Eight Things About Fictional Romance That Can Be Kinda Annoying

by - August 25, 2017

We all know that there's a lot of romance in YA. When I was little, I kept wondering, why on earth? Now I know it's because we start to understand it a lot better than when we were in middle grade. I don't hate romance in books, but it isn't my favorite part by far either. It's somewhere in between where it can either ruin the entire book, or add that little bit of sugar and spice that makes you smile whenever you think back on it.

Today, I am going to tell you what I /sometimes/ dislike in romance. And be prepared for a long speech.

1. Love Triangles

Yup. This is my biggest pet peeve. WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN SO MUCH?!!? I don't like to say bad stuff about books, but my least favorite love triangle ever (this is the polite way to say worst) was from the Snow Like Ashes trilogy. (If any of you out there like this series - I am only giving my opinion according to my tastes – no offense intended!) I was reading this in the library and I had the urge to stand up from my seat and hurl the books across the room. But, I didn't, because I didn't want anyone to think I was crazy (even though I am. hahaha). I can understand it if sometimes two people are in love with the same person, but not if one person is in love with two people, and this is what love triangles seem to do. Like, in the Hunger Games (this trilogy had many fantastic elements, but my least favorite part was, of course, the love triangle). For goodness sake girls, if you can't make up your minds yet, stop right there! Don't keep leading these poor guys on! Seriously, why do they always waver in between while sort of carrying on two relationships? It's so annoying. Also, why is it always two boys in love with a girl?

2. Good Guy Falls in Love With Bad Guy

Guy as in “person”. Now, it's a little weird that this is in the list of things that annoy me, considering that this my favorite kind of romance – when the enemy falls in love with the MC (and the MC falls in love with the enemy)... it's just hilarious. And super dangerous. But it's something that happens quite often, and it is the overuse that starts to wear on my nerves. Unfortunately. Usually it goes something like this – the girl MC is very attracted to this boy whom she finds charming, but sooner or later she discovers he is on the enemy's side or has some ulterior motive, and he betrays her, or kidnaps her, or something like that, and she's furious and tries (usually rather unsuccessfully) to hate him, but then when her life is in danger, he always comes back to save her, because love conquers all, and they live happily ever after. So. Don't get me wrong, this type of story can work wonderfully – but just as with anything else, if you get too much of it too often, it'll get stale. And with so much of this going around, it's giving a wrong impression of bad guys! True, they can reform, but with this you'd end up thinking that every tall, strong, handsome bad guy will end up falling head over heels in love with you! I've also read so many synopses of books where there are these girl assassins who are supposed to kill this fellow, but end up falling in love with him instead. Too much. Just too much. Ever watched detective/crime series? Then you may know that in there, the bad guys are only interested in making the person think they love them so that they can use them, then dump/kill them later. So why doesn't the MC and the “traitor” actually have a real breakup? Why does the MC always still have some feelings left for him? Again, I love it when the “bad guy” is reformed, but hey, it doesn't always happen. The MC should sometimes realize that she actually, really, truly misjudged someone. Why does the MC win so easily? She didn't have to do anything remarkable to get his affection – he's just naturally attracted to her, and even when she tries to hate him, her charms are working and he will save her even if she doesn't want his help. Can't the bad guys have a “victory” sometimes? Like “we successfully tricked her and lured her in and none of us is affected by it”!!! There should be more Mavens around*coughcough* spoiler *cough*. But if you don't want to sacrifice your charming-but-currently-evil love interest, then here's another idea. Why doesn't the MC ever get to be the one saving the betrayer? The betrayer always comes back and saves the helpless and furious betrayed. But she's the good guy. Couldn't it be she instead who continues to love him despite his “failure” and couldn't it be she who saves him instead? (This is why I absolutely love Ted Dekker's Lost Books, but you already know that, right?)

3. Secrets

Yeah. This is horrible. The character is keeping a secret, and we all know it would be better if the character told his/her friends, but still he/she doesn't, until it's too late. And by then someone has died, nearly died, or something terrible has happened and everyone, especially the love interest, is furious with the MC. Come on, more trust? This is why I love Thomas from the Maze Runner – he never kept secrets, he told his friends, and no one thought any worse of him for it. If anything, it helped. How do you expect someone to trust you when you don't tell them important information!? Unless their lives are really in danger, but in my experience, telling them would never endanger them any more.

4. Hate

Ugh. This usually happens when the gal finds out her perfect boyfriend turned out to be less than perfect, i.e. a bad guy. So there's a few chapters of hate involved. And I am screaming in my head, “Come on! You know you still care about him deep inside! Don't you know destiny has fated you two to be together! So stop being so stubborn and stop being so angry!” Also happens in other situations – these lovers are arguing and hating each other for no sensible reason that I can see (okay, so maybe they were keeping secrets, risking their lives for each other, being tricked by the bad guys, and learning that they weren't nearly as perfect as they thought they were. But anyway). Happens a lot. Why do the MCs (especially some of the girls I have met) have such a capacity to hate!!!???

