Writing a romance novel? Here are the fatal clichés to avoid when crafting a tale of love
So you want to write a romance novel with all the trappings that lead to a love everlasting. That’s fantastic because the romance genre is one of the most popular genres out there, and despite having a lot of competition from other romance authors, the market is huge. However, due to the abundance of such books about love, there comes a point where there are so many clichés and overdone plotlines that many readers are getting sick of seeing. This must be overcome by a newbie to the genre as to avoid being lumped in with the rest of the crowd. Here are some of the pitfalls to watch out for when you are writing your romance novel.
In literature, a Mary Sue or a Marty Stus is an idealized and often perfect fictional character that authors create to insert themselves into the story. Often a form of wish-fulfillment in the part of the writer, this character is literal, undisguised, and is often created to be stereotypically male or female. Easily spotted because of their apparent perfection, it is not bad because of self-insertion, but rather, there is a lack of character development because it lacks realism.
This other woman (or man, in some cases) is automatically evil because she has what the protagonist wants, be it good looks, a fortune, or even the attentions of the love interest. She’s the ex, the mistress, the other marriage prospect, and is possessive of the love interest. She immediately attacks the heroine once she catches the eye of the hero and wants to break them apart. This is an overused plot device and is a universally reviled cliché.
In historical romances, it is usually a duke or some lord that has had more than his fair share of carnal knowledge and a young virginal innocent that he reforms for because he fell in love with her. In contemporary romance, this is a rich businessman (still quite young) who lures an innocent into a seemingly depraved world but has the tables turned on him because he fell in love with her. This plot line wouldn’t be so bad only if the characters were in any way believable. In real life, rakes don’t settle down just because they meet a virgin, and women who are sexually inexperienced in life are not necessarily innocent, making the story unbelievable.
A plot device often used is the amnesia angle where the protagonist has, through an accident, forgotten who he or she was. This is unbelievable for the sole fact that it is a fantasy and is woefully overused in so many romance novels that the ending becomes easily predictable.
This is when the hero and the heroine are, through a will stipulation of a well-meaning or manipulative relative, forced to be together despite the fact that they hate each other. This device is so contrived, especially in the case of modern romance novels. It is hard to believe because it is a rare thing for relatives to write such a stipulation in their will.
These are just a few, but obviously there are more. Do you know any more? Leave your comments below!