Let’s cut right to the chase: New Adult Romance. If I see another generic cover with some random brown-haired guy almost kissing some random girl (of any hair color, but to be honest, they all look the same)…well, there is no good way to end this sentence. I’ve read a LOT of historical romance, folks. And I don’t have a single book on my shelf that has people canoodling each other on the (front) cover. Definitely, sometimes, on the inside cover, but not the front. Because I won’t pick up books like that. Because it gets OLD. I see a lot of covers sometimes, and I really can’t be sure if the vast majority aren’t the exact same book.
Maybe that’s standard for the contemporary romance genre. Maybe that’s why I don’t read it anymore. Formulaic covers. Formulaic books. Formulaic myself when I wrote them. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t like romance. I LOVE romance. Well, let me restate that: I love romantic elements. If that’s the only point of the story, to get character A with character B, then I’m bored. In historical romance, yeah, that’s half the story, but the other half is the dark count/baron/nobleman/pirate coming to terms with his dark, dark past to make him emotionally available to that hot ass lady he’s trying not to bite. And the lady? She has her own issues to deal with, anything from a dying relative to starving siblings to a reputation in tatters to an abusive husband she really needs to get away from! Not to mention she also has to deal with brooding guy’s crap.
Yeah, they also get together or work their issues out or whatever, but there’s so much else going on and that’s just so much more exciting than A & B getting together being the only point of the story. It’s so…formulaic. They meet. They fight. They make up and live happily ever after. It’s why I stopped watching romantic comedies. I just got so tired of it.
I wrote this story a couple of falls ago, How Deep Is My Darkness, probably the biggest romantic subplot I’ve ever had. It was a bit of a challenge, but I LOVE their relationship and how it builds and how perfect they are together, just perfect. ^_^ But there came a point in my story where they were fighting and he wanted to run off to spare her extra pain because his crap was making it worse, and I stopped him. I didn’t meet my word count goal because of this, but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t have him run off and then have her track him down and blah, blah, blah. I had enough of their crap to deal with in the story without adding that cliche tumble of crap.
Maybe that was a mistake. I just know how I feel when I read that. I feel sick. And annoyed. And I want to throw something. So I had her stop him. And he stayed. And I didn’t make my word count. And I was mad about that. But I was happy I didn’t have to deal with it. My sometimes ho-hum feelings about that story have nothing to do with their relationship. That’s the only thing about that story that I always love. The two of them. They make me happy, and I hope I can duplicate that in another story someday. Not that I shelved that story. I just kind of look at it and wonder if it’s fixable or if I’m stuck with it the way it is. Maybe I just wrote a good story. Good, not great. I guess that’s okay. I can’t really find anything wrong with it. Except that maybe I find parts of the plot a little silly.
I digress. I meant to rant about contemporary romance covers. Then again, I’m not really the target audience since I don’t really gravitate to those kinds of stories. I guess the people who love those stories expect a certain formula and a certain cover on the book. I just don’t get why they don’t ever want something different. (In general, I do know some people think outside of the proverbial box.)
My favorite historical romance cover has a key on the front. There’s just the one cover – no inside cover with a girl hottie in a flowing dress and corset or a dude hottie with his barrel chest out. There is just an old, antique key and a ribbon – neither have anything to do with the story, by the way. Not that I care. I have a thing for old, antique keys. Like, a big thing. Which is why I picked up the book. That was a good book. I read it when I was 13.
Yes, I know this is horribly random. ^_^