Romance novels are the most popular in self-publishing. There is an estimated $1.08 billion in romance sales per year. Self-published authors can make serious money writing romance novels. Romance readers are fiercely dedicated to their genre, but one thing is for sure: if you rely on romance cliches, you won’t get very far. Here are seven romance cliches to avoid when writing romance novels.
1. First cliche to avoid when writing romance novels? The perfect guy/girl
No one’s perfect! So why would you make your characters perfect? Too often, to create a beautiful love story, writers will rely on perfection. If they create a character so perfect, then their readers will simply have to love that character, and, therefore the book. But this can feel like a cop out. It’s a cheap trick to pull. Allow your characters to have flaws, allow them to make mistakes. Lively, realistic characters can make for a stronger book. Need help creating such characters? Read this blog.
2. Love at first sight
Like mimicking real characters, your story should also mimic real life (yes, even if it’s a fantasy novel). Therefore, employing the love at first sight cliche won’t fly here. Of course, characters can like each other or be attracted to each other at first sight, but love at first sight just isn’t realistic. It’s something your readers won’t be able to relate to, and a stronger emotional connection to a book, and therefore author, comes through relatability. Let your characters fall for each other naturally. Going straight for love at first sight definitely makes it easier on you, but a good writer should be able to craft a love story that takes time.
3. No plot.
Too often, the romance becomes so focused on that the plot suffers. Your book should still be about something. It’s okay to make their love a central focus, but there needs to be rising action, climax, declining action, and a resolution. Something needs to happen. Don’t get so lost in the romance. If you need further help with writing a plot, consult this blog.
4. The girl makes some unlikeable guy loveable
If you’re a fan of romance novels, then you’ve probably seen this one in action. The hero of the story is a jerk: he’s selfish, conceited, and not well liked. The heroine, however, sees something in him that others don’t. He’s nice to her, but only her. This is a tired trick in romance novels. Creating an unlikeable character is never a good idea.
5. The evil other woman
Again, a tired trick. Too often authors will rely on the drama offered up by a crazed woman scorned. But this is just a sad cliche. Dig a little deeper to find the tension in your story. Don’t create flimsy characters that perpetuate bad stereotypes of women.
6. The dying hero/heroine
Let’s let this cliche die (pun intended). A lot of romance novels have employed this: the hero and heroine finally get together, only to be torn apart, because, surprise! One of them is dying. While it can evoke a lot of emotion, it’s also sometimes wildly unnecessary. Don’t kill off your characters too soon. You can write them better endings. They deserve that.
7. The love triangle
Romance novels have been finding their tension in love triangles for years. Love triangles pull the reader in two different directions, and, if not executed well, can sometimes hurt the story more than they help. They can feel flimsy and unnecessary.
The bottom line? Don’t simply throw in these motifs to give your story a cutting edge. Relying on these cliches may seem like they make it easier to write the book, perhaps, but it could be the detriment of your story.