Romance Fail #1: Lust as Plot Engine

Romance lesson the first: Lust-at-first-sight is not a convincing plot catalyst.

I’m reading a book that shall remain unnamed (but is visible on my GoodReads widget) in which man meets woman, man decides he “wants” woman, and crazy hijinks ensue. Of course there’s more to the plot than that, but that is the basis of the romantic relationship in this book.

As reader, I am expected to believe that a reasonable man, one I am presumably supposed to LIKE as a protagonist, can decide he must have a woman and then act like a gorilla in mating season until he gets her.

I am not impressed.

This is a similar flaw to “lust as chemistry” and “lust as defining character trait.” Neither of these sell me on a man or a woman as a main character. If we’re reading a love story, we need some reason to want these characters to get together. If we just wanted to scratch an itch, we’d eat a candy bar. There’s not enough conflict without some driving force behind the “want,” some desire to know or understand the other person.

Therefore I say, you need more to make a romance interesting than lust.

So speaketh Kristin.

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2 thoughts on “Romance Fail #1: Lust as Plot Engine

  1. So true. A related pet peeve of mine is when characters meet each other and have such a strong attraction right off the bat that, seemingly through willpower alone, they develop a relationship so strong it can last ages (sometimes forever). Insta-love is not a real thing.

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