How to infuriate a romance reader…

 

mysterious eyes

 

Readers have a universal love the creative twist, the one of a kind character, the sparklingly original ย plot. There are also some universally aggravating qualities that can crop up in romance novels sure to infuriate the reader. Here are my top three.

1. The “too stupid to live” heroine. I’m not sure why it is that this phenomenon usually applies to a female, but modern readers don’t tolerate stupidity in their heroines. No walking into the dark basement where the killer lurks without so much as a cell phone in her pocket. No way. Women are smart, and having them behave as if they aren’t is sure to insult readers.

2. The heroine that’s tougher than the hero. Yes, we want our heroines to be smart, strong, and resilient, but we don’t want them to overshadow the hero. They can be partners, help each other and take turns being the problem solver, but we don’t want a Rambo-esque heroine.

3. ย The missing “HEA.” For those in the biz, HEA is short for “happily ever after.” It’s mandatory in a romance novel. If we’re going to sit through an entire novel, there better be a happy resolution by the end. It doesn’t have to end in a proposal (though those are nice) but we sure have to have the expectation that we’ve got that wonderful, love match. No happy ending? No happy readers!

What drives you crazy in a romance novel? Giving away a signed book, an Amazon gift card and a fall surprise!

14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Shanda on October 12, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I hate it when their reason for being “thrown together” isn’t believable or makes the heroine seem like an idiot for allowing a stranger into her life so soon.

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  2. Posted by Samantha on October 11, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    I have to disagree with the HEA part.
    Even though it’s nice for the couple to end up together and happy, it’s not always like that in life. Sometimes, I would like some romance novels with an unexpected ending and maybe the realization that the two characters weren’t meant to be together. Of course, they need to be able to learn something from their relationship, otherwise the book was all for nothing ๐Ÿ˜›
    The rest I pretty much agree with. I also need the book to be clean and realistic. Everything isn’t always going as planned in life and everything shouldn’t always be happy and merry in books either. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • You know, I agree with you Samantha, life just isn’t like that, but I’ll tell you what. After writing fourteen books I’ve learned that people really want that happy ever after ending in a romance novel. If you don’t deliver that…boy do you get mail! Thanks for the comment. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Dana Mentink award winning fiction author http://www.danamentink.com

      >

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  3. I agree with the three you listed, Dana; those do annoy me quite a lot and may even cause me to not finish a book. It also really drives me crazy when a couple seems to fall absolutely in love when they’ve only barely caught glimpses of each other once or twice, and then they end up engaged when they’ve barely met & have only known each other for a very short time. I know this is partly possible (my own great-grandparents got married the second time they saw each other and were happily married for many years), but in books it always seems unrealistic and forced.

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  4. It drives me crazy when the romance is not believable; when the chemistry is not there and then boom, they’re in love all of a sudden and you’re wondering when did that happen? I read a book where that occurred and it just kept bugging me until I finally finished it? The opposite is true. If two people are destined to be together I don’t like it when something trivial keeps separating them. I understand the need to build the tension for a while in the book, but if it goes on for too long it can have the opposite effect and become frustrating, like alright already!!

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  5. Posted by Beth on October 7, 2014 at 2:18 am

    I really enjoy reading Christian romantic suspense novels! It drives me crazy when a perfectly wonderful couple enjoys spending time together and getting to know one another; then, out of nowhere, comes an old boyfriend or an old girlfriend trying to interfere and drive the wonderful couple apart. As a reader, it’s almost like someone trying to break up your two dearest friends who are perfect for each other.

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  6. It really irks me when the relationship moves too quickly. Even if it is “love at first sight” on both sides, I really don’t think the couple would be in a full blown relationship super quickly. It feels unrealistic. That romantic tension works really well to keep a story interesting, and when that is removed, well, it just becomes tiresome.

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  7. Posted by Valri Western on October 6, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    I recently read a romantic suspense novel (one of my favorite genre!) that frustrated me! The level of “romance” was super low. It’s not like it has to be every page or steamy or anything but I like to have some romance and some suspense! This book was almost all about the suspense storyline! I love the author too so it surprised me! I kept turning the pages and waiting because the characters kept “thinking” about the romance in their minds but it wasn’t until the last maybe 5 pages of the book where they actually talked about it! I was hugely disappointed! It should not have been called a “romantic” suspense in my mind!

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