Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! Hence another themed post for today—this time a discussion… about romance. Hey, what can I say? I like to get in the spirit of things! (…When I’m not being a sour lemon, that is. Which I like to think is not often, but I guess I’m kind of biased.)
So, it’s been incredibly clear, throughout the Young-Adult genre, romance is definitely one of the most common components. Am I right? Come on, you kind of have to admit it. For every one book without romance, there’s like, 20+ that have it. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. But I’ll be leaving the pros and cons of having romance in books for a discussion on another day. Today, I was thinking more along the lines of what makes a good romance. There’s so much romance in our books these days, why not talk about the ones that we love? Get comfy, and let’s babble!
*Clears throat* Ahem. There are a few things a good romance should and should not be, in my opinion. And, because it would be the most efficient way for me to share them with you, let me list them!
The things that make a good romance (in my humble opinion):
- They (usually) take us on some kind of adventure. And I don’t mean, an action-filled war and battle kind of adventure (although I suppose it could be). It could be as simple as conflict that prevents a couple from getting together, or an obstacle that the characters need to overcome, you know? (Although when you think about the conflict or obstacles aren’t exactly ‘simple’ but you know what I mean.) A romance—unless we’re talking about insta-love, I guess—should have the emotions, and obstacles that comes with falling in love, and that in turn becomes our little ‘adventure’, don’t you think?
- A good romance makes us feel things. No duh! There’s little point to a romance, to be honest, if the readers aren’t able to connect or feel things for the romance. Whether it makes us laugh, squeal or fan ourselves, there should be at least a semblance of feels involved! And admit it, the emotions we go through when reading romance are one of the best parts of the whole experience. It shouldn’t be limited to only one kind of romance either! Be it a sweet romance, a steamy romance, or a slow-burn, let’s bring on the emotions! Yes, please.
- They focus on character personalities, not only hotness level. Ever read those books where, say, the girl falls for the attractive, mysterious and moody, oh, and did I mention attractive, love interest? Uh yeah, you must have. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, nor that these kind of books aren’t good books. BUT for me, a romance is worth more and holds a bit more value and emotional investment, when I can see a character’s, well, character, not only attractiveness. Like, okay, I get he/she’s hot. Anything else? ‘Cause if not, well.. no offense, but you ain’t anything special. But having said that, that’s not always the case!
- Doesn’t overwhelm the plot. This doesn’t exactly apply to romance novels, seeing how the focus of romance novels is, the romance. But in genres such as fantasy, dystopia, sci-fi, etc, I’d prefer it if romance doesn’t, like, take up the whole plot—when it’s not what I’m there for, you know? That isn’t to say that books that do have romance-focused plots are bad, but it’s just that sometimes the romance can become slightly too distracting and does more harm than good, if you know what I mean (especially if it detracts from the purpose of the story).
- A good romance usually has enjoyable characters. Whether characters determine the level of enjoyability (yes, that is a word now) for every romance is hard to say, but just as it’s hard to like a story without liking the characters, it’s hard to like a romance without liking the characters involved in the romance, no? Of course this means that some readers might enjoy a romance based on the characters whereas another reader might not, so I suppose it’s kind of difficult to judge whether ALL ‘good’ romances have to have enjoyable characters. Because it’s also possible that a reader ends up liking a romance despite not being a fan of the characters. It’s not common, but it’s possible!
- They usually have satisfying resolutions. Ahhhh isn’t it just the worst when you feel as if the romance is ruined because of how it ended? Whether it be that the characters didn’t end up getting together, or a character died, or something..? Or perhaps the character got together with the person you didn’t want he/she to be with? I don’t know, I’m kind of just listing possibilities. But still. When the ending is ruined, it often feels as if the romance was ruined too, hence why happy endings are most common with romance novels. That isn’t to say you can’t have a good romance without a happy endings, but… happy endings are happy endings! They’re happy and that’s what most people look for.
Basically, at the end of the day, I just want to enjoy romance, and be able to connect with a story and its characters. Romance is often used as a device to rend the story more interesting—and I guess that’s what I look for in a good romance; entertainment. (And of course, another opportunity to ship bookish characters…As if I didn’t have enough ships already, oops.)