I like to think I am a fairly lenient reader. There are genres I prefer but, if the story is well written enough , I can enjoy any story. That being said, there are certain tropes and plot devices that will immediately ruin a story for me. Here are 9 things that turn me off of a romance novel.
As someone who identifies as demisexual, meaning I have to have a deep connection to someone to feel sexually attracted to them, it’s really hard for me to understand how someone can instantly fall in love with someone. It takes awhile for me to develop strong feelings of any kind for anything so for someone to immediately be in love with someone just does not make sense to me.
2) “One True Mate”
Along the same vein is the “one true mate,” or soul mates trope. I guess I can see the appeal behind this idea, but I never could get behind the soulmates theme. I think the reason it bothers me so much is because the romance genre is flooded with paranormal romances with where the couples are fated mates, but at least one of them is fighting it. Instead of the characters actually falling for each other, they are continuously forced together because they are mates until they eventually decide to stop fighting it. Not only is this poor writing, but it makes for a week relationship between the couple.
3) Pushy friend
There are few character types that bother me more than pushy friends. I am talking about that “best friend” of heroine who pushes the main character to “go out and get laid” or “live a little.” I would like to think these friends mean well, but in reality, they are just annoying. It also confuses me as to how these people end up as best friends considering they have such opposite personalities, morals, and lifestyles.
For someone who reads so much fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal, it’s a bit hypocritical of me to say that this trope bothers me due to being so unrealistic, which it is. Honestly, how many billionaires are out there? How many of those are attractive, young males looking for a down on her luck female?
But honestly, If can actually look past all of that. The reason this trope bothers me so much is because, like the fated mate trope, I feel that it is weak writing. I feel the author make these men billionaires so that they can quite literally do anything they want for the heroine, pampering her in ways that are both gluttonous and unrealistic. Don’t get me wrong, I love when my husband gives me special treatment, but I don’t need to him to spend a painful amount of money to do so.
5) Broken H/h
I understand that people have hard lives, that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for everyone, and that they can have lasting negative effects from it. That being said, I physically cannot force myself to read a novel where the hero or heroine is broken in some way. I read romance novels to make me happy. You know what doesn’t make me happy? Reading someone else’s misery, especially if it’s self induced. I cannot count how many novels I have read where the all the suffering the main character is going through is self induced.
6) Special snowflakes/Most beautiful
I am going to assume that most people understand what I mean by the term “special snowflake.” You know, the heroine who “isn’t like other women.” I loathe this idea. What’s wrong with other women? Women are awesome!
That being said, I feel that this is a toxic mentality forced upon women in our society where women are taught to see other women as competition and rival rather than friends and allies.
Along with this trope is the “most beautiful” trope. This is when the hero repeatedly talks about how the love interest is the “most beautiful” he has ever seen. Not because of her personality, intelligence, or because she is beautiful to him. No , this is because she is legitimately beautiful. I can appreciate an aesthetically pleasing person, but when it repeatedly thrown in my face, it gets old.
7) Bad Boys
No one wants a bad boy, let just be honest right now. First off, they are a lot more trouble than they are worth. No sex or physical attractiveness is worth the struggle. Secondly, it’s impossible to consider them bad boys because the authors who write them are incapable of writing a true bad boy. They always secretly have “a heart of goal” or some redeeming factor to make them “not so bad.”
Don’t get me wrong, I like goody two shoes even less. But as a sane person, I don’t need to add any level of danger to my life. I would also like to add that just because the hero is a d***, that doesn’t make him a bad boy.
The only thing worse than pushy friends, is stubborn main characters. Legitimately, these characters are the ones who are stubborn just for the sake of being stubborn and no other reason. There is nothing more I can say about this without getting heated.
9) Terrible Secrets
If I am reading a synopsis for a novel and it even hints at some “terrible secret” one of the main characters is harboring that could keep them apart, I stop immediately stop reading the synopsis and move on with my life. Everyone has secrets, I get that. But authors use this trick to keep the reader interested in story by feeding them hints here and there, or repeatedly mentioning that there is a secret. The author plays on the curiosity of the reader to continue reading, when, more often than not, the secret is anti-climatic.
What are some things that turn you off of a novel?