For someone who rarely reads romance books, imagine my surprise when I started writing them!
If you’ve heard me speak while I’m promoting Phi Alpha Pi, then you’ve heard me talk about my struggle with accepting that I’m a romance author. As someone who enjoys romantic plots, I’ve struggled with the romance book genre for the vast majority of my life. I’ve been talking about the three sins of romance books: obsession with weight, obsession with marriage, and obsession with babies. The number one way for a book to turn me off is for at least one of these three to become the center of the narrator’s POV. I have given up on books because I can’t move past these issues. The worst offenders are the trifectas, the ones that obsess about all three. The reality is that they’re all related: she’s obsessed with her weight so she can attract the right man to marry her and give her babies.
A friend, who writes as Rachel Kenley, has taken me to task about this many times. She reminds me that a lot of my experience has been reading Chick-Lit, which isn’t considered a romance sub-genre. I don’t think it matters if it’s a sub-genre. Chick-Lit is often the gateway to romance books for readers. How many are shut down from romance because this is where they start? Chick-Lit has more visibility on the bestseller lists, read in book clubs, and made into movies. It might as well be the same for many readers.
I’ve decided to spend the next year reading more romance books. Not just traditional romance, but any subgenera and related genres. I realized this means I’m going to give up on a ton of books. I’m going to get irritated with some books and their authors. You are going to get the chance to enjoy my irritation and venting. On the first Tuesday of the month, until I have nothing left to say, I’m going to write a series of posts about these annoying tropes and sins, my efforts to avoid them as a writer, and some books I think that did a great job avoiding them too.
In the comments, tell me one trope you love in romance novels! Let’s start with good thoughts…