The other day I was thinking about what I like in books.
I like a good rescue fantasy. The woman is in jeopardy, the man is all muscles and brute protection. She's intelligent, but at her wits end, everywhere she turns is a dead end, everyone she turns to lets her down . . . then the hero swoops in, observes her agony, and finds a way to fix it.
Of course, along the way she finds a way to save him too, but it's usually from some emotional trauma. Sound just like Romantic Suspense, doesn't it? But then, Romantic Suspense really doesn't do it for me.
That's because I find RS tends to lean heavily towards the S and less towards the R. I try to read mysteries to expand my reading vocabulary. Straight mysteries do it differently. There's a lot of meandering. Someone dies, someone cares. They drop a clue here and there, talk about the weather and the setting of every room. Secrets are unraveled, red herrings are tossed around like pretzels (Go with it. In my world, pretzels get tossed.) and in the last ten pages, it all comes together, makes sense, and a bad guy is captured.
The thing is, RS often tries to follow the same blueprint. But that blueprint doesn't work for a romance. Romance needs plot. Those random red herrings and weather-laden meanderings are an irritant in a romance. They waste my time when my eager eyes could be lapping up some sexual tension or my brain could be soaking in some character development.
Instead we get odd motivations from distracting side characters, or the murder's POV. This is a romance people. I don't wanna get the icks. I don't wanna learn how the bad guy got so twisted, I want to see the hero and heroine work out their personal issues on the page, not chase idiotically after a sociopath. Call the damn police!
But you know, if those authors changed the focus of that same scene from catching the bad guy to the couple protecting each other, or from ever more implausible plot twists to the couple building a team together, I'd be SO all over it.
Is it too much to ask for a romantic suspense author who isn't afraid of the mushy stuff?
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Comps vs influences
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