It’s official: I must be the WORST Romance reader EVER!!!
I love Romance. I even welcome some of the nitty-gritty TMI stuff. So why is it that the last e-book sample I read, written by a respected Romance author, prompted me to make gagging noises and chuck my Nook across the room?
In the writing community, everybody is always talking about HEAs (Happily Ever Afters). And when I come across samples like I just read, it all sounds so suave—even when it’s the detached prodigal son watching a prostitute leave his bed. Bad Boy, okay yeah, I can dig that. But don’t romanticize him. Give me all his rough edges. Let his roughness come across in the writing. Let me feel him. Not feel what “good girls” want him to be underneath from the get-go. I want him to be raw. I want him to be work to get through to.
The last thing I want to do is bash on fellow writers. Indeed, these people have massive followings, so they must be doing something right.
Or everybody is just used to their favorites.
I, for one, have been spoiled off the cultured, individualized character perspectives of Fantasy novels (Teen/YA and otherwise) and manga, down to the things certain characters notice and the language they use—language which often grows and changes through the course of the book, as the character himself grows and changes. So when I start in on a stereotypical Romance novel, and everything reads across in the same smooth monotone, I start to skim. And skim. Until I realize: I’m going to be skimming through this whole book. And then I grunt and groan and flail and flop, because I thought I finally had that book that I was going to read all the way through, and enjoy—that one I’d stay up all night to finish. And instead, I got one I would have set back on the bookstore shelf.
Somehow, I’ve gone from my childhood habit of reading every book that I can get my hands on in my subject of interest, to garage-selling books I don’t like and rarely finishing any books at all.
They say that writers should read widely in their genre of choice. And that’s a nice idea. BUT what happens when you throw those “wide reads” across the room—repeatedly? What happens when that becomes the reason why you keep writing the unpublished manuscript you cart around from coffee shop to coffee shop?
At this point, I just want a good read. A good Romance read, with Fantasy elements, if at all possible. Something I wouldn’t push “snooze” through. It doesn’t have to be spectacular…just, not uniform. Not post-apocalyptic. Not exclusively sci-fi. With realistic, non-sappy, non-bratty, non-stereotypical fictional characters. I mean, come on, this is the Romance section, people! It shouldn’t be this hard to sell me on the male character. He doesn’t have to be a werewolf or a vampire. In fact, I’d prefer if he’s not. He just has to be special.
If you’ve read an adult Romance-Fantasy story that you absolutely fell in love with, feel free to leave a comment below and give it a shout-out! I don’t care if it has mature content, but I DO care if the sex is pointless; character development through sex is an art form. The story doesn’t have to have sex though, just decent Romance with Fantasy. So GO! List away! PLEASE! I’m dying of suaveness overdose and bad storytelling styles.