Let me begin by saying this post is in no way meant to bash romance writers, readers or books. Till date, it remains one of my most read genres. However in the last few years, I’ve closed book after book, after reading only a few pages. There were a few of them that stuck, and were enjoyable to me personally. And I say personally because we all perceive stories in our own way.
I think what I’ve been coming across lately has also impacted my contemporary romance stories as well. In a more negative aspect.
I’m a different kind of reader, as we all are. I particularly enjoy romances like the ones Nora Roberts writes. Why, you may ask? Aren’t they all the same? Boy meets girl, sparks fly, happily ever after. While I agree on the formulaic expression of a romance book, I like the deep plots, and also sub plots. I enjoy the characters, flawed or searching. Good overcoming evil. It sounds cheesy but most books have this concept. Let’s not stray. Coming back to why I’ve been having a hard time finishing romance books for the longest time. I think it’s in the writing, more than anything else. I appreciate flawed characters, damaged ones. So it isn’t the art of storytelling that’s putting me off. It’s the way the story is being executed.
One of the reasons why I feel it difficult to just publish my stories out into the world, is because I feel like they are not ready. As a reader, I want to aspire to be a writer like the ones I admire. And my work is not up to par. I believe most content in a book should be meaningful, every dialogue should be progressing the story. I have no problems with mundane dialogue here or there. Don’t get me wrong. I love descriptions and visualizing how an author builds their world, be it realistic or fantasy or dystopian etc.
The core problem I face with reading some of these books are the meaningless filler content. Over descriptions of one character’s actions. Over description of one’s thoughts and feelings. After a few chapters, it get’s redundant. I get that it’s easier for some to write in first person, and while it’s amazing to get inside of a character’s head. The entire book can’t be a monologue where only one character thinks or feels. There’s too much repetition using beautiful words and phrases to convey the same feeling or thought–the same personality–all throughout the book.
Every line of dialogue is followed by a physical reaction one character makes. While that’s not incorrect, it shouldn’t be overdone. A line of dialogue can tell the reader exactly what mood or kind of person the character is.
Have you ever heard the main character’s voice in a whiny tone in your head? It happens to me more often than not.
Recently I read Garden of Shadows by V.C. Andrews, and I thought it executed an entire story in first person POV very well. The story was able to progress, and relate events without being repetitive. In fact, there wasn’t an instance where a feeling or thought conveyed was mentioned twice. The main character was able to describe the reactions/expressions of the other characters in such a way that the reader knew them as well. I honestly think it’s a book we can all learn from in terms of pushing a story forward without stopping in every chapter to repeat things using beautiful words.
What do you think about romance nowadays? Do you read it? I’d like to find more that I can love, so if you have any suggestions, please drop them down below. My next post will discuss erotica in romance books, so stay tuned for that.
Happy Reading Bookish Folk!