Maybe it’s becoming a series, I don’t know.
While my first post on this subject was directed more at TV shows, today’s complaint is mainly book-related.
Allow me to share with you an all-too-common sort of exert from the book I’m currently reading (Rescue Me by Susan May Warren):
Jess put her hand on his arm, squeezed, her beautiful eyes shiny, a deep aquamarine in the sunlight, the kind of eyes a man could lose himself in. Especially when her lips curled into a delicious smile.
For a second, all Pete could think about was lowering his mouth to hers, tasting that smile, letting it seep through him, fill him with her touch. He wanted a piece of all that sunshine, the way she could make him feel like he wasn’t the guy who broke hearts, but the one who fixed them.
I’m not trying to pick on this book specifically. I’ve definitely read worse. It’s just illustrative of a problem I find in way too many romance books.
I don’t have a problem with passages where the guy gets lost in the girl’s eyes (or vice versa), or wants to kiss her, of that sort of thing. The problem is that this sort of thing is pretty much the only way their growing feelings are described.
This is an issue because in and of itself, this is not love. This is physical attraction. Which is related and important and should probably pop up sometimes if you’re writing romance.
But if it is not layered over other things – emotions and comradeship and learning about each other – it just feels shallow. “Okay, you like her eyes, that’s nice, I guess, even though I’ve already heard it several dozen times…”
So writers… Stop. Use more variety. It’ll make your relationships deeper and more interesting. And a fun bonus: When you don’t use physical attraction to describe every emotion, it makes the times you do use it so much more impactful.