Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Romance Formulas

Happy September, everyone! Autumn is approaching (not fast enough for me), the MLB races are heating up, a three-day weekend approaches, and kids will soon be back in school. These are all good things! And speaking of the upcoming holiday weekend, I'm hosting a Blog Party over at "Just add coffee" starting on Saturday to celebrate the release of my new novel, Client Privileges, from Torquere Press. Stop by and check it out!

On to today's topic. I see that Marty and I are on similar thematic wavelengths this week. I've been pondering lately the different formulas for romance stories. There are a lot of them out there. Marty talked about friends-to-lovers. There's also enemies-to-lovers; the forced or accidental marriages where one or both have been duped into it; the slow-burns; the fiery passions; the forbidden love that must overcome; the reunions; the flings that unexpectedly grow into love; and a bunch more that escape me at the moment. There's something to like about each of these, and there's something annoying about each of them, too. I find I like to write flings or dalliances, which over time become something more. (Maybe that's because it means I can get to the "action" that much quicker.) And I find I'm not a big fan of love-at-first sight stories because too often I find that the author's chosen conflict, although necessary to create a complete story, just doesn't fly for me. But the fact is they are all standard formulas because they work. You don't have to be a Barry Manilow fan to recognize that he as a musical formula that just plain works, you know what I mean?

So, how about you? Do you have a favourite, or least favourite, romance formula? Are there authors who write certain formulas particularly well, but you don't necessarily like when they write a different one? (It's okay. You don't have to name names if you don't want to. ;-) ) Are there formulas you always go for or ones you simply won't read? Here's your chance to plug what you love and slam what you hate. I'm curious to hear it all!


K.A. Mitchell said...

It's funny how much we are all on the same wavelength because I was just thinking about how I dismiss a setting or formula in my head and then end up loving the book. Of course, a good writer can make me love anything. I have an obvious passion for reunion romances, but I also love the forbidden fruit and the fling to something more, and the forced together under extreme circumstances.

Maia Strong said...

Oo! I'd forgotten the "forced together under extreme circumstances" formula. I quite like that one, as well. The stakes are automatically so high, it can be a great ride.

Tam said...

There's not much I don't care for. Military not so much because I get frustrated with the don't ask don't tell or we'll get our asses kicked theme. Okay, in general that "we'll get beat up if anyone finds out we're gay" theme annoys me.

But insta-love drives me around the bend. Yes, you can fall in lust in 4.3 seconds, easy peasy but love? Come on. How do you know the guy isn't a disgusting slobby hoarder who kills kittens for fun? You're in a bar or having sex in a back alley, you CAN NOT BE IN LOVE! I can live with it in a paranormal setting to a point but just in general? Nope, sorry, doesn't work.

But that's also something you can't tell from a blurb. It can happen in any story in any context and until it hits you in the face you don't know it's coming.

Maia Strong said...

Word to that! How is it some authors so easily confused lust and love? I hope they don't have that trouble in RL! :-S

Amie said...

Prsnly, I hate the HEA that morphs into a sequal with a break-up and another HEA with someone else. I know it happens in RL, but I won't read about it.

I'm not fond of the manly-man/girly-man I'm helpless stories.

Maia Strong said...

It's hardly an HEA if it dissolves in the next book, yes. Strikes me as a bit of a cheat.

I don't like helpless characters of any type, so I'm with you there!

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