Dear Romance Writers…
I love your stuff. I really, really do — so much so that I neglected all my sci fi this week to read your heavy breathing instead. Yay, sexytimes! HOWEVER, I do have a bone to pick with y’all:
1) For the love of all that is holy, your character’s interest is not “peeked.” It is not even “peaked.” The word is “piqued” and I will hit you over the head with a “pike” until you get it right.
2) DO NOT name your female character Brie. I will laugh and point at you. The only exception would be if Brie is a pale-faced girl whose tough exterior conceals a soft heart torn in two by her love for Camembert and Gouda. I’d read that.
3) “Too thin” is not a flaw. Neither is being feisty, spunky, or outspoken. Neither is having too large a chest (is that even a thing? Now I want to read a romance about those freakish triple HHH porn stars). If you want to make me interested in your characters, give them real challenges to overcome. Make them disabled, older, overweight, cranky. Give them acne, addictions and dental problems. Perfect people are boring.
4) There are enough cowboys in Romancelandia. Also, enough firefighters, cops, club owners and self-made gazillionaires. Just once, I want to read about a bike messenger or a cat breeder. Heck, I’ll take a good plumber. God knows they’re hard enough to find in real life.
5) Beautiful, virginal college students are like honest, faithful politicians. Nobody has ever seen one, but they always exist in someone’s misty watercolored memories. Ugly, promiscuous college students are way more interesting to write about anyway.
6) NO MORE ELVES, DAMMIT. Unless they’re the blood-drinking, crack your bones open and eat the marrow type — then ok.
7) Vampires do not sparkle, and they need to be at least somewhat dangerous to be appealing. Ditto were-animals. We’re not talking live-action throw rugs here.
8) Stockholm Syndrome is the exception, not the rule. People generally do NOT fall in love with their captors, hence the word “syndrome.” Otherwise, it would just be called “that thing that happens to prisoners.”
9) There’s a thin line between “Alpha” and “asshole”. Try not to confuse the two.
10) Stop describing women as having curves and men as angular. We all have curves, otherwise we’d poke each other with a bunch of corners if we got too close. You don’t want to know the mental picture I get when the main character is pressed up against the “hard planes” of a guy’s chest. I mean, OW.
Just a few suggestions, ya know….so I don’t throw my books across the room.