Every reader of romance has her (or his!) mental list of yums and yucks. Mine look something like this:
- Second-time-around Stories
- Getting-to-Know-You Banter
- Hate Sex
- Heroines with Shady Pasts
- Super Angsty Heroes
- Virgin Widows
- Forced Sex
- Too-Stupid-to-Live "Plucky" Heroines
- Super Asshole-y Heroes
- Vampires (I know, I'm not a red-blooded American woman or something)
In addition to these guaranteed pick-me-ups and throw-me-aways, I've got another list. Super-cliched romance plot devices that I KNOW are ridiculous, but can't help loving. It boils down to two items.
Anneliese's Guilty Pleasures
- Secret Babies
- People Getting Drunk and Waking Up Married
Yup, if you're wondering who's buying all those Harlequin Presents titles about secretaries who get knocked up after a night with the boss and hide the resulting child for six years, it's me. If you can't understand why another movie about two drunk idiots tying the knot in Vegas just got greenlit, look my way.
I'll be posting in a few days about the lure of the Vegas plot and why I think it grabs readers/writers/audiences, so let me take a moment now to tease out my motivations for loving the secret babies.
I think it's all about control, gaining it and losing it. The mother's position of dominance as holder of the secret probably lies at the back of it. And then there's the moment when the father realizes the truth about his child's paternity. They're always angry, and shocked, and excited, and nervous, and sad, and happy. They're thrown out of their element, even if they act all lordly and commanding. They're reminded that they don't really control the women in their lives, even when they think they do (and they usually think they do, at least in historicals). Damn, that's so hot!
If the enjoyment of fiction requires the willing suspension of disbelief, I'm willing to take my disbelief, tie a forty-pound weight to it, and drop it out a twelve-story window for the sake of a secret baby or a drunk Vegas wedding.
How about you? What are your Yucks and Yums and Guilty Pleasures? Is there any plot that gets you every time, no matter how ridiculously unbelievable? And most important...why do you love them?