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Romantic Cliches
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:44 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 17

As a romance writer, it's easy to use the standard cliched storylines. What are some of your favorites, and what are best left to the curb?
Maya Starling
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 12:55 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45

Favorite cliche... I guess the bad boys and domineering men are my weakness.

Left to the curb, those same ones but without respect for women and their decisions.

Also, I always melt at a story where the guy is a single dad, there's just something sweet about it.

Most hated cliche: when they leave because:
a. They're not good enough for the female character even though she loves him
b. leaving to keep those he loves safe...

in the end it always complicates things and they come back.
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:01 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 17

For me, it's the perfect gentleman, because, let's face it. We are reading/writing a work of fiction, so they might as well be perfect.
Alex Rosa
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:19 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 14

Favorite Romance Cliches:
- I am a sucker for the domineering guy as well but with a stubborn woman MC, haha.
- The boy with a secret, but can't stay away type thing too.
- Smart men who can't figure out their emotions, which I know is weird to admit. I like the growth that occurs.
- I am also a sucker for the love triangle.

For me, best left to the curb are:
- I don't like are wounded women stories, or weak woman in general. I don't mind if the wounded woman is pushing through it with resilience, and a boy interferes with her growth and in the end helps the cause, but I don't like it when the whole "i need a man" thing.
- I am not a fan of changing the bad boy either. And by bad-boy I mean the rebel with no direction.

Alex Rosa
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 1:27 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 14

...I do like the perfect gentleman,  and I didn't realize this until reading your books JC true story.
Maya Starling
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 2:21 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 45


Danielle Bowers
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 5:19 PM
Joined: 3/16/2011
Posts: 280

Some of my favorite cliches-

The prodigal son returns- The hero who has been away for years, but returns to take over the family estate/business/farm etc. I'm a sucker for that one.

The animal owner- The hero owns a dog/cat/horse etc.  Love that one.

Best left in the closet:

The tall, dark haired, blue eyed, brooding hero.  No more of these...please.

The womanizer who reforms- Sure, sleeping with half the women of New York City may give you experience, but there is still an 'ick' factor.

Kim Fry
Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 11:30 PM
Joined: 4/25/2013
Posts: 3

I'm kind of a sucker for the brooding, damaged men that are also strong in their own regard. Also, after reading JC's "Red Neck Train Wreck," I think the southern gentleman also.

What I don't like are the ones where you can guess the move sixteen chapters before it happens. "Oh, he's going to kiss her right after the rain dramatically pours  from the cloudless blue sky." Bingo.
Alexandria Brim
Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 1:28 AM
Joined: 10/20/2011
Posts: 353

I'm partial to the strong yet silent hero type.

To be kicked to the curb: "They're bickering. IT'S LOVE!" It's overused, in my opinion, and usually not done right. I often find myself rooting for the couple to kill each other, not end up happily ever after.
Joani Davis
Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013 12:01 AM
Joined: 4/3/2013
Posts: 20

My favorite cliche as far as males go is the alpha male with a bruised and tender heart.

Least favorite cliche are heroines that have been through a horrendous trauma of some kind but seem to blow off the after affects. They never cry, cling, or struggle. Superwomen. I want to see their struggle to overcome while at the same time bravely facing their future. Much more realistic.

C M Rosens
Posted: Thursday, May 9, 2013 11:02 AM
Joined: 5/8/2013
Posts: 25

I find that even with clichés I do like - the dominant brooding male
with a bad attitude e.g. - there isn't enough complexity or chemistry to
hold my attention. I got something like it once as a teen reading my
great-grandmother's racy Regency Mills & Boon romance. Can't
recall what it was called, but it was the only book to actually have
turned me on (although as a hormonal teenager that didn't really take a

It was your typical arranged marriage (well, advertised marriage - he advertised for a wife, she had a past she was running from, and so on) - he was brooding and facially disfigured, she was young and virginal, he was obviously not, and they got married first and then fell in love after, and the sex was an issue, but then they had sex, &c. &c. &c.

You get the picture. In fact "REGENCY" pretty much tells you the whole plot or what 3-4 variations to expect. And that's why Regency romances are awesome for when you want a formulaic, fun and racy read.

I think I'm a massive sucker for an antihero. I love men with huge flaws that are not always 100% fixable, and I like it when the couple overcome this with compromise - some things she just has to learn to live with and vice versa - rather than them "fixing" each other. I don't think that's very believable. Like Fifty Shades... I just wasn't convinced by the characters' psychology.

I also dislike the superwoman cliché, and women who are unaffected by negative things in their past. Some women are very sweet and naive, true, but they have all invariably lived a sheltered life. But - any woman who has undergone a personal trauma or trial MUST have some remnant of that in her personality, it must have shaped her in some way!

I also don't like how QUILTBAG romances are often relegated to subplots, or fetishised, or stereotyped. It seems that the erotic element overrides the character development in some cases.

TE Hauxwell
Posted: Friday, May 10, 2013 3:17 PM
Joined: 4/24/2013
Posts: 18

I'll second the prodigal son and the damaged hero as anyone who's read Busy My Heart will know. Freddy Verney is both.

Vampire erotica. I'm totally in the closet on this one...oh...wait. Damn.

Leave at the door:

The male adonis. Rippling abs and brooding eyes really don't work for me.

The wallflower / virgin longing to be deflowered. I have the t-shirt already, let's move on now please.

What I would like to see more of:

Romances between intellectual power couples, people doing great things in science, philosophy and maths having passionate, intense relationships. See this article by Alison Nastasi for some fantastic inspiration http://flavorwire.com/365909/the-love-stories-of-10-intellectual-power-couples

Alexander Hollins
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 6:42 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 416

MC's that tell each other what they want, and why, and don't dance around it. 

Leave behind, "Strong" women that run businesses, stamp their enemies into the ground, and then turn into mewling weak idiots when the hot guy treats them badly. "
Andrea Matthews
Posted: Friday, June 14, 2013 11:59 PM
Joined: 6/8/2013
Posts: 25

Hello all,
   I'm new around here and a bit nervous about posting, but here goes.
   Let's see, my favorite would be the hero who is strong and confident, but has a touch of vulnerability - a tender spot that keeps him from becoming too full of himself.
   Leave at the curb:  the whiny femme fatale who plays dumb or helpless.

Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2013 2:05 PM
My favorite romantic cliche is the last line in just about every carnival romance, when the season is over and all the rides and joints are packed up and returning to the barn for the winter. Recall Rhett Butler telling Scarlett O'Hara as he's leaving for good, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Well, the carny and his "old lady" have been a couple since leaving the barn last spring. Now with a cold wind of mid-October scattering the multicolored trash on the deserted midway, he, having with his crew of extra-help winos disassembled and packed the carousal on the West Coast Shows eighteen wheeler, looks out the window of the cab at the forlorn young woman huddled in her camouflaged serape and shouts, "I love you, honey, but the season's over!" He rumbles off in a flurry of blown midway sawdust. She watches after him for several long minutes, then, head bowed, shuffles off into the candy apple night.

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