The Writer’s Wheel…7/23/19: Five Things to Avoid in Romance Novels
Yes, it’s a well-known fact that romance readers prefer their characters with a little life versus the resident, stumbling dead since last week hobo. They want characters they can connect with not shudder in revulsion from the creature’s obsession with killing them. Then again, Jane Austen’s recent remake featured these so who knows?
- Everyone Dies in the End.
Closely related to the one above. Most readers do not want to read about how everyone perishes because, honestly, what would be the point? Those kinds of tales are better left to the horror writers.
- It was all a Dream.
Dallas ruined it for everyone. Or, maybe the whole idea of this has ruined it for everyone. Again, what would be the point if it turned out to be that everything was a dream? Unless you want to leave your reader angry enough that they don’t want to pick up another of your books, don’t do this.
- Everything was for Nothing.
This is where you’ve spent time hinting at a strong payoff for a storyline and then nothing happens. It’s done with a poof. GOT, looking at you! Winter was coming, came, ended in a whisper not a bang. Anyone who spends time out there on the roads that time of year can tell you that it’s not a quiet glide into the car in front of you but a strong, gale wind shove. I hope G.R.R. Martin does more with all this in the books.
- Don’t Kill Pets or Babies.
Unless, you’re doing a realistic history of some time period, this shouldn’t need much explanation. Readers hate and are disgusted by the killing of pets and babies in stories. Yes, it happens in life and as stated above, if you’re going for a realistic history, that’s different but if you’re trying to shock your readers, YOU’RE the one in for a shock at how fast they’ll not buy your books or throw the one they do have of yours.