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Thread: Taking too long to get to the love interest

  1. #1
    Impractical Fantasy Animal sunandshadow's Avatar
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    Taking too long to get to the love interest

    Just a little anecdote: Usually I'm on the side that a romance novel can take its time getting to the love interest, because I've hardly ever encountered a book where that was a serious problem. Yet this week by coincidence I ran into two romance novels (different authors) that seemed to take way too long to get to the hero. In both cases he didn't show up until more than 10% into the book, which corresponded to the 4th chapter in one and the 5th chapter in the other. In both cases when the hero did show up he was presented as mysterious and no insight into his thoughts was given. Perhaps in both cases the authors got a bit carried away with trying to keep secrets from the reader - that seems to be a common thing for writers to succumb to the temptation of in other areas, like plot and worldbuilding, so I can imagine how it might happen in the area of characterization too.

    I just mention it because this was a bit of an eye-opening experience for me. It felt like the books just couldn't carry their own weight when it was just the heroine encountering the initial problem and ensuing complications. I'm not sure if that's because I just didn't find either heroine to be that interesting, or if the writing was overall lacking in descriptiveness and didn't create immersion, or what. Maybe it wasn't a pacing problem at all, but instead the appearance of the love interests just added some pleasant romantic character interaction that distracted me from the books other problems.

  2. #2
    Paranormal Romance Author Laura HK's Avatar
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    Not everyone uses the 50/50 POV romance format. Although I'm like you and tend to like the ones where we're introduced to both characters in a timely fashion. That's why I have a really difficult time reading 1st POV romances--you only get one character's impressions.

    But the nice thing is that you can write what you like. So, I have both of my characters introduced with the first two chapters. This may not work for everyone!
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    Smutty McTitters Ann_Mayburn's Avatar
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    I really dig the hero's POV, to the point where I enjoy romance that is 80% hero's POV, 20% the chicks. The hero is the man I want to fall in love with so the better I know him the easier that is...if that makes any sense.

  4. #4
    Purple hair, not prose. VanessaNorth's Avatar
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    I agree Ann.

  5. #5
    All the world's a stage... Creative_Solitude's Avatar
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    I prefer writing from both the heroine and hero's POV and find stories from just one POV to be flat. Writing from both POVs allows for better character development, in my opinion.

    I like introducing the hero in the first chapter, that way the readers become familiar with him right away and gain insight into what he's all about.

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  6. #6
    Impractical Fantasy Animal sunandshadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laura HK View Post
    Not everyone uses the 50/50 POV romance format.
    I don't require the hero's POV to be shown, but if it's not I expect the heroine to be observant and perceptive about the hero's emotions as shown through facial expression, body language, tone of voice, etc. How is the reader supposed to get the idea that the hero is cool and important if the heroine doesn't even focus her attention on him enough to convey what his appearance and demeanor are like? Fortunately most books that only show the heroine's pov are better at this.

  7. #7
    Toughen up. gothicangel's Avatar
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    I recommend watching a film [it's French, so subtitled] that I saw last night at the cinema called 'Rust and Bone,' it's an amazing film/love story. The male leader is hyper-masculine, so you never really do know what he's thinking, all you have is performance.
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  8. #8
    Aye, ye scurvy dog! Sydneyd's Avatar
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    I like the hero and heroine to meet pretty early on. I think because I am picky about on page chemistry. I want to see it, feel it, taste it, want it. If I have to wait for it I 1. get antsy and 2. am upset when I finally get to it and it falls flat.

  9. #9
    To Live the Dream, Ya Gotta Feel It Rise2theTop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sydneyd View Post
    I like the hero and heroine to meet pretty early on. I think because I am picky about on page chemistry. I want to see it, feel it, taste it, want it. If I have to wait for it I 1. get antsy and 2. am upset when I finally get to it and it falls flat.
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  10. #10
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    In one of my WIPs (fantasy, not romance) the heroine is married and divorced within the first few chapters, and doesn't meet her real mate until 1/3 of the way through the book.

    In my m/m romance, the first guy already has a crush on the celebrity second guy, but doesn't meet him until chapter 5 or so.

    I tend not to write to formula, but I can see where readers might not want to have the love interest introduced too late.
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  11. #11
    figuring it all out
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunandshadow View Post
    I don't require the hero's POV to be shown, but if it's not I expect the heroine to be observant and perceptive about the hero's emotions as shown through facial expression, body language, tone of voice, etc. How is the reader supposed to get the idea that the hero is cool and important if the heroine doesn't even focus her attention on him enough to convey what his appearance and demeanor are like? Fortunately most books that only show the heroine's pov are better at this.
    .

    Thank you for posting this. I am currently re-writing my current wip because of significant head-hopping issues. I'm struggling to find a way to incorporate what I'm deleting within a scene, and yet still try to get the point across from both character's perspectives.
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  12. #12
    Angel Wing Fetish VoireyLinger's Avatar
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    I want an early meet and some insight into what both characters are going through. The first person and one POV romances I've read usually leave me wanting more. It just doesn't work for me.

    For me, a romance is about the relationship. There is no relationship if only the heroine is presented. In that case it's about a woman who goes on to meet a man (insert whatever gender and body count applies here), not about a couple.

  13. #13
    Impractical Fantasy Animal sunandshadow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gothicangel View Post
    I recommend watching a film [it's French, so subtitled] that I saw last night at the cinema called 'Rust and Bone,' it's an amazing film/love story. The male leader is hyper-masculine, so you never really do know what he's thinking, all you have is performance.
    See, that's really not my cup of tea. But it poses an interesting question for me to reflect on - do I dislike hypermasculine guys because they aren't communicative? Or do I dislike them because of the stereotype of their attitude, or do I dislike them because of their looks, or what?

  14. #14
    A newb in the fog Hildegarde's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VoireyLinger View Post
    I want an early meet and some insight into what both characters are going through. The first person and one POV romances I've read usually leave me wanting more. It just doesn't work for me.
    OT: Voirey - that is just the most beautiful cover (sigh).

    I can read first person and single POV, I don't think it necessarily means a lack of insight into the other person's thoughts if it is well done. But you are right, since the multiple POV model has become more popular, it is generally what I prefer. Ages ago, romance was almost completely from the heroines POV. I remember noticing the shift and loving it.

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  15. #15
    Super Procrastinator Kallithrix's Avatar
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    I remember reading somewhere (maybe it was submission guidelines for Mills & Boon, I can't recall) that the hero and heroine have to meet on the first page. That seemed a little too prescriptive and contrived to me. I think having them meet in the first chapter is a good idea, but I'm not gonna put a book down if they take a bit longer to bed the heroine in. I think 5 chapters is pushing it though.

    I don't have a problem with single POV romances, as that was more the norm when I started reading them back in the early 90s (mostly stolen from my mum's library book stack - without her knowledge, teehee). I'd rather have a single POV and be in the heroine's position of not knowing how the love interest really feels, than a really awful male POV that ruins either the characterisation of the love interest or the romantic tension.
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  16. #16
    Hopeful romantic/hopeless pedant ARoyce's Avatar
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    Hmm. I'm trying to recall if I've read any romances that take so long to introduce the hero or heroine. I don't think any have taken until chapter 5. So I would probably expect that the story show good reason for the delay.

    As a side note, in my current WIP, although the hero meets the heroine in the first chapter, he doesn't actually realize he's met Her until chapter 3 because of her various disguises.
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