5. Perfection

So, you all know that sometimes the lovers hate each other, but there are times that they are totally convinced that the other is perfect (i.e. Edward and Bella Cullen. Nothing wrong with these two – on my list they come right after Romeo and Juliet, if you know what I mean). In fact, sometimes they are angry because they are so perfect – they are perfectly wanting to die for each other and both want the other to live, so, yeah, obviously they'd start fighting. But hey guys, this is all a mistake. Unless the character is for some reason actually perfect (I was gonna say "if the character is, for some reason, an elf", buuut, apparently some people – i.e. dwarfs – wouldn't agree), this can't happen. It's giving a wrong impression to say, “You'll be perfect to your true love!” You won't. There was one video we watched where this couple wanted to get married. They worked in the same place, but not the same department. They were made to work together and found they weren't quite so compatible. And the fellow was saying, this is so different from those perfect date nights! So unless they only see each other for dates when they put on that perfect mask, no one can be perfect to someone who sees them day in and day out, in the ups and in the downs. In real life you won't be perfect – quite the contrary, you might find yourselves exposing each others flaws. “Seeing past the imperfection” isn't supposed to be turning a blind eye on it; it's loving the person in spite on it. It's not love to allow someone to continue living in their imperfection (well, obviously no one can be perfect, but that doesn't mean you can sit back and stop trying to do your very best to improve). So yeah. Sorry to burst the bubble, but I am sure most of you already know this.

6. Happily-ever-after

Some times I strikes me as unfair that while everyone else suffered so much loss, the MC came through almost unscathed, and still has the love interest more in love with her (I am using her, because I happen to have read a lot more books with female protagonists. Don't know why. I am getting tired of them) than ever. For instance, the Hunger Games. (I am sooo happy that both Gale and Peeta survived, but hey, why did so many other people die, and these two happened to live?). Usually both the MC and the love interest survive unscathed and get some kind of happily-ever-after. So, why don't we kill the MC more often? That's what Veronica Roth did. Okay – so it wasn't well received. How about killing the love interest? Ted Dekker does it really often. (Like, out the five stories I have known, four times ...) Then make them heal, or even find love again. Or kill them both, like Romeo and Juliet. Just try not to make it suicide – yikes. But if you are really fond of your couple, just give one of them some permanent damage – like an injury. Deform the character, and make them cope with that. Make one of them a cripple for life, or scar the girl so badly that she doesn't have any beauty left. But don't get me wrong – I love stories where all survive – I like them better than those where there's death and damage to my favorite people! I'm just saying, don't make it all the same. As authors, we can do all this cruel stuff – just remember that the readers may not understand it so well ...

7. True Love

There's no such thing as a true love. What I mean is, there is such a thing as truly loving someone and falsely loving someone, but no such thing as a person being your true love. Okay, I know we believe that there can be the “right” person for us, but it's not as if this person is our “true love” - the one fated and destined to be the one and only person we could ever truly love. Sometimes this is misleading – there's no choice anymore. Also, stories are usually about true love versus arranged marriage. Write a story opposite of that – where the arranged marriage is better than the supposed “true love”. Write a story where the arranged marriage turns out to be true love. Write a story like Shakespeare's “Much Ado About Nothing”, where the friends try to bring two stubborn people together. Write something like “The Taming of the Shrew”, where the girl is the beast that has to be tamed by “Prince Charming” (instead of a Beauty and the Beast retelling).

8. Strong, silent, serious characters

Very touchy issue, this is, because these are my favorite kinds of characters ever! They are act strong, and are so serious, and they don't talk except to snap and give orders. I love these guys because it's just so funny when they start to soften up and get to know the MC! So what do I have against them? Nothing. The problem is the authors because these awesome characters always turn out to be the love interest. Come on... You are making me look stupid having my favorite guys always the ones the MC is in love with. I think the strong silent type is overused as a love interest. *groans* Are they really that charming? I mean, yeah, the girl always half-hates him at first... but she's stuck with him for some reason, so they don't have any choice in the matter. I have never met a strong, silent person in my life (not that I have met a lot of people) and those who ignore me and don't say anything give a bad impression of themselves to me. In short, they make me feel stupid.

In conclusion - there are things about fictional romance that can be unrealistic. Or sometimes, they can be overused. So I challenge you to make it real. To reimagine the cliches. I'm not saying these things don't make for good stories. I'm just saying sometimes somethings can be done another way :D

So, what do you think? 
Do you agree with me? Disagree? 
What things about romance annoys you? Can you think of any good examples to the things I listed? Tell me everything! Rant, ramble, rave!

soar the skies, lisa :D

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  1. Amen Lisa...Romance can be so stale. And boy it's hard to write good romance into stories but the world needs improvement here...
    Great points!

    1. Thanks! You are right there. Sometimes ... you shouldn't abandon something all together when you don't appreciate how people are doing it. Quoting someone I know, "be the change you desire". but yep it's hard :D

  2. NOOOO! I was supposed to be first. Well played, Anna. Well played. XD

    This was awesome and you inspired me a bit. I have some characters from side projects that I feel I need to torture a bit more now. I want to try and make romance a complimenting factor of my stories. The only genre I haven't written is romance because I just can't take myself to a certain level of cheesy. (Nothing against romance or people who like it. I've read romance myself.)

