How to Ruin a Romance in 5 Easy Steps

Are you tired of nobody reading your high falutin articles? Frustrated because people aren’t taking your Important Literary Opinions seriously?

Have you tried Ruining Romance?

Ruining Romance is a time-honored, cost-effective way to gain acclaim for yourself and your superior literary talents. Nothing says “I Am a Serious Writer” more than throwing sand in the faces of Serious Writers Who Are Doing It Wrong. Except, maybe, writing your own stuff. But why do that when you can Ruin Romance in a fraction of the time?

Simply by following these five quick, easy steps, you’ll be able to Ruin Romance with your very own self-aggrandizing clickbaity thinkpiece, guaranteed to earn you respect and admiration, or at least a lively comments section – which is pretty much the same thing.

Step 1: Don’t Actually Read Any Romance.

It’s a common rookie mistake, but take it from me - reading romances would only make you part of the problem.

“But shouldn’t we know what we’re aiming at?” I hear the amateurs in the back ask. Well, there’s an easy cheat for that—read books that are close to being romance without actually falling into the genre. And by “close to being romance” I mean a novel that has romantic elements in it. Or at least a male character staring at a female character while breathing heavily. There’s a kiss or two in Lolita, isn’t there? How about heavy petting in Flowers in the Attic? Guess what—those totally count! You can easily use them to inform your romance article without besmirching your pristine reading record.

Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov

Step 2: Read the Literal Opposite of Romance.

The best way to Ruin Romance is to read Objectively Good Books so you can inform your readers what literature should be like for everyone. The books you read aren’t bogged down by superficial hot-button issues like race, gender, or sexuality. No, they deal with timeless, universal themes – like having a hard time feeling special at your expensive prep school. The fact that all your favourite books happen to be written by white, straight, and predominantly male authors is just a weird coincidence.

Step 3: Reveal the SHOCKING TRUTH about Romance.

You’ve gotten this far, so you’ve done your research. After spending hours reading the back covers of Harlequins at your airport bookstore, you finally discovered the diabolical secret at the heart of the publishing industry: romance is all a scam–every romance novel has a happy ending. There is literally a formula behind every romance novel that informs and is informed by reader expectations.

Worse, no one who reads romance seems to realize this! They keep reading these books as if they don’t know what’s going to happen at the end! They need your brilliance to free them from romance’s feather-boa’d tyranny.

Can you imagine how horrible it would be if other genres did that? Thank goodness it’s only a coincidence that the murderer is always revealed at the end of a mystery. Science fiction novels always seem to have science in them, but that’s just an odd quirk. And it’s not like horror novels are intentionally designed to elicit terror. Perfectly respectable men write mystery and horror novels. No, it’s only romance that seeks to imprison literature within unreasonable rules and conventions.

Step 4: It’s All About the Ladies.

You don’t want to be all doom and gloom while you Ruin Romance. Remember, you’re ultimately doing this because you care about women. Why else would you be so worried about the time they waste reading for enjoyment?

You are selfless in your desire to save women from being hoodwinked and bamboozled into reading inferior books. Why, you lie awake at night sweating over all the Jonathan Franzen novels that remain unread because of the pernicious influence of Victoria Dahl and Mary Balogh.

Your article needs to emphatically declare how feminist you are, by focusing on everything the women in romance are doing wrong. Romance celebrates the wrong type of men, the wrong type of life goals, the wrong type of time period (suffragettes weren’t force-fed in prisons so you could read about women who were happy before the right to vote!). Women can’t like or take pleasure from just any old thing! They have to think of the other women! If they’re not going to clutch their pearls, you’ll have to do it for them. Because of how much you care.

Step 5: Market Your Own Romance, Which Is Totally Not a Romance.

The last four steps will help you write an effective Romance-Ruining article, but ultimately, the best way to Ruin Romance is to write your own romance – but better. So much better that it’s not technically romance. Except that romance readers would totally dig it if they gave it half a chance. Totally.

Let’s not kid ourselves–you’ve already written that novel, and there’s no better place to advertise your revolutionary, genre-saving work than right here, in your brilliant, eye-opening hit piece. Yes, you have torn down the romance establishment, but only to rebuild it in your own – far superior – image. Believe me, the readers you have converted with your original, thought-provoking arguments will see you as a hero – and not a mercenary, narrow-minded hypocrite who’s willing to snatch food from the hand it’s repeatedly bitten.

Just use my patented Five-Step Method to Ruin Romance, and you’ll save women from themselves while earning yourself the literary attention you so richly deserve. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back.

 


Elizabeth Vail hails from Alberta, Canada. A book reviewer and aspiring YA writer, she currently runs the review blog Gossamer Obsessions under the screenname AnimeJune.

 

 

Images via shutterstock

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17 comments
Kareni
1. Kareni
Thanks for an entertaining column that is sad but true.
Manda Collins
2. mandacollins
Well said! I suspect that Alain deBotton and Curtis Sittenfeld's ears are ringing!
LindsayAarons
5. LindsayAarons
You are selfless in your desire to save women from being hoodwinked and bamboozled into reading inferior books. Why, you lie awake at night sweating over all the Jonathan Franzen novels that remain unread because of the pernicious influence of Victoria Dahl and Mary Balogh.
Hahahaha Elizabeth Vail for President!
stacymd2
6. Book monster
"romance’s feather-boa’d tyranny."

hahaha, brilliant!
stacymd2
7. Kimberly Keyes
LOL I love this :-) Even my own family wants me to write a "real" book, and laughingly says all romances are about a bickering couple who eventually end up together. I just smile and remind people Romance is the number one selling genre of fiction. Romance readers READ. A LOT.
Thanks for a fun article.
Kimberly Keyes
https://facebook.com/kimberly.keyes.romance
Linda Talamo
8. eLTe
What a Hoot! Brava - I would love to get you and Kameron Hurley (The Geek Feminist Revolution) in a room together.
stacymd2
9. Nancy Levine
Thanks for the great post! My friend and co-worker (male) says "all romance novels are just trash!" I think I will give him a copy of this post.
stacymd2
11. Crystal Cox
Hahaha love it ! My favorite line "If they’re not going to clutch their pearls, you’ll have to do it for them. Because of how much you care."
stacymd2
14. Rae Ford
Amazing post! Love it all!!
Adria Reyes
15. adria03
Best post ever! Excuse me while I share this brilliantly written, but painfully honest post.
stacymd2
17. Sally Kilpatrick
Bravo! So well done. Thank you for revealing this shocking truth:

"No, it’s only romance that seeks to imprison literature within unreasonable rules and conventions."
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