Twisting Things You Hate

4 May

There are things we all hate when reading. Some are as big as an entire trope, some are as small as little character pet peeves, but no matter the “size”, it ruins the read because we hate it.

One of mine is the “make the other guy the villain” ending.

What’s that, Bria? I hear you asking.

I love books where the heroine (or hero, but let’s keep this simple) has to make a choice between two great guys, or a guy she’s always cared for and a new guy who sweeps her off her feet. Between loyalty and the new love… etc.

That is such a great struggle. So many questions to ask. Am I just excited by something new and this will fade? Does loyalty fall into this? Which love will endure? And so many more. So, when you get toward the end of the book and Secondary Hero Guy goes from being great to suddenly being the villain OR to magically losing his temper and emotionally abusing the heroine, I’m always like W.T.Heck???

The first reason for this reaction is that I hate when everything magically changes and the man you loved for 320 pages suddenly takes the heroine hostage while holding up her father’s bank and stealing candy from small children… Well OF COURSE she’s not going to choose him now. Um, duh. End of conflict.


When the heroine really can’t choose but loyalty (to him, to family, to tradition, etc) all has her going with that long-time love and then POW he’s suddenly yelling at her about what a *fill-in-the-blank-for-the-story* she is…. Oh, wow. Wrong choice. But luckily she’s able to go to the Hero and tell him she made a mistake and be with him forever. End of conflict, again, duh.

I hadn’t realized how much this bothered me until I read a couple books in the last few months like that. I think it truly steals from the romance when there isn’t REALLY a choice. Why write a choice that isn’t real?

Then, someone pointed out, I had done the exact opposite with my book (if by any chance you’re looking forward to reading my book when it hopefully comes out in oh… 2 years… stop reading. Really? No one? Okay, don’t say you weren’t warned.)

In my current manuscript (the one I sent back to TAA last week) there’s a reverse of that. The loyalty-love is a guy undeserving of the heroine’s affections. It’s clear from the beginning she’s “with” the wrong guy. The right guy has no problem actually pointing this out to her (which, of course, earns him no points)… but, as we near the end, things start to change. Loyalty-love guy begins to grow and change. He’s shown through outside events what he’s doing to his own life and the heroines. So, when the choice comes, it’s actually a choice now where it wouldn’t have been at the beginning of the book… Well, it may have been, but it would have been Stupid Girl Choice.

Vicarious Writing Girl came to visit me this week and during our 8 hours in the car for a mini-road trip, we discussed this and some other great “isn’t it fun when they do things backwards” and “I always hated those, but if you do it this way” stories and found that there are a lot of winners out there!

And so, I challenge you: Tell me some story plot/device you hate and a book that flips it OR how you could flip it!

4 Responses to “Twisting Things You Hate”

  1. postcardproject2010 May 4, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

    Bria- I stopped reading because I don’t want to be spoiled! Looking forward to finding out who she chooses!!!!

  2. briaq May 4, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    Smart Alec – you’ve already READ this book LOL

  3. Trinity Faegen May 5, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    Okay, A) Not boring. Your critic gets no cookie.
    and B) I TOTALLY know what you mean and I hate that, too! Also hate when Guy #2 (or #1, depending on storyline) is a total tool and we know it but the heroine doesn’t. She defends him, misses the boat when he kicks puppies and hates on babies, and we’re supposed to be all, “Oh noes! She’s going to pick The Tool instead of The Hero!” I never believe it, and don’t like the heroine for being so clueless.
    Not saying it can’t work – but it’s a tough one to pull off and make it believable.
    From a writing standpoint, the best way to pull off Which One Will She Choose? is if you don’t know for sure. Make them both awesome, and keep the reader, and yourself, wondering. The drawback: If your series gets canned before you write the last book and reveal who she chose, your readers will be mad at you forever.
    Also, any idea who’d like to buy the final book in a love triangle series that Silhouette Bombshell left hanging? I happen to have one…

  4. briaq May 5, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    Ohhhhh I *HATE* when that happens too. I make up little stories in my head for that last poor guy. Otherwise, because he didn’t get his own book I have this horrible feeling he’ll be alone for the rest of his life just kind of being the standing in uncle to all the other heroes kids 😦 poor last hero!

    Thanks for telling me I’m not boring 😉

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