Monday, October 3, 2022

Do Your Characters Belong Together?

I honestly don't know how many times I have read romances and wondered what these two saw in each other. Maybe it is just me. I do the same thing when I am at the mall, or out in public and really question that that couple saw in each other. I get it. I know romances are not just built around looks and romance is so much more, but still, one has to question. 

Since romance novels are all about the building of a romance, your two characters have to actually fit together. While I understand that many authors out there want to build their stories around the theme of "opposites attract" there still needs to be some commonality between the two of them. There also needs to be a reason that the two of them would really be in, essentially, the same room with each other and actually take notice of each other. 

I remember reading a story a long time ago about a heroine who was clearly modeled after a Paris Hilton style character. Socialite head to toe. If it wasn't Gucci, then it was trash. Honestly, we are talking way over the top. The hero was a nice guy, but a high school dropout, had been kicked out of the military and was now homeless. My first question was, how on earth did they meet? In the real world, even if he was homeless, there are certain portions of major cities where the homeless would not be on a daily basis. As for our socialite, she would probably have an entourage with her and be pretty isolated. The author decided to have her, on a whim, decide she wanted to work in a food kitchen. She was not forced to do this. Working there was not a publicity stunt. There wasn't even anything in her past life that would have motivated this. And yet, the author does this. Somehow, meeting over her serving food to the hero, they had this instant attraction. Sure, we would want this to happen, and it might mean that society is turning a page to a more hopeful and positive world, it is likely not going to happen. 

Consider a few other situations. In romantic suspense, the investigating detective is not going to become attracted to and start a relationship with the person he or she is investigating. Sorry, but this WILL cause the case to be thrown out. 

In the business world, if there is a not fraternization policy within the company, most would not even consider this, unless they truly hated their jobs and planned on leaving. This becomes even worse if it is a boss and someone working below them. 

Yes, I get that we are writing fiction, and yes, I get that in many cases, romances are "true fantasies" however, this fantasy world has to at least have one leg in the real world. If not, you will lose your readers really fast. 

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