    Great job. :D


    1. Haha. It's okay Ivie! (*whispers* good job Anna*)

      Well I'm happy you got some inspiration. Ooh torture? Niiiice... *Ahem* ... I think James Dashner may have given you a few good lessons of torture, no?

      I totally get you though. I don't think any worse of anyoneu who likes the genre but for me, I prefer to take it in small amounts. I find it hard to write too. Not that I've acutally written any? Mine ends up being like these two are super fond of each other and best friends and would die for the other but actual romanceiness? #nope Haha I'm really terrible. Let's hope it was all well implied though :D

      Thanks <3

  3. I agree with all of this! Romance in book, just tends to make me yawn because it's so predictable.

    1. Mmmhmm yes sometimes it's like that. I usually have my eyes peeled for the love interest and the minute his name is first mentioned I'm like, "That's him," and then when it is him, I'm like, "I knew it." xD

  4. Great job! Really well said, it's sad how romance can't seem to find a new plot.

  5. I am SO GLAD that you put love triangles at #1 and I agree with EVERYTHING YOU SAID ABOUT THEM. Like, maybe she can't make up her mind, but she shouldn't be trying to go along with both??

    (And mostly irrelevantly, but I was sure I read the Divergent trilogy? But I don't remember Tris dying??? You wouldn't think the MC's death would be something even I could forget, but apparently... *googles* Nope, apparently I did not read Allegiant. Oops.)
    Jem Jones

    1. I HAVE A THING WITH LOVE TRIANGLES. When I was younger I tried to put a love triangle in one story and thought I had thought it up with my own brain and was being super original and creative but #nope. You know I might still use it. But in a proper creative way. I get it that the mc doesn't want to hurt either one but doesn't she realize she'll be hurting them even more later???

      Haha. I read Divergent and the two others way back in December 2016? And I know lots of people dislike them but Veronica Roth will always be a super special author to me because she introduced me to dystopi and YA. and I love her for killing Tris. Because if I decided to do so too, I would and I would never look back. It's brave. It's realistic. And it's harsh. And it's memorable :D I don't know how much I'd recommend Allegiant to you. Depends on how much you liked the first two?

    2. *dystopia
      can't believe I'm making typos on my own blog *shakes head*

  6. Amen to the Happily Ever After section! No matter what happens, the love interest stays by the MC's side, and by the end, they're staring at the sunset, hand in hand. They tend to always have each other. And it's not like I have a huge problem with it, but it's turning into a clichΓ©...

    AWESOME post, Lisa! XD

    1. Haha :D Yes. I mean - I LOVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER. But I tend to remember and respect the tragic endings more! I know some people don't like it when the heroes all die, but I really don't have a trouble with it - probably because when I was nine I read books where everyone died (real life stories though). :D

  7. I totally agree with a lot of these! I do have some triangles I like but usually?? They're heckin' annoying. πŸ˜‚ Plus one character is usually complex and developed and the other isn't so you knoooooow who the girl will pick. (The Snow Like Ashes triangle WAS SO FRUSTRATING I nearly threw the book.πŸ˜‚) I do like HEA's though! Not always, but they can be very nice and heartwarming. <3 I know it's not realistic but like, we read about a ton of unrealistic stuff so having someone's relationship actually work out lovely isn't too bad.πŸ˜‚

    I also hate the trope where they get together in book 1 and then break up in the sequel and then are back together in book 3. IT'S SO TIRING.πŸ˜‚

    1. YES. HI NICE OF YOU TO DROP BY!!! Sure, I'm not saying all love triangles are terrible - just ... most that I've seen! xD Yes, I know for some love triangles (like our example, Snow Like Ashes) it's so obvious how things are going to end up! I have to admit that I LOVE HAPPILY EVER AFTERS TOO. Because they are happy. But the "tragically ever afters" are really ... memorable because the authors stabbed your feels. Yeah - unrealistic things are sometime tiring - but often just adorable :D

      GOOD POINT. I TOTALLY AGREE. LIKE, we saw this coming miles away xD

  8. I FOUND YOUR BLOG :D *waves*

    THIS POST WAS AMAZING AND THAT IS ALL SO TRUE. I get exhausted by the romance subplots in YA novels these days. I actually just watched Pride&Prejudice for the first time (after the reading the book). THAT is the kind of romance that I will put up with, though I confess I occasionally like the ones where the pair are nearly perfect for each other. It can sometimes come off as unrealistic, but it's really sweet too xD

    audrey caylin


      I know what you mean :D But Pride and Prejudice though <3 I haven't seen the movie, but the book is a favorite classic of mine :D Most of these that I mentioned are actually marvelous when done rightly and occasionally but TOO MUCH = TIRING. Let's just sometimes write off unrealism as fantasy. We love fantasy, so let's excuse unrealism every now and then! xD

      <3 thanks again.


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