Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Tried To Read A Romance...


I came across a romance novel in the library last week and decided to give it a try. The cover was attractive (no ripped bodice or washboard abs) and the first page showed promise. The last time I attempted to read a romance was 1994. I had just met the author so I bought one of her books. The first page was horrendous, so I closed the book and I have no idea where that book got to.

The book I picked up last week is Dangerous, by Diana Palmer. The whole first chapter is blatant exposition. For those who don't know what that means, exposition is the "telling" of backstory rather than "showing." (Major rule of writing: Show, don't tell.) In this case, characters are having conversations in which they are telling each other things that they both already know. This is a weak device for getting across backstory. I could have tolerated it if there was a half page or less of it, but it went on and on and on and on.

I kept reading (sort of like watching a NASCAR race to see who crashes and burns first) because I kept telling myself that I should give it a chance. Along about page 50 we got our first intimate scene where the enigmatic cowboy kisses the shy girl, only he doesn't just kiss her, he "ground his mouth into hers."

It's hard to laugh out loud and gag at the same time.

When I got to the next page, where he is being manly and she is being meek and submissive, I slammed the book shut and tried to get the contamination off my favorite bookmark.

This book was so badly written, it's hard to believe that Publisher's Weekly said, "Palmer demonstrates, yet again, why she's the queen of desperado quests for justice and true love." The publishing industry must have very low standards for romance writers, and what does that say about the readers who are addicted to romance novels?

It boggles the mind.

1 comment:

Lene Andersen said...

it all depends on he author - some are better than others and actually is quite a lot of really good writing in the genre. There's also an awful lot of awful writing and some of the accepted phrases used for kissing and sex are decidedly florid.

Try Fast Women by Jennifer Cruisie. Lots of fun.