In the spirit of the Holiday, I figured I should write something about love.
Well, my approach is not very warm and fuzzy, but I’m writing about it anyway. So here are 5 Lame Love Stories to Avoid, even in the least romantic stories.
5. The Love Triangle
This has been talked about before, I know. You’ve probably heard the saying, “Three is company”? Well, it is. You know, we’re all really tired of reading about perfect Jane and how much Bob and Harry both love her. One of those poor guys is going to be disappointed, and half the fandom will ship JaneBob regardless of whether she ends up with him or not. So just avoid the division in the first place and save yourself the embarrassment of writing a love triangle.
4. Bad Boy Transformation
He’s got tattoos all over his arms and a dark, brooding past. He’s quiet. He hates everyone- except one special person that captures his heart, and all of sudden Mr. Evil becomes the protective and compassionate lover of Main Female Character. I’m talking to you, FourTris.
You know, if a guy is absolutely horrid to everyone around him except one pretty girl, that’s not love. That’s definitely a problem. If they can’t love other people or even show them respect, how are they going to show the MC love or respect?
Bad boys are definitely interesting and normally portrayed as super-attractive. But don’t sacrifice moral qualities for interesting naughty streaks.
3. The “Just Friends” Relationship
GAAAH. Can I ever express how annoying this is? John and Mary have been friends since childhood. John went off to college and Mary stayed home. SUDDENLY, they are reunited by a twist of fate! And miraculously, John turned into Clark Kent and Mary blossomed into a gorgeous flower of beauty. And they realize… they’ve ALWAYS loved each other.
No. As a writer, the least you can do is have people acknowledge that they find the other person attractive before suddenly having them fall in love.
2. Love at First Sight
A Disney classic, Love at First Sight is the heart-fluttering all-consuming life-altering chance meeting in the woods that changes everything for the princess (or, uh… female main character). You know, I’m having trouble distinguishing True Love from True Attraction. It only takes one stinkin’ second to find someone incredibly attractive, but CHOOSING to love someone even more than you love yourself DOES NOT happen in seconds, or days, or even weeks. It’s a lifetime commitment sort of thing.
1. Made for Each Other
I’m all for couples being compatible. But no two people are flawless, and their differences are going to create friction in the relationship. As a reader, I don’t want to see two people who think exactly alike, and have the same ideas at the same time, and agree about every little thing. If Craig and Elizabeth both want spaghetti for dinner, you’ve missed a great opportunity, not only for comedy but also for interesting situations. What if Craig hated spaghetti? What if he’d been planning on having salmon all day, and when Elizabeth starts making pasta it just really irritates him? What if- *GASP*- they had to actually WORK at their relationship, no matter how much they loved each other? One of the best screen couples I can think of as an example is Bob and Helen Parr. They both have very different thought processes, but they work together as a team. Regardless of their differences, they choose to love each other and do what’s right.
With all these problems I’ve pointed out you may be thinking I’d like to skip romance altogether. You’d be wrong there. I’m all for love stories when they’re done the right way. As it is, my own story has its share of romance, and I’m working hard at avoiding pretty much every single one of these Lame Love Stories. So don’t let this discourage you from writing romance- hopefully, it will encourage you to write even better.
Happy Valentines Day, and keep writing.