Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Is there a romance novel cliché or plot twist you have gotten really sick of? Then maybe you can use it to generate a story idea. Story ideas created this way have the advantage of being both fresh and yet familiar at the same time. They also give you the satisfaction of turning an annoying cliché on its head."

I remember when the obnoxious alpha hero was popular.  You know, the guy who never listened to anyone and always pushed the (sweet, virginal, mousy) heroine around, and she fell for him (heaven knows why).  Those always drove me crazy (though a lot of people love them).  

What if I wrote a story with a heroine who was a self-centered CEO of a major corporation, rolling in money, bossing everyone around, used to getting her own way--and she fell for a really sweet guy and had to find a way to win his love.  Hey, that's not too bad.  If I could find a way to motivate her so she's not beyond redemption (which was always the key to making those bossy heroes work, after all), then that could be an interesting story.

So what's your pet-peeve, your most annoying romance novel cliche?  How would you turn it into something fresh, something that you'd actually enjoy writing?


Genene Valleau said...

Hmm...very interesting question. I can think of several cliched plots that mean I won't pick up the book. However, turning them around so they would actually be interesting to write means I have to think. LOL!

OK, I'll take a stab at this. One of the most annoying plots to me is where the hero/heroine bicker through the entire book, then on the last page profess their undying love for each other. Huh?

To make this fun to write, I think it would have to be a parody or an over-the-top romantic comedy. This would showcase people who would normally be minor characters who are endowed with less-than-heroic traits such as being slobs or watching sports on TV every day but Sunday when they put down their beer cans and go to church to confess their sins so they can spend the following week doing the same thing. Maybe an updated Archie Bunker and Edith. Don't know if I could sustain this for an entire book. Though I like your idea of swapping roles. If the woman was the beer-drinking, sports-watching one and the husband was the all-suffering spouse--you're right! This could have possibilities!

Thanks for stretching my perspective!

Sarah Raplee said...

I'd have to say the cliche character that bothers me the most in ANY book is the (blind, deaf, scarred, somehow-disabled character) who must be 'saved' by someone else.

These characters reinforce negative stereotypes. They are a disservice to your readers.

For every passive, restricted blind person in need of rescue, there's another blind person hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or climbing Mount Everest.

Most vision-impaired people fall somewhere in between - average Janes and Joes like you and me who strive to make a positive difference in the world.

I turned this cliche on its head in the story I'm revising now, Blindsight. My heroine is blind, but she's strong and smart and brave. She gathers firewood in the wilderness instead of sitting on her duff while the hero builds a shelter. Yes, it's harder for her than for a sighted person, but she does it anyway, because that's what people do in survival situations.

Soon, the hero sees her as an asset, not a burden.

I REALLY had fun turning this cliche on its head!

Paty Jager said...

Barb, your scenario sounds like The Proposal with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. ;) Love that movie!

The plot I don't like is when they dislike each other from the beginning because of misunderstandings/misconceptions and have to work together to fulfill something a will or dying person set forth.

Make it fresh and different? Have the two be friends/siblings and because one of them would have to alter a perfect live they walk away and the one who tries to stick to the edicts sacrifices. Only in the case of siblings the one who sacrifices would find the love of their life during his/her downward spiral and in the end would get the inheritance while the other one would have his/her life go down the toilet. Karma- love it!

Paty Jager said...

I like Genene and Sarah's too! I can't wait for Bliindsight, Sarah.

Sarah Raplee said...

Awww; what a nice thing to say, Paty!