Pet peeves…oh, I have so many! As a reader, I can’t stand to see certain things in books. As an author, it’s so much worse, because I know how much hard work goes into writing and editing a novel, and sometimes it just feels like an author gave up, or that they didn’t put as much effort into their work as they could have. Call me a perfectionist, but I can’t put a huge amount of effort into something, only to leave tiny strings frayed and unattached.
In this blog I’m going to focus on three major pet peeves that I can’t stand specifically in the Romance and Erotica genres, because that’s the genre of my current work in progress.
1. When two people ‘fall in love’ in two seconds. I get it; you’re writing a romance. And I get it; an average sized novel is maybe forty, fifty thousand words. That’s not a very large book, and chances are, an avid reader will go through the story pretty quickly. When two characters fall in love within such a short period of time, I find it hard to relate to. In my case, it took me several months to fall in love, but I lived through each and every day of contact. Books usually don’t describe that much of a character’s life to a reader. I love a romance that is very slow, in which you can watch every moment that defines the relationship, and in which you can almost feel yourself falling in love too. I encourage romance writers to create a series of books in which the characters discover their love at the very end, or a story that is slow enough so that it feels real.
2. When the men in romance/erotica novels are all the same: troubled bad boys, unnaturally good looking, rich, controlling, etc. Okay…again, I get it. A lot of women have that fantasy relationship with this kind of guy, or a guy with one of these traits. But what I really can’t stand is the perfect looks/Greek God descriptions. No guy is perfect. In fact, I personally don’t find the typical ‘hot guy’ descriptions necessarily attractive. The character in my novel is strong and muscular, but besides that he is meant to be rather beastly and unlikeable. He’s slightly shorter than average height, covered in scars and burns, has sunken eyes with dark circles, and other features that aren’t your usual turn-ons. He is meant to be disliked in the beginning of the series, so when my protagonist goes from considering him her enemy to discovering her feelings for him several years later, I bring the reader through a realistic, amazing journey.
3. When the women have no power/can’t control themselves. This ties into the previous pet peeve. I once read a book recently in which a young woman accidentally bumps into a guy at a restaurant, and she immediately goes certifiably insane over this guy. She can’t stop thinking about him. He was just so hot that she couldn’t help but fall for this guy. Like come on…seriously. And I’ve read a couple novels in which the woman is turned off by this guy—at first. She plays hard to get or puts up a fight, and then way too easily the guy swoons her. For once, I want a novel in which the woman does not fall for the guy. I want to read a book about female heartbreakers. In my romance series, it takes my protagonist ten years to discover she has some sort of feelings for the guy…and even then she knows it’s not love.
As for The Lerewood, the genre isn’t romance; however the two main characters—Uallas and Ilere—share a bond that is more special than friendship. Ilere cares for Uallas almost in a motherly way. She knows he isn’t cursed like the rest of Lerewood. She knows he has a chance to see the rest of the world and end his suffering. She sees that he is good and wants to help him. Though, their feelings for each other end right about there. I didn’t have to worry too much about working on romance, but I can assure you that in my future works, I’ll never succumb to these three pet peeves.
Ilere thought it was a possibility that Uallas had some kind of power over her. What power caused a creature such as herself, a beast only educated in killing, to care? Ilere has never cared about any human before. She has never experienced any type of human emotion. Uallas came, he tested her; he was different, she talked to him, taught him, trusted him. But why? Why did she save him? She did not want to kill if she did not have to, but she did so anyway. Why couldn't she let the first of the two hunters run back to town? What would have been so horrible in letting a hunter go free, to tell her tale? Why was Uallas an exception to this impetuous bloodshed? What spell had he cast on her, for her to say "no"?
~Excerpt from Chapter 10 of The Lerewood
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