Monday, December 19, 2011

Take the Anti-Douchebag Challenge!

I recently tweeted these words:

I strive for literary worlds without douchebaggery or cheesiness.

Deep, right? It's true, though, and the reason is that both of those things are two of my biggest Literary Pet Peeves.

Personally, I find it insulting when female characters throw themselves at boys who are jerks, and vice versa.Yet, so many stories seem to love this plot device. In the last story I read, the first time the female mc lays eyes on the male mc...

He flips her off.

Flips her off! And instead of responding with a hearty EF YOU!, she proceeds to follow him around like a wounded puppy dog because she's - yawn - inexplicably drawn to him and his hotness.

Just like the female lead in another novel I read, where the first conversation she has with the (hot, of course) male mc involves him being overtly inappropriate and aggressive, and progresses to him just "happening" to show up wherever she goes. And, go figure, she totally falls for him.

Did I miss something? When did the stalker and/or asswipe type become sexy?

This is why I must encourage you all to STOP THE MADNESS when it comes to literary douchebaggery!

Giving characters no real reason to fall all over themselves makes me so sad. I really don't care how hot he is if he's flipping you off or implying he might sexually assault you in your sleep. Have a little common sense and some self esteem and run in the other direction.

Is that crazy? Am I asking too much?

Then we have the other extreme: Cheesiness.

Don't get me wrong, I'm an absolute romance junkie, and usually the two go hand in hand. But in my opinion, they don't have to.

You know the moment I'm talking about. When two characters are professing their love and all you can think is, On no planet, in no lifetime would any person ever utter words so nauseatingly cheesetastic.

I mean, come on, Edward. Flying to Italy for a death wish because you "don't want to live in a world where Bella doesn't exist?" A wee bit over the top, no?


Why can't characters just love each other? Why not let them have moments where they're disappointed in each other (without either one being a douchebag. Or at least recognizing and apologizing for if they are)? Why not let them have disagreements?

And then if they want each other in spite of it all, that's a REAL testament to how much they love one another - not some flowery speech about how their love burns hotter than the fires of Hell ('cause sorry, you'd incinerate), or the sun won't rise if you spend one night apart (it will) or how you'd still be able to hear them even in a world with no words and no way to speak (because, hello, you wouldn't. There's no words and no way to speak. Duh.).

So tell me - where do you stand on these issues? Is douchey the new hot? Would you like to see cheese obliterated, or am I just dead inside?


  1. I think some books just miss the mark. There's something addictive about first love and an author who's able to create that authentically will usually win my approval. Unfortunately first loves mean different things to different people. Some writers are attracted by the hopelessly bad boy and think their readers will be too. Some writers think sweet nothings must be whispered and pondering the beauty of their one true love for pages upon pages is the answer to keeping our interest. I'm with you on the subject- less can be oh so much more if done right.

  2. I am so tired of people explicably drawn from hotness. There's rarely any substance behind the attraction. I hope I do a better job in my YA manuscripts.

  3. I was laughing so hard while reading this. You've already made my morning.

    I think too many problems arise when one person in the relationship is way hotter than the other. It's just inviting feelings of insecurity for the less-attractive person.

    And then when that super hot person is a jerk, what the heck? What kind of low self esteem does a girl have to have to want to be with someone like that?

  4. Um. I thought that was super duper romantic coming from my boy Edward.

    Probably only because he was a vampire and would literally have to live forever. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

    Also, this is (one reason) why I have you crit my projects. I can pretty much name the page when you're gonna call "douche!" on my man E.

    At least you make me laugh. Love the post. And you are fabulous.

  5. I agree with you. Less is more.

  6. LOL!! I hear ya, I do! I think those situations do create more "tension" but when it comes more organically, it's better!! I think I know that first book you're referring to.

  7. The douchebag bit...that I dont' get. Stalker-boy? Not exactly romantic. But some of the cheesy things, well, they do cause a little swoon in the uber-romantic parts of my heart.
    I know, just pass me some wine to go with my cheese lol!!!

  8. The boys that have been showing up in some YA lit lately felt too stalkerish to me, but, thankfully, the last few that I have read seem to have avoided that well.

    However, I have no patience for cheesy romance. That is probably one of the fastest ways to get me to stop reading a book.

  9. He he, I think I know which 'finger flipping' book you're referring to. I thought the same thing. I would have just ignored him. Of course that wouldn't have helped the plot much. LOL

    I used to read historical romances. Tons of eye rolling dialogue there.

  10. I usually hate it when there's some sort of "fated" bond between the MC and the love interest. it doesn't WORK like that in real life, so why does it in books? maybe that idea is super romantic to young teenaged girls, but I don't want to fantasize romance too much.

    I do love a douchey bad boy who's reformed though. or a douchey bad boy who's mean to everyone but the MC. I don't know. I like douchebags usually, but not if they're just a douche to be a douche. there needs to be a story there to justify it :|

    and I hate cheesy romance. it's the biggest reason I just avoid romance and contemporary altogether (usually). one cheesy book and you've read all cheesy books.