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...;)
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!!!
Diana: Preferably with Kenneth Brannaugh as Benedict :)
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??