Taking a break for a moment to post something other than a review. Lately I’m highly disappointed with the books that have past my way and honestly, I’m tired of writing the negative reviews. Bad writing, cliché plot, author should have known better. Hell, someone with eyes should have known better. I don’t want to dislike books :/. It’s no wonder some people simply refuse to write bad reviews. So in addition to this post which are just a few random thoughts of mine, if anyone has some suggestions for good books new or old I’d love to hear it.
Hated Elements in Romance Books
This is a topic I rather enjoy as it is so reader specific. There are long, long, long, long lists (longer than most porn scenes) about the dos and don’ts while writing sex scene in romance books. Now, if anyone actually goes by these lists you’d never actually have anything IN your book because absolutely everything is a don’t from blue eyed men to blowjobs and wouldn’t the world be a worse place without blue eyed twinks giving blowjobs in our romance books?
Anyway, there are a lot of controversial elements within romance books but I wanted to talk about the one particular rule I personally feel is hard and fast for romance books. Everything else is debatable and can be chalked up to personal preference and good writing (HINT: good writing means there are NO don’ts because it’s good writing). But I do believe that there is one rule that no one, not even Oprah and her vaulted list can cross in the romance genre.
The happy ending.
Yes, yes I hear the groans already! But it’s true. You must have a happy ending to your romance and if you don’t want to include one—simple, don’t call it a romance. Shockingly simple I know but follow me here. From traditional romance to any subgenre that exists, the reader wants a happy ending. We’re ok with happy for now endings as that is still, a happy ending. And authors should frankly LOVE this rule as it’s a total get out of jail free card for almost anything*.
*Granted, here again this really only applies carte blanche to well written authors, but you know what I’m saying I hope.
If a story is going to include elements such as cheating, beatings, rape, angst, ménage (dirty word there), and a whole slew of drama ridden content, the average reader will go along for one reason—there is a happy ending. You can torture your protags all you want. You can let them have sex with man, woman, child, even sheep if you so desire and for the most part readers will go with you. But if you don’t offer a happy ending for all that drama and angst, oh… well you’re totally screwed then.
The happy ending is the payoff for going along with you with elements that romance readers may not particularly care for. Authors everywhere like to comment about how their stories are “fantasy” and “escapism material” which is absolutely true. Romance as a genre is meant to entertain and likely offer an outlet not available to the majority of readers. Even if the reader is 100% happy and in love with the pirate stud/dette of their dreams, the entertainment portion still applies. They want to step outside of the world of cruelty, angst, and drama and read about people falling in love. To keep that interesting, authors have to get creative of course and the flip side for readers to stay tuned, they have to have a payoff.
The happy ending. It’s not a bad thing.