If you do a web search for romance novel clichés the interweb will spit back pages and pages of blog posts devoted to the topic. They are all the same; a breakdown of common clichés found in romance novels, often with witty descriptions of said clichés and all the reasons why they should no longer be used and author blogs often devoted to avoiding the “cliché pit fall”. In fact, the fact that I am writing this post is rather a cliché itself.
So, why all the antipathy towards the cliché? This is something I asked myself as I began writing this post. Whatever the genre, there are only so many plot lines to go around; but these tropes are what make genre fiction what it is. For this reason, in regards to genre fiction, cliché snobs irritate me. It is the responsibility of the author to transform these clichés into something worth reading. I don’t know about you, but when I pick up my newest “Duke marries actress and they live happily ever after” book I am not looking for the next great American novel. This, I think is the answer to my question; too many readers want to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. These books are for pure entertainment; they don’t, as a rule, contribute to society in any meaningful way.
I for one like the predictability of a Regency romance novel; after all, I named this blog Wonderfully Vapid Romance for a reason. When I get home from work I want to open up a book that is an old friend that I know well and doesn’t mind if I make a fool out of myself in front of it. To me, romance novels are relaxation and an escape from my rather boring job as a medical file clerk. I want to select the trope that suites my mood, and thoroughly enjoy the cliché.
My ingredients for a good romance novel are: An alpha male, a relatable heroine, insert desired trope here, 2.5 sex scenes, a happily ever after ending and bonus points for an epilogue showing the happy couple with two kids, one on the way and a dog playing in the background. I will admit some of these books are not worth the paper they are printed on; however; every now and again I find one worth its weight in gold and the vast majority fall somewhere in the middle.
So, stop harping on the romance novel cliché, they have been around since Jane Austin published her second book and probably longer! Instead read from another genre or grab a classic novel; this will work until the realization hits you that even a classic has its clichés.