The Box

August 29, 2008 at 3:40 pm 10 comments

My dear friend Raine has issues with the box. You know the ones that are “genre specific”. Well, here are the few I wish weren’t so set in stone and some that I wish were a little more accepted.

1. Single mother who isn’t a widow.

2. Long-term releationships that just didn’t work out. The ex didn’t beat or cheat on her, making him the eternal bad guy and woe is the heroine.

3. If she had sex with more than one guy they were all bad guys or those relationships are skimmed over or it was BAD sex.

4. If she’s overweight her first experience sucked or she’s just had one experience.

5. The hero is a ho, but the heroine’s Glittery Hoo-Ha will change him and he won’t cheat on HER.

6. Just stop saying the man’s teeth flashed. PLEASE.

7. He’s a felon, but he didn’t do the crime or it was for an honorable reason.

I guess what I want are people who aren’t so perfect. A little more complexity. Let me sink my teeth into a character who I can’t just say they’re good or bad. Let me decide through the story. Here’s some books that I’m talking about:

Agnes and The Hitman
Once a Thief
Smoke Thief

So on and so forth.

Now tell me which genre rules would you like to see less of or what type of stories would you like to see more of.


Entry filed under: genre, rules.


10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Edie  |  August 29, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I would like to see less romance cliches. The soul mate type of thing. I love it too, but it’s been done so much that I’d like a little less of it. Maybe that’s why I like Jennifer Crusie’s books. For the most part, her hero and heroine are believable. She builds their romance, it doesn’t happen at first meeting.

  • 2. Amie Stuart  |  August 29, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I have a secondary character in OIABM who’s a single mom with four kids and her ex is in prison for embezzlement! LOL

    More realistic characters with realistic issues!

  • 3. Melissa Blue  |  August 29, 2008 at 9:47 pm


    Jennifer Crusie is pretty much a genius when it comes to bringing a man and woman together. I think the only time she did the soul mate/true love thing was with Min and Cal, but those two fought it all the way ’til the end. And then again it was a fairy tale.

  • 4. Melissa Blue  |  August 29, 2008 at 9:49 pm

    More realistic characters with realistic issues!

    Just ask the Enron executives wives…

    And I’m not even asking for more realistic. Just give me something different. I think I just might even want more anti-heroes. *shrugs* just less of the same ol’ same ol’.

  • 5. raine  |  August 30, 2008 at 7:18 am


    I LUBS ya, lol! 😀

    You GET it. You actually GET it. Oh thank God. *snort!*

    More complex characters.
    More anti-heroes.
    More anti-HEROINES–with Glittery Hoo-Ha’s.
    Fewer double standards.
    Give the characters some personality. Let’s see more of the ‘dark’ sides (meaning they actually have human imperfections).

    A genre stereotype I’d like to see tackled?
    The “slut with the heart of gold”, who makes whatever supreme sacrifice is necessary to make the hero happy because he’d be better off without her, etc.

    Bless you, my child, and go in peace.
    (slipping your soapbox back under your bed…)

  • 6. Jennifer McKenzie  |  August 30, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I want realistic characters. I’d rather have a character that has real stuff happen to them than the generic stuff.
    and I LOVE the glittery whoo ha reference. LOL.
    I have to say, if a man is a player, he has to have a damn good reason to give up playing. And it ISN’T in the bedroom, IMHO.
    Emotional growth makes a book better. I like to have my heroes or heroines have some emotional change by the end of the book.
    Having said that, an author I LOVE pissed me off when she got a character together with another one and then broke them up in the next book. I was HEARTBROKEN.
    It’s a testament to her that, not only did I feel that ending to my core, I still want to read her stuff.
    It was realistic. Relationships don’t always last. Things change. Maybe what seemed like a happy ending might not be.
    Now that’s reality.
    But are romance readers really interested in “reality”?

  • 7. Melissa Blue  |  August 30, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Raine, I know how you feel when it comes to the box.

    Give the characters some personality. Let’s see more of the ‘dark’ sides (meaning they actually have human imperfections).

    This is what I’m getting at. You can pull off the good guys/girls, but challenge me as a reader to root for the bad guy. Case in point: Dr. Evil.

    That’s all I’m saying.

  • 8. Melissa Blue  |  August 30, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    But are romance readers really interested in “reality”?

    Some subjects just probably will never be widespread. I get that. Take me away on the fantasy. But here’s my thing, if you want to take me away on the fantasy make it a little more interesting. Engage me as a writer. And for me that’s giving me someone who isn’t good or bad. Give me someone who nips a $20 bill from the collection plate at church and then gives it the the hobo down the street. Give me the heroine who has meat on her bones, but still accepts her sexually before the hero shows up on the page. Or even doesn’t want to be a dress size, but just healthy.

    I don’t think that’s too realistic. I think that’s playing into another fantasy that maybe isn’t used enough. Romance could stand to have A LOT more variety and that’s all I’m really, really asking for.

  • 9. Cynthia  |  September 1, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    I hate when the heroine, who should be an adult, talks like your average 10 year old. Apologies to all 10 year olds. A little “cute” talk I can handle but when that’s all she seems capable of I start losing my lunch. Besides to men really like that? Oh, wait, I don’t think I want an answer to that one.

    Oh and I’m sick of heroines who are too stupid to live. Give me a strong heroine who can take care of herself and I’m happy.

  • 10. Melissa Blue  |  September 2, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Apologies to all 10 year olds.

    I sincerely hope no ten year olds read my blog. *eeek* And, TSTL heroine’s are like fingernails over a blackboard for me.

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