Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Romance Deal Breakers

          What are your romance deal breakers? I’m talking about offenses so horrific you will put a book down without finishing it. Forever. I know, harsh.

            I’m one of those people who grew up reading anything and everything. As a child I would read cereal boxes if my mom wouldn’t let me bring my book to the table. As a tween I trudged through Uncle Tom’s Cabin even though I hated it. I had already read all the classics assigned in high school before I got there. Kids used to meet me in the hall and ask, “Have you read this? What’s it about?” Yes, I was a living Cliff’s Note.

            Since I have become the mother of tweens I no longer can simply muddle through. Some things stop me cold. Have the tweens murdered my tolerance? I don’t know.

            As a young adult I loved a historical romance novel where the husband takes his wife by force. (It wasn’t part of their mutual fetish. That is a different kettle of fish.) I was really young so I will give myself a break. If I had come across the same scene today I would have closed the book and possibly thrown it away or at someone.

           I don’t like infidelity. If the main characters are cheating on each other and it isn’t for their mutual pleasure, I stop reading. Other forms of fiction are different. I can handle a clandestine affair or two if there isn’t necessarily going to be a big HEA.

            Unless the story is a ménage, (I do read and love them.) I don’t want to actually read about the characters having sex with other people. Just mention it as an aside if it is important. Other than that, nope.

            Have I become too picky? Maybe, but everyone has their own set of likes and dislikes. What are your romance deal breakers?


Tina Donahue said...

You wrote: I had already read all the classics assigned in high school before I got there.

God, you sound like me. Maybe my lost twin??? :)

As long as the characters' motivations make sense, I can go along with anything. Case in point: Derek's infidelity with Meredith at the beginning of Grey's Anatomy and then his decision to try to make it with Addison despite his love for Meredith. Torturous, yes. Painful, you bet. But I kept tuning in to see what would happen. He, Meredith and Addison were presented in such a human way (warts and all), I couldn't hate any of them. Yep, I was frustrated at times, but I kept tuning in.

Even when Alex messed around with that nurse although he liked/loved Izzie, I understood why. I didn't hate him. I felt sorry for him and wanted him to grow into being a better man.

IMO, that's good writing. :)

Karenna Colcroft said...

My biggest deal breaker as a reader is nonconsensual activities (forced sex, etc.) presented as BDSM.

In BDSM, all activities are consensual. The Dom(me) might push the sub to do things the sub's uncomfortable with, but they should have an agreement, often even a written contract, which spells out things the sub is one hundred percent unwilling to do, and the things the sub isn't comfortable with but will do if the Dom(me) asks. And the sub can say no, either by actually saying no or by using safewords, at any time.

I've read blurbs and reviews of books where the Dom(me) just does whatever he/she wants without even discussing it with the sub; where the sexual activity is nothing more than rape excused by "Well, you're my sub"; etc. I haven't read those books, because that's so much a deal-breaker for me.

Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

My deal breakers are brutality. I can look the other way when the villain of the story is harsh, callous, violent. But not when the hero is. The hero should always be sympathetic and honorable.

That being said, I also need to have my heroes be human. If they've done something brutal or harsh, I can forgive them if they are plagued with guilt and remorse. (Tortured heroes are a weakness for me.)
But if they brush it under the rug or shrug it off, no can do.

jean hart stewart said...

Gotta agree with all the previous. I don't like brutality for brutality's sake. If it contributes to the plot it could be alright. The hero disciplining the heroine in order to conguer her turns me off.

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

A weak, simpering heroine who is TSTL or a brutish, rude, cruel hero.
Good question.

Stormie Kent said...

Hi Tina,
I would keep watching too but I think if Grey's was a book it would have "fiction" on the spine. "Fiction" writers can get away with more than "romance" writers. That is one of the reasons I love writing in a romance subgenre. I have a little more freedom to write exactly what I want.

Hi Karenna,
I don't think people are educated as to what BDSM truly entails. It might be up to savvy people like yourself to enlighten them. ;-)

Renee and Jean,
I agree with both of you. Brutality is a hard sell. Some older Viking romances walked a very narrow line with the hero being brutal to the heroine. I write capture stories as well and the line for some writer's seems to be blurry.

Hello Julia,
I don't like a rude man. Why would dI read about him?

Mannouchka said...

hi everybody ,
When your next book will coming out Stormie and I wish all a wonderful night

Stormie Kent said...

Hi Mannouchka,
I'm working on it. Thanks for leaving a comment.

Fiona McGier said...

Personally I hate virginal heroines who achieve monumentally world-shaking orgasms with no pain the first time they are deflowered by the suave older and much-experienced man. Bleah.

Unreal and unbelievable. I won't bother to finish something that annoys me so much.

Not a deal breaker but unintentionally hilarious for me is when the heroes "organ of pleasure" is described either in purple prose (like organ of pleasure!) or as being so big that even imagining being the heroine is painful! Usually unless the rest of it is really engrossing, I'll stop reading once it gets over 10 inches long and/or wide! ;-D

Stormie Kent said...

Hi Fiona,
Thanks for leaving a comment.