Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Analysis of a Romance Novel: An experiment

This comes from a discussion online where we asked each other how we rated books - were we too easy? I figured out since I started blogging my reviews, I have rated 75% of the books as 4 or 5 stars!

So I'm developing a checklist. Well, it's more tongue in cheek - I mean, how can you relegate the way you FEEL about a book to words in a checklist?

But here is my first attempt:

The time period was:
Contemporary but older (like 80s or 90s)
Contemporary – TODAY sorta
Medieval/Renaissance – old
Historical – 100 - 200 or so years ago
Historical – 50 - 100 or so years ago
Paranormal – who knows what year??

The Heroine was:
Smart
Beautiful
Not physically beautiful
Tall
Short
Thin
Fat
Red-head/auburn
Blonde
Brunette/chestnut
Black hair
Plucky
Hoyden/tomboy
Curvy
Flat/skinny
Career woman
SAHM
15-20 years old
21-29 years old
30 – 39 years old
40+??
Virgin
Widowed/divorced
Jaded
Naïve
Too Stupid To Live
Someone I would like
Someone I wouldn't even talk to
incredibly rich
Lived at the mercy of some rich relative
Dirt poor

The Hero was
Over 6 feet tall
Incredibly hunky
Scarred
Blond
Red-headed
Black hair
Brunette/brown
Someone I'd let in the bed
Blue eyed
Green eyed
Gray eyed
Trained in rescue-type things (cop, SEAL, spy)
Ordinary, next door guy
Tough but lovable
Too Stupid To Live
someone who refused to commit until he met heroine…
Looking for a wife/lover
Someone who had a bad experience with mother/former girlfriend
Someone who grew up with a bunch of sisters
Raised on the streets or foster home
Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound
Prone to giving multiple orgasms before finishing himself
a virgin until…
A father
a man with a strict code of honor (that did not include not ravishing the virgin heroine)
A Scot. Nuff said.
A condom user
Incredibly rich
Dirt poor
Some English title, can't remember which one though
Older than the heroine
Younger – a lot! – than the heroine (yippee)
A vampire
A were-something
Not human
Endowed – overly – really
Alpha
Beta
Gamma
Pie

Their relationship:
Was completely credible, and touching
Smokin' - man, the chemistry made the pages curl
Yeah, right, as if those two would ever hit it off...
Well, I wouldn't have paired them myself, but the author made it work

It took place in:
England/Scotland/Ireland/Wales
America/Canada
Some Central/South American/Caribbean country
Europe
Some country that either doesn't exist or I can't find it on a map
An alternate reality – no Such Place
On the sea/on a ship
Other: Please list _________

The Plot was:
Typical – boy meets girl, there was a credible obstacle, they lived HEA
Suspensful – I didn't guess the villain!
Mostly suspense but there was a nice HEA anyway
A twist on a fairy tale
Opposites attract
Forced or arranged marriage
Heroine passed as a boy; hero thought he was turning gay
The Secret Baby plot, mixed with a Big Misunderstanding
Just a Big Misunderstanding all around
Hero or heroine returns to the hometown, meets old love, rekindles
Hero or heroine moves to a small town, fits in & finds love
An alternate reality that worked
A different world I think but was too confused to be sure

The Plot:
Did not work for me
Worked perfectly
Worked in spite of how stupid it was
Was incredibly funny, on purpose
Was hysterical but the author didn't write it as humor
Caused me to sleep with the lights on for 2 days after reading
Had me fanning myself constantly –whew!

The Villain:
No real villain, unless you count the nosy neighbor
Was really creepy
Was cardboard/2 dimensional
Ended up being nice
Ends up as the hero in the sequel
Dies a violent death
Doesn't get caught

The secondary couple/romance:
Worked perfectly for me
Stole the show – who cares about the origin H/H?
Were sorta creepy actually
Made a nice contrast to the story
Were completely superfluous

The story contained these elements:
A notable pet
A cute precocious kid
A typically rotten teen with a heart of gold
A car (or horse) that was (almost) as important as the H/H
Too many references to brand-names

The sex was:
Graphic and plentiful
Just hinted at, tastefully
Worked in at just the right moments
Every 2 pages – weren't they sore?
Unusual... hmmm...
Not Human

The epilogue:
Tied it all up nicely for me
Made me throw the book at the wall – gimme an effing break, author!
No epilogue

When I finished the book I felt:
Afterglow – I had to just sit and grin for 10 minutes
"Thank gawd that is over and I can relist it at PBS"
WTF? That was the end?
Like the H/H would truly be HEA
Like the H/H would be at divorce court in 5 years
Like calling Barnes & Noble and asking for a refund

There. Maybe that will help someone analyze how they felt about a book.

And I'm not sure I can actually copyright a list, but just in case - I MADE THIS ALL UP MYSELF and hereby claim the copyright, © 2008. Heh heh. Just kidding. Sorta.

2 comments:

Heather said...

hahaha, great check list.

Cindy W said...

You should SO copyright that, I loved it! Add the Powder Donut under hero. (The man COULD NOT get kicked out of bed for eating a powdered donut- a hotness rating) Wallah!