A little fantasy for the rest of us

Some days, it just doesn’t pay to open your mouth. Or put fingers on the keyboard, as the case may be.

I got in a discussion about Romance Tropes. Now, let me start out with two things: 1. I have nothing but respect for romance writers, and 2. If you are a romance writer who uses the tropes I’m about to talk about YOU ARE NOT A BAD WRITER, and if I said I enjoyed your story, I damn well meant it.

Okay, moving on to my point. Tropes are the basic building blocks of storytelling. Everybody uses them. They are neither good nor bad, in and of themselves.

However, someone asked what Romance Tropes we would like to change, and several people, myself included, thought that beautiful wealthy, alpha males might be overdone.

I have long said that there is far more inherent tension in working class characters. Wealthy characters automatically have less stress. They aren’t worrying about food and bills, etc. And working joes can’t jet off to Hawaii and Le Expensive Restaurant to prove their love.

I have frequently mentioned (in discussions with other writers about our writing. Not on this blog.) that there are very few genuinely ‘pretty’ people in my casts, and conversely, few truly ugly people. The human race is varied, we aren’t all gorgeous, and we aren’t all trolls. Most of us fall somewhere in between. And we have varied tastes as to what is attractive. Everybody is attractive to someone.

Mina, for example, is not considered universally attractive. While the Trojan calls her beautiful, and Dean refers to her as pretty, most men describe her as thin, with pointed features. She isn’t their type. (Rick doesn’t count as he is an Amazon Chaser, and doesn’t find her attractive until she learns how to fight as a human.).

Why do I bring this up? Because I (and several others) might have suggested that it would be nice to read a romance about someone who wasn’t a Greek statue brought to life. Just for variety.

We also suggested that brooding men who liked to be in control were nice and all, but what about a soft spoken, shy man? Or a thin, geeky guy, who likes Doctor Who and cracks wise.

What about the rest of us? Don’t we deserve love, too? The older women. The chubby women. The ones with limp hair, or, the gods protect us all, children?

No love life for you! You’ve procreated! You obviously have no interest is sex!

Sadly, the answer was ‘no.’ No, we don’t. Nobody (but those of us who said we ‘yes, we want to read that.’) wants to read those stories. Publishers don’t want it, and neither does anybody else.

See, apparently, ROMANCE is all about the FANTASY. And therefore is only for pretty, rich, single people. The rest of us just get to read about them. More importantly, these writers had no idea where we got the idea that romance was full of pretty, rich, alpha males, anyways.

At this point, my dander was well and truly up. So, I bailed on the discussion. I’m not going to change minds. It’s like people who say that all vampires must act like Count Dracula or they aren’t real vampires.

What they mean is that they like certain tropes, and only those tropes are the right ones.

Me? I like variety. I don’t hate pretty, rich alpha males and I’ve read some good ones. But I would love to read a good geek romance. Where they meet on a message board, and fall in love arguing about Star Wars. They take the plunge and decided to meet in real life, scary as that it. He has bad eyes and she has bad hair. But it doesn’t matter, because they find each other totally hot. The sex isn’t great at first, but eventually as they talk about what they like and experiment, it gets really good. And life isn’t perfect, but it’s better with each other.

And if that isn’t enough magic and fantasy for you, well then, I have to ask if you really want to write about Romance or just about rich, pretty people with perfect lives?

As for me, I’ve got work to do. I have a series of stories and novellas that needs editing.

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