16 December 2011

My Top 10 Pet Peeves of the Romance Novel


I am not picking on romance writers. I’m picking out some elements of romance novels that bother me, especially when they are over done or poorly written. So, here are my top 10 pet peeves on the romance novels that I’ve read throughout the years. Don’t worry, mystery/suspense novels, you’re next!

1. His eyes danced across her bosom

Really? Aside from the fact that eyeballs do not have arms and legs and therefore cannot possibly dance anywhere, let alone atop her voluminous breasts, this just grates on my nerves. I want to pluck those pesky eyeballs from her chest and hoist them back into their sockets.

2. Kissing and flirting for increased sexual tension

When a story is already classified as a romance, there’s no question that there will exist a sexual tension of sorts between the hero and heroine. But don’t ruin it with the occasional stolen kiss or less than climactic romp in the hay throughout the storyline. It’s not necessary and it makes the consummation less meaningful and intense. When he finally “takes her” it should be all the way or nothing. Wait, that’s too much like real life chemistry.

3. The sardonic smile

Seriously, what does this look like? Does one side of his lip go up in a quirk and the other in a half-ass smile? Awkward, isn't it? Why doesn't he just smile after making a satirical remark? Is that too difficult to put down on paper?

4. His smile reached his eyes.

Don't you picture a set of stretched lips popping out from behind the eyes, gasping for breath after having climbed some mysterious set of stairs in order to get there?

5. The seduction by the virginal heroine, while the hero watches with obvious amusement

This is painful to read. This doesn't happen in reality. No matter how clumsy a beautiful, young woman's attempt at seduction, no male object of her affection is going to be watching with amusement. He will be involved from the beginning when she asks, "Would you like to come in for a drink?" This is not amusing to any man; this is serious business. Anything a woman does from this point on deserves his full attention, seriously.

6. Aftermath of the lust-filled evening

Why does the guy always get up first, leaving the woman to awaken, alone, cheeks burning as she reflects upon her behavior from the previous evening? Instead, I want to see her walk in when he wakes up. I want her to be fully clothed and in control. She drops a few photos on the bed and says, "My real name is Isabelle Gonzales and I'm a spy. I've been following your involvement with Cicero, Inc. We'll need to clear a few things up before breakfast." Exit heroine, wearing 4 inch stilettos and an Armani suit. But hey, that's just me.

7. Enter femme fatale

Why are they always a mirror image of the bitchiest girl in high school? A woman doesn't have to be a complete bitch to make another woman feel insecure. I'd like to read some fresh material on this element of romance. The femme fatale is over played and certainly under appreciated by me.

8. Good looking millionaires thinking that a woman is after his money

Right, because he certainly doesn’t have anything else going for him. Perfect teeth, brilliant smile, confidence, strength and a great command over the people around him -- no, that's not attractive at all. It's definitely his money she's after. Nothing like ruining a perfectly wonderful hero by making him a dumbass on top of all his greatness.

9. The big misunderstanding

Every romance has one. The perceived socialite is discovered to be a virgin. The hermit lumber jack turns out to be the CEO of a multi-million dollar company. Ta da! Surprise! Really?

10. Wrapping it all up

The ending of a romance is always the boring part to me. All the mysterious things going on have to be wrapped up by the author in such a way that you will understand why something happened that probably shouldn't have happened without explanation. This is also the part where the man gets mushy and drops the facade of being the strong, wealthy, confident man with whom she fell in love. He's become a wallowing wimp and she cries tears of joy over his professed love for her.

The End

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