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February 10: Top Ten Things I Like/Dislike When It Comes To Romances In Books

I’m going to split this list, for a little variety.

Likes:

1. Conflict. I prefer a story where there’s conflict outside of the relationship. If it’s all ‘will they or won’t they,’ it doesn’t always hold my interest.

2. Humor. Hero or heroine, someone needs to have a sense of humor, or the romance falls flat.

3. Imperfections. It’s a pretty accepted thing that characters can’t be without flaws, but some of them are ridiculous. Being a little clumsy, or thinking they’re plain when they’re not, or being shy are not really flaws. Give me something real!

4. Responsibility. Sometimes good characters do bad things, and then it’s excused by claiming they had no choice. Romances where characters accept their mistakes and try to fix them instead of hiding from them make so much more sense.

5. Slow building relationships. There’s only so much space in one book, but I prefer to avoid insta-love. And if you have multiple books, even better.

Dislikes:

6. Kidnapping. It’s a popular event in certain romances, but any relationship that starts with this or some other terribly unequal power dynamic is problematic.

7. Love/hate. A little squabbling is fine, but if two characters really hate each other, and then fall into each other’s arms, I’m not buying it.

8. Naivete. A sheltered heroine is one thing, but one that’s so innocent and unaware of the world it doesn’t seem like she could ever catch up–and to have that quality celebrated, is just odd.

9. Uniqueness. Everyone is unique, that’s the way it works. But let’s be honest, people can be fairly similar in many ways. Why do so many people have to say “I’ve never met anyone like you?”

10. Unnecessary love triangles. Sometimes it’s a good source of conflict, but if one point of the triangle is clearly tacked on or a poor choice, I have to wonder why it’s there.

 

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About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

11 responses »

  1. Marcia says:

    Very good points here, Caitlin. And I find I agree with you pretty much. I’m going to print out this list to remind me of things I should try to avoid, or handle a bit more deftly, so I don’t end up in one of these pitfalls.

  2. The “will they/won’t they” is super annoying. I completely agree there. I’ve got humor (witty banter) and imperfect love interests on my list too! Number 8 is SO weird. I’m glad you put it on your list.
    My TTT!

  3. moosha23 says:

    Humour is a must! We need banter! And yes, hate how naive timid young girls are celebrated as “romantic” or “cute”. Like, please.

    • caitlinstern says:

      If your favorite quality is someone’s inexperience, what happens when they mature? I picture these people being in serial relationships, constantly dating new, young people. Ugh.

  4. rita says:

    I completely agree with your points, especially the Responsibility and Imperfections part. The descriptions of the male characters seem to be comparable to Calvin Klein underwear models. This is just not realistic. It just can’t be that this character looks perfectly hot, no, he’s also intelligent and broody, etc., etc. I think imperfections as well as taking responsibility for previous mistakes is more relatable to the reader and that may be why I like it that way 😀

  5. I really liked your list, you made very good points!

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