idea of funny romance. It's always a little irking when the characters in a romance are too cool for school all the time. Maybe it's just me, but I don't really equate witty banter to actual affection for each other. Like, I was watching Casino Royale a little while back and was like, you know, I'm not sure if James Bond and Vesper can actually stand each other or if they both just really want to win this verbal back and forth. It could be that a quirky, funny, sweet romance would make your characters less cool, but it would sure be more realistic. If you were dating someone and they were "shaken not stirred" all the time, after a while you might just think that they are a psycho. A cool psycho maybe, but still.
Have you seen Killing Eve? It's great on a lot of levels, but certainly on the level of what if Bond was actually a psycho as well.
 

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Crystal_ said:
realistic.

Have you seen Killing Eve? It's great on a lot of levels, but certainly on the level of what if Bond was actually a psycho as well.
I might just have to check that out. Thanks for the recommendation :D
 

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What Crystal said. Lots of authors write realistic and funny romance--some with explicit sex, some without it. I do, for one, but there are lots of us. Big audience. Big tent. What somebody hates, somebody else loves. That's OK. if you are a romance author or want to be one, for heaven's sake, write the kind of romance YOU enjoy. It is a lot easier and a lot more fun.

ETA: For ex, if my characters in a book fall for each other fast, not only will a friend or parent (or child) suggest pumping the brakes, the characters themselves will pump the brakes. Because I write realistic romance. But there is a huge audience, for example, for so-called dark romance, which features abuse, angst, and coercion. Absolutely not my audience, but it is out there.

As I have said before: maybe y'all need a thread about trends you hate in sci fi, in fantasy, in thriller. Why does poor romance always get the abuse?
 

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Usedtoposthere said:
What Crystal said. Lots of authors write realistic and funny romance. I do, for one, but there are lots of us. Big audience. Big tent. What somebody hates, somebody else loves. That's OK. if you are a romance author or want to be one, for heaven's sake, write the kind of romance YOU enjoy. It is a lot easier and a lot more fun. (And note that you can absolutely write communication-positive, sex-positive stories with absolutely full consent in the context of a funny, realistic story, and it can be REALLY hot. You can write romance any old way you please. Romance readers are not a monolith, and they do not only read romance.)

As I have said before: maybe y'all need a thread about trends you hate in sci fi, in fantasy, in thriller. Why does poor romance always get the abuse?
Ha, I sincerely apologize to romance :D To be fair, you could have similar nit-picks about any genre. I've read more than a few fantasy books that were Die Hard with elves. And...maybe written one too, but I was young and dopey at the time. You make a really good point about writing the romance you enjoy. Maybe, just like real romance, there are a million different romance novels, and it all works for somebody. Really great food for thought! Thanks Use!
 

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Usedtoposthere said:
As I have said before: maybe y'all need a thread about trends you hate in sci fi, in fantasy, in thriller. Why does poor romance always get the abuse?
It's true that content that's widely popular with a female audience gets an inequitable amount of criticism. I think that's because society is still quite sexist. But romance is also the largest and bestselling genre, no? That alone is bound to draw critical eyes.

I read romance, but I also read mysteries, thrillers, and urban fantasy. I'd happily abuse them if someone wants to make a thread.
 

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Romance makes the most money, but crime fiction (which apparently does not include cozy mystery, historical mystery, thrillers, psychological thrillers, etc.) is priced the highest on BookBub, because it gets the most downloads/sales on a featured deal. So I'm not sure which genre is the "most popular." I suspect romance makes the most money because it's top-heavy with the most popular writers, period. (So a large amount of that money is going to a handful of authors. Nora Roberts as the prime example. Romance readers buy a lot of books, but a huge number of them are by a few authors.) In print, crime fiction outsells romance by far. So it depends how you define popularity, I guess. Personally, I read lots of things. I write romance because I enjoy it, and those are the stories (even if they include suspense, mystery, women's fiction elements, etc.) that come to me.

I think it's just plain ol' misogyny, personally. :)
 

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How are cozies not crime fiction? Whoever decided that is on one.

ETA: Apparently I was on one, having missed "Bookbub" somehow in the above post. It was a misunderstanding. I was baffled people (not businesses) wouldn't consider cozies a sub-genre of crime fiction.
 

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I think there's a lot to say about romance creating unrealistic ideas of relationships and about romance romanticizing abuse, but I think that needs to come from within the community, not from outside it.

As a community of women, we're participating in our own subjugation. But that's not what this thread is about.

So let's throw some hate on other genres for once. How about legal thrillers romanticizing the wrongly accused white dude? Let's start there.
 

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Crystal_ said:
So let's throw some hate on other genres for once. How about legal thrillers romanticizing the wrongly accused white dude? Let's start there.
Bwhahaha, oh that's a pretty good one. How about the action thriller with the clinically depressed man who is "doing the right thing"? Bonus cliché points if they are a tough guy living a tough life 24/7. Literally nobody is tough all the time, realistically. But in Tom Clancy's worlds, you can make a good life for yourself with exercise, misplaced rage, and lots of candy bars.
 
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NikOK said:
Bwhahaha, oh that's a pretty good one. How about the action thriller with the clinically depressed man who is "doing the right thing"? Bonus cliché points if they are a tough guy living a tough life 24/7. Literally nobody is tough all the time, realistically. But in Tom Clancy's worlds, you can make a good life for yourself with exercise, misplaced rage, and lots of candy bars.
You had to mention candy bars.... 8)
 
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