(I say in theory because I’m sure I’ve read and loved a few. I’m definitely not putting down anyone else’s writing. I think the right person can tell any story and make it great. But, back to the subject.)

ducklingPygmalion. My Fair Lady. Pretty Woman. You can call them transformation stories, but at their heart, it’s ugly duckling syndrome. And they just get under my skin. Here’s why:

There’s something ‘not enough’ about the hero/ine.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that protagonists need to have flaws. There’s no character growth without imperfection.

What I take issue with is the unlovableness (I made that word up) of a woman until she is made prettier, or shinier, or softer around the edges.

It’s so shallow.

Which leads me to this problem. When we’re talking flaw, we’re discussing a deep issue. It’s not something a haircut is going to help the heroine change.

A person shouldn’t have to change to be acceptable.

Did Julia Roberts need to not be a prostitute to be in a relationship? Sure, that’s fair. But didn’t he like her realness, the parts that made her different from the society women he had already discarded? Yes. Yes, he did.

A change doesn’t need to make a person lovable.

It needs to make them able to love as a fully-developed, healthy human being.

Do you have any books or movies that you think did this well? Or, conversely, did it badly?

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Four reasons ugly-duckling syndrome makes me want to wall-bang a book. #romance #blog Click To Tweet

 

On changes in the romance genre:

The relationships had also modernized: by the 1990s, it was rare to see a book which featured a man raping his future wife.

via Romance novel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Yeah, thank goodness those crazy men finally came to their senses.  In the NINETIES.  What the?

I get that this still happens in books.  Not books I read, but, it happens.  I get that some people enjoy this… forced intimacy.  But, damn it, who the hell marries someone who respects and loves them so little they just commit a crime against them?  Who else do they fall in love with?  Their stalkers?  Do they boil a bunny for Valentine’s Day?  How sweet.

Turn your picture into a romance novel cover. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, anniversary, wedding gift or just for that special person you’ve been dating. If you’ve ever dreamed of being on the cover of a Harlequin Romance Novel, this is as close as you’re likely to get.

via Use your picture to make a romance novel cover!.

I haven’t used this yet, so I don’t know how the results look.  (I don’t mind my pic so much, but I’m hesitant to star my poor husband on a romance cover).  I’d love to see it, if you give it a go.

Okay, this isn’t a well-researched, in-depth look at love or romance or…well, anything.  I’m writing, give me a break.  You don’t tell the muse, “Not now, honey.  I’m busy writing this blog.”  You can totally tell your husband that, but not your muse.  That chick is vindictive and might not show up again for six months.  *I know*.

So, for your enjoyment, a very extensive list of endearments for your sweetheart.

I’d love to have this book. (Makes a note to add to Amazon wishlist).  I’ve been reading the bitches for a couple of years now and I love them.  They’re funny “like damn and whoa,” they have awesome commenters, they call their readers the bitchery, and they’ve got something to say.  We shouldn’t be ashamed of loving our romances.  Hold those Fabio covers up proudly and proclaim to the world, “Yes, I am a smart bitch and I freaking love trashy novels!”

Found: A video made by assorted pubbed romance authors endorsing the greatness of their book (above).

I think that I’ve outgrown pop quizzes.  They were all about doing something fun and delving into different aspects of romance, but they were more flash than substance.  Also, while completely random and silly, they were still personal, in that they were about me.  And why do you care if I kiss like a woman or what movie my love life is like?

So, from now on, Saturdays will be the day that I discuss romance*.  Sometimes it’ll be something one could incorporate into their writing, or it might be inappropriately amusing, or it might be kind of touching, or… you know what?  We’ll just see where it goes, mmkay?

Up first:  How to Love on Wikihow.  Seriously?  People need directions?  The Idiot’s Guide to Being in Love?  On an unrelated note, I saw the book below, recently–don’t ask why, I had a very good reason, okay?–and it’s pretty freaking funny.  Unintentionally.  Which makes it funnier, still.

*Update 4/9/11: I don’t do a writing schedule anymore.

 

In my new manuscript, my heroine is a romance writer with a list of ten characteristics she expects her heroes to live up to.  I think she uses it a little bit for a personal measuring stick as well.  Anyway, for your reading pleasure:

Skye’s Ten Traits of a Hero

  1. Always keeps his word/promises.
  2. Respects the heroine as an individual with intelligence and many other ass-kicking qualities.
  3. He loves her brand of crazy.
  4. Once they begin their own mating dance–even if it involves slammed doors and acidic wit–he doesn’t/can’t sleep with another woman.  If he does, he finds the experience hollow and unsatisfying.
  5. Even if he’s a “bad boy” he has his own brand of morals that he doesn’t violate.
  6. He sees qualities in her no one else does and doesn’t get why everyone else doesn’t see her the same way.
  7. He laughs with her.
  8. He’s willing to make sacrifices for and compromise with her, which isn’t necessarily true of others.
  9. He cares about what she cares about or, at least, cares that she cares.
  10. He recognizes her either has his soul mate or that he has never and will never love anyone else in the huge, world-shattering way he loves her.

Image by Piotr Bizior @ www.bizior.com

Not advocating the writing of such, but I found this Erotic Thesaurus – A Guide to Purple-Prose for the Literary Artist.

Edit 08.19.2012: Recently this site has been down for exceeding its bandwidth. If it’s not working, my site will (usually) strike-through the link text. If that continues, I’ll remove the link.

Let me preface this by saying, I have children.  From 4 to 14, which means I watch everything from The Secret Life of an American Teenager to The Imagination Movers.  And, yeah, I realize my kids should be reading.  My kids do read.  They just also watch television and play video games.  Sueme.  TV is flashier and easier for them.

There goes that point again, making a break for it.  Monday night, my daughter’s watched Spectacular, a much hyped, brand new movie from Nickolodeon.  Except, it’s not all that new.

Premise: Boy is good at one thing, probably has a future as a professional.  Boy gets involved in thing 2, usually because of a girl.  Boy is not only just as good at thing 2, he actually enjoys it more.  Boy’s family finds out, and he must choose between betraying his new, blossoming love or letting his dad/brother/mother/great uncle Joe down.

It’s called High School Musical.  Not long after that, it was a movie with Corbin Bleu about jumping rope (thing 2) and boxing (thing 1).  A few nights ago, Disney aired a movie about a boy whose dad expected him to play the baseball he was great at but he liked to cook.

Romance writers are often accused of writing to a formula.  Because having a happily ever after as a rule somehow makes a formula.  No, a formula has ingredients that must be followed to achieve an end result.  We don’t have that.

And the people writing these movies for teens and tweens and younger shouldn’t have them, either.  Because those kids are smart.  And they will realize that you’re just recycling the same storyline over and over.  And you know what I’m going to do, when my kids figure it out?  Take them to the library.  Ha.

Apparently, there seems to be a link between creativity and…well, madness.  A show of hands, please, from anyone who is surprised.  Anyone?  Didn’t think so.

Here’s the link for the article.  Research was done by U of T (no clue) and Harvard.

This discovery, I think, is about as shocking as finding out the wheel is round.  Do you know any sane writers?  If you do, they’re faking it.  Trust me.