Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Twin Talk Tuesday

There's a great nutrition book out there called Eat This, Not That, where the author suggests healthier alternatives to classic items at fast food chains. For example: you have to have a burger? Get this one. Not the Double Whopper.

Well, what if there was a book like this for YA romances? We had to try it out. So today, we discuss some of the classic (and dramatically overdone) types of romance in YA books today, and suggest a more nutritious (and less cliche) variety.

Renee: Let's start by talking about Eternal-SoulMates-Love-at-First-Sight love. I'm sure we can all come up with a few examples of this?

Diana: Hmm . . . not really.

Renee and Diana: *laugh uproariously*

Renee: I mean, look, we all know why people do it. Cuz itz romantical.

Diana: Exactly. Plus, unless this is a straight romance, you have a separate plot to move along, and therefore a limited amount of time to establish a great love.

Renee: It's a fast and easy way to try and have the reader root for the main couple.

Diana: The problem is that this rarely happens in real life.

Renee: Except with me and my hubby

Diana: Oh, of course. :) So, you want the Soul Mate feel. What's a healthier, less cliche alternative?

Renee: What if the two characters are already friends? They know each other, understand each other. This gives the basis of "perfect match"ness.

Diana: Yes, and then there is that delicious moment when they realize they have something more.

Renee: Exactly! A moment that could even happen early on in the book, like InstaLove, but it's far more believable.

Diana: I think equally overused and tricky one to get right is the "I-hate-your-guts-until we-share-a-passionate-kiss-then-we-are-lovers" love

Renee: Yeah, equally tricky, and equally abnormal in the real world. I mean . . . nobody is really like that!

Diana: Except me and my hubby...;)

Renee: lol

Diana: This kind of romance often feels like another quick trick to manufacture tension.

Renee: What's our fresher take on the I hate you/ I love you romance?

Diana: Well, I think you could keep that tension of the people disliking each other, but then have something happen that shows a better side of the person. A moment that doesn't have anything to do with hotness or dreamy abs.

Renee: Yes. An "aha" moment that isn't "aha I'm attracted to you," but "aha, you're not as bad as I thought." And this leads to attraction. (And dreamy abs.)

Diana: Like Beatrice and Benedict!!!

Renee: Yes!

Diana: Preferably with Kenneth Brannaugh as Benedict :)

Renee: Mmmmmmmm-hm.

Diana: Okay, now the final overdone tension-maker: the Love Triangle.

Renee : dun dun DUN

Diana: Well, the love triangle actually has many different varieties, but all we see is the "MC chooses between Two Hotties" variety.

Renee: So true! Keep the triangle, but mix it up. How about "MC loves Hot Math Tutor, but he loves the redheaded Next Door Neighbor, and meanwhile Hot Lacrosse Player loves MC, but she's unsure how she feels about him?" It's a love triangle, and therefore it has the same kind of tension.

Diana: Even more, I think!

Renee: I do two. The options are endless.

So there it is. If you really love the basic idea of Soul Mates, Love Triangles, and the Love you/Hate you romance, don't despair! You can still have it! Just write this, not that. ;)

And now, we're going to throw one at you guys.

The milquetoast Bad Boy.

Who we are told over and over again is Teeeee-rouble, but around the MC he acts more like a smitten golden retriever/ Sir Walter Raleigh-putting-his-cloak-over-the-puddle-for-the-Queen-to-walk-over type of guy.

How do we make him fresher? Any ideas??


Miriam Forster said...

More backstory is my favorite way to do that.

I think of PERFECT CHEMISTRY, which sadly I've only read the first part of. But the romantic lead in that one is definitely a bad boy; he's got plenty of attitude and rudeness and he's in a gang. But because you see his family life right away and understand why he's made some of his choices, his inevitable softening doesn't come across as cliche.

Candice said...

Just call your milquetoast bad boy The Scarlet Pimpernell and then have him played by Anthony Andrews (thirty years ago). Wala the perfect milquetoast/fop love interest.

As for the first one, the friend/aha moment love. That is me and my husband. Therefore I think it's the best type of romance.

And, in my humble opinion, Beatrice and Benedict got together because of the conniving of their friends (another good romantic plot device). Granted, the friend's conniving did give them the opportunity to see them in a different light. All I know is that Much Ado About Nothing might be the best comedy/romance ever written.

Kasie West said...

lol I loved how you guys talked about how the love triangle shouldn't be about looks and then you were like, 'and it should be played by that yummy guy.' That was funny. It made me laugh.

Bad boy needs a backstory to be an acceptable bad boy. I kind of think of Darcy as a bad boy, but then we realize she's just misjudged him. We've seen him through her eyes, in other words. So maybe have another character in the book talk about bad boy with MC and MC is like, 'are we talking about the same guy?' And then we realize that a lot of her interpretation of him is her own issues coming out.

That's the best I got.

Renee Collins said...

Miriam-Very, very good point. We need to see WHY he's a bad boy. And frankly, learning his background, his challenges in life would make him more likeable to me. Though it's not secret I'm not a fan of the traditional bad boy.

Candice-Ah yes, the Scarlet Pimpernell. A perfect character. :)

And you're right about Beatrice and Benedict. It may not have been the best example, but it just comes into my head, because it IS the best. Like, ever.

Kasie- lol, you caught us in an inconsistency. Won't be the last time, I imagine. :)

But you have some very good points about the fresh twist on bad boy. Make him the "misunderstood" boy. As in, the MC reads him wrong. That's perfect!

TRAVELS said...

Excelent blog!!