08 September, 2015

10 Things That Defy Logic in Romance Novels

It probably defies logic for a romance writer such as myself to compile such a list, but I'm going to do it anyway because I read more than I write and can't help but notice a few of the less than logical aspects of our genre that tend to show up regardless of the sub-genre in this particular category.

I even do a few of them in my own work, so this is just for fun, okay?

From least to most illogical, they are:

10. No one (not even grandma) Watches TV, Listens to Music, or Remains Glued to their IPhone/Laptop.

Not to say I want it to read out for as long and as irritatingly obnoxious as it occurs in real life, but it does occur far more frequently in real life and hardly at all in a romance novel.

In every house a character enters and whomever they meet inside, the woman is either asleep or cooking - never lounging on a sofa with a bag of Lays and the television tuned in to her favorite reality series or soap opera or even the news.

Music is played in a nightclub, a bar, or inside ones vehicle but never at home.

Is love the key to getting people off the couch or away from their phones long enough to see what real life is like?

9. Carrot Tops and/or Freckles are Considered Sexy.


8. Tattoos/Motorcycles are Not Considered Stereotype when They are Used to Stereotype Both Male/Female Leads.

This is just frustrating.

I know both sexes who belong to gangs or simply prefer a bike to a car, and others who have tattoos for any reason other than I'm so F*cking Cool status.

So, it isn't that the mode of transport or wearable art can be strictly classified, and yet any romance novel that involves either aspect is written in a very stereotypical fashion. Tattoos mean bad-ass and motorcycles mean danger.

And, if the lead(s) ride a bike, they'll definitely be sporting at least one tattoo.

7. Space/Time Travel that Conveniently Disregards the Obvious.

It is as if we earthlings are so above all else that we can accomplish anything with the flick of a finger or press of a button with zero residual health, mind, or spirit effects.

Which translates to super-human and not at all realistic in the time/space continuum of things (which, I know, is an oxymoron statement, but).

If one is transported back to the past -- especially prior to the Industrial Revolution -- you better believe things are going to be astoundingly different.

Air quality for one - so pure as to be unimaginable. Sound quality for another - which translates to no sounds at all aside from the occasional bird on a limb, bugs in summer, and maybe a boisterous tavern brawl if it is late or in a small town.

It is even more ridiculous to transport an alien down to earth and have him/her start wandering with zero adverse affect on their health when it isn't likely they had left a planet as polluted as ours. Unless you want it that way and then we can just flip the scenario to the one I mentioned above.

But, in novels, the transported just go about their business as if they had always been there and needed zero amount of time to adjust their body and mind to such overwhelming circumstances.

MAC campaign

6. Being Told as a Writer to Give your Protagonist Flaws and then Never Really Finding Any in the Leads.

It isn't just the antagonist's job to be rotten.

We all have good and bad habits, but they are not character-based.

Character equates to how you behave when you think no one is looking. In other words, your true self and not a fake persona played out in public.

Bad character means hatred, loathing, spite, envy, ... think of the 7 deadly sins. Also, the 7 virtues: Temperance, Charity, Prudence, Fortitude, etc.

Not this: He smokes (gasp), he drops F-bombs every other word (cussing not in anger but because it supposedly sounds cool), the mixed signal lead who is a tad muddleheaded but knows damn well what she wants in a man, or she's calm under pressure yet freaks out over every, little, blessed thing.

Worse still, the protagonists are too perfect while everyone around them consist of a few flaws.

These are annoying instances in most any romance novel in most all sub-genres, but they aren't actual character flaws so much as they are quirks or habit - which implies that the protagonists don't possess any real character at all - which is really strange.

5. Morning Breath

I know it isn't sexy to be so realistic in a romance novel! I get it. But . . . who DOESN'T brush their teeth first thing in the morning in order to get rid of it? And, who likes to have it blown in their face upon waking?

ESPECIALLY after a night of drinking. Go and open a jar of minced garlic right now and take a deep whiff -- I'll wait. (shudder)

4. Oral Sex Prior to Tongue Swabbing.


Finger sex and then smoothing that hand along her quivering skin. Eew! Or worse! Running said fingers through her hair that he so admired in the previous chapter.

Watch it, boy.

3. Modern Mindset and Attitude in Historical Settings.

The PC patrol will get me for this one, no doubt about it.

I do believe that for as long as there have been women in the world who are subjected to the wiles of man, that women have felt a sense of inferiority, outrage, and frustration. Not a single doubt in my mind. However, when I read about a female lead in Victorian England or as far back as Medieval times who is belligerent, tough as nails, or entirely too independent, I start to wonder about the author's sense of duty to the reader and their basic lack of historical knowledge.

2. The British Isles are Where All of the Hot, Titled Eligible Bachelors Reside.

With the exception of their being HOT, this is probably true.

As I read yet another historical recently, I began to wonder if there were ever any historical romance novels set in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, or even Sweden or Norway.

Oscar II of Sweden, 1905
No? I guess not.

1. Guy is Built Like a Brick House in Historicals but is also Gentry.

Do gentry get their hands dirty by chopping wood, plowing fields, running marathons, and hoisting heavy cargo onto ships?

(Poldark aside, ladies).

So, where does all of the muscle, sinew, and body-building male goodness come from, I wonder?

From start to finish, the male leads in Historicals do pretty much nothing for a living aside from the occasional hunt or trip via carriage to the theater, White's, or the home of a mistress.

I suppose it is possible to gain body contour in all the right places from the tons of sex they have (before and after falling in love with the leading lady).

Most of them are in the habit of drinking themselves silly as well, which can't help in the maintaining of such an impressive figure, I don't think, but the male protagonist never possesses a beer gut, either, so . . .

I certainly hope you enjoyed this bit of musing on my part and take it for what it is worth -- lighthearted humor and not college-level critique.

Your comments, thoughts, suggestions, issues, and insight are always welcome. Please feel free to reply to any of my posts.

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