Sunday, April 5, 2009

You Tell Me...

By: Marie Force

Happy Sunday everyone! I'm dealing with an insane deadline this weekend, so I'll keep this one short and sweet. You tell me...

What are some of your biggest pet peeves in romance?

I'll give you a couple of mine, and then you can weigh in...

1. Modern women who come across as TSTL (too stupid to live).

2. An overabundance of "girlfriend" scenes... Page after page of the heroine bemoaning to another woman about her love life problems. I'd much rather see her fight it out with the guy.

3. Important scenes that occur "off camera." I want to see all the big moments, not hear about them later (especially if the heroine is telling her girlfriend—ACK! Double demerits!)

4. I hate misunderstandings. I don't want to see a hero and heroine break up, especially without a great big hairy fight, over a misunderstanding that everyone but them knows is a misunderstanding.

Okay, those are a few of mine. Tell me some of yours!


  1. Great post, Marie. One was a time travel fix-it. All the coping the heroine had done throughout the story was fixed with a time-travel jump. So no need to read about her angst for 400 pages before this.

  2. Ooooh! Good one Terry. I'm not a big fan of time travel, either... I don't like "devices" that make the fixes a little too convenient.

  3. I'm with you on the misunderstanding. When the problem is something that two adults could clear up in a five minute conversation, I have to wonder about their maturity or their social skills.

    But I'm going to take issue over the "conversations with the girl friends." I think that's more a matter of not being a fan of a subgenre.

    I'll admit my eyes glaze over when I encounter a plot device like a thousand-year-old-curse or characters with unpronounceable names who live on an unpronounceable planet. The story has got to be very, very good to overcome my bad impression. But obviously, other readers think these things are just fine.

  4. Marie, Great topic. Probably my biggest problem in historicals is when the author takes a detour into telling the history of the era, that can't be brought out through the story itself. In other words, paragraphs of skippable stuff written more like a history book.
    It is so tempting for a historical writer to get all your research out there, but if the information doesn't come out because of the story, it doesn't belong.
    Which is why I do my Regency Ramble blog. So the historian in me can have an outlet too.

  5. My pet peeve is when characters have personality changes throughout the book. That always makes me stop reading.

  6. That misunderstanding thing ranks pretty high with me, too, Marie, along with the TSTL heroines.
    Aside from that, you KNOW I can't stand an overly alpha male. I just don't see anything lovable about them. My other peeve, and you all will probably throw rocks at me for this one, is heroes who are rich, famous, doctors, lawyers, or cops. I mean, the guys who work at Subway need love too!

  7. Great peeves, ladies! I knew there would be plenty of them!

    MM, what I mean by girlfriend chats are long conversations that actually nothing more than bitch sessions that don't move the plot forward in any substantive way.

    Michele, I agree about the historical data dumps where you feel like the author is saying LOOK WHAT I KNOW! I'm glad you have an outlet on your blog for your inner historian. I recommended your book to a friend of mine who loves historicals and she was thrilled by the idea of a slightly larger heroine. YAY!

    Robin, I'm with you sister!! These people need to know who they are and stick with their original traits.

    Uh oh, Cheryl, don't tell me you hate rich famous sexy football players. LOL! You will like my Michael in L@FF. He's an attorney, but also a public servant prosecutor for the city of Baltimore. I usually hate the overly alpha types, too, but I wrote Ryan that way at the beginning of LOS because he needed to do something HUGE to get Susannah's attention. After that, I worked fast to show his insecurities for the very reasons you mentioned!

  8. My pet peeve is a story where there are too many other characters. You only have 300 - 400 pages to convice me that the main couple is going to have a HEA. I want the vast majority of those pages to be the main couple interacting.

    Marie: Ryan was definitely not too alpha for me. LOS was one of favorite books of 2008.

  9. Awww, thanks Jen! That's so nice to hear. Yes, i too hate when secondary characters take over the story. You ladies are helping to remind me of several of my other pet peeves--LOL! Apparently, I have a lot of them.

    Boy am I having a magical writing experience this morning... everything is just firing on all cylinders with NO girlfriends, no historical data dumping, no alphas, none of our peeves. Oh and my characters? They know EXACTLY who they are. HAHA

  10. Excellent quickie post Marie! Good luck with the deadlines - I think we ALL know how that is. :)

    Pet peeves: Hmm, I am with you on the misunderstandings. Even though that is a large part of the plot in all Austen novels, I have to admit that there are times when I want to reach into the pages and just b**ch slap someone for being so closed mouthed and stupid! LOL! I write Lizzy and Darcy as having overcoming that issue, thank God.

    The history stuff never bothers me. I guess because I love learning while I read. Hopefully I don't go off on tangents in my novels! But I fear I may since I love describing various things. But not to show off, but merely to inform and set the mood.

    I suppose my biggest pet peeve, and why I have tended to avoid romance in the past, is how long it takes to get to the good part. I like it when the couple figure stuff out as a team or at least have some happy moments in the middle rather than finally getting it worked out on the last page. Guess that is why I am a sequel gal!

  11. Great post Marie. Brevity IS the soul of wit!

    You hit the biggies. I too hate TBM (the Big Misunderstanding) ANY character who is TSTL, and any scene that doesn't advance the story.

    I also agree with Michele, HATE info dumps. And Cheryl, those Alpha *sshole males are NOT romantic in the least IMO(and no, I did not think Ryan was one of those).

    I also dislike "talking heads" and scenes that take place "in a vacuum"(you have no idea where the characters are or what they are doing). Hmmmm, do you get the idea that I'm hard to please?!?!


  12. LOL, Cindy, I'm discovering today that we're all quite discerning.

    While we're on the subject of peeves, here's one you will also relate to--books that are billed as romantic suspense and have JUST enough romance in them to keep them in the genre. Why can't we call a thriller a thriller? I want me some GOOD, solid romance to go along with my suspense.

    There, I feel so much better. Don't you? :-)

  13. Sharon! I am shocked! Such language from our sweet little baby nurse. LOL--I am RIGHT there with you. I've wanted to do my share of b**tch slapping, too. Sometimes it's like, COME ON PEOPLE! Give me a break!

  14. I didn't think Ryan was a nasty alpha, either, but he could have been. You did a good job keeping him likable, Marie!

  15. Thanks, Cheryl. :-) It was important to me that for ever inch of swagger and bravado he displayed, he have just as much insecurity and worry about whether she's going to give him another chance. Glad that came through to you!

  16. Marie said: "I want me some GOOD, solid romance to go along with my suspense.

    There, I feel so much better. Don't you? :-)"

    LOL! YUP! Coz I'm the SAME WAY! You all know yer olde Aunty likes the murder and mayhem, but NOT without the mushy, emotional romance. ;-)


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  18. Too many characters - in a novel or series.

    Drawn out misunderstandings or angst - I'm good for a good fifty pages and then it's taxing unless the author is a pro at angst.

    Secret babies as a way to get the couple back together.

    Recently a Beauty and the Beast story where I felt the hero shouldn't have groveled and the heroine should have... as they were both in the wrong, but I felt the heroine more so.

    The overuse of endearments that are standard - like baby, honey, sweetheart, luv, etc. If there are endearments they should be tailored b/c otherwise it sounds like the hero/heroine is trying not to mix up their lover's name with someone else. lol

    Rushed endings... oh how I hate a rushed ending. Pile on the angst, guilt, love, devotion, adoration, selfishness whatever emotion is required and go all out this is my last hurrah with the book so make it good for me!

  19. Keira! Tell me how you really feel. LOL! I so agree! Secret babies are another peeve of mine. Hate em! Thanks for dropping by!