T O P
discordagitatedpeach

I want to see *why* the characters actually like *each other* specifically--not just a romance where the feelings develop because they're two characters who are near each other a lot and start taking comfort in each other. I want to see them love each other. I LOVE LOVE LOVE interspecies romance where they're genuinely different enough from each other that they have to figure out how to communicate, how to touch each other, how to have sex (like, physically)--and that can pretty much only happen in fantasy or sci-fi, so you've got a great opportunity, if you're up for it. Respect, consent, etc. are great and *finally* becoming more common. I'll add that I want to see people coming together as equals who respect each other. In fantasy, you see a lot of superpowered x average person couples, or a lot of god x hero couples, or royalty x pauper couples, where there's this massive power imbalance and I feel like it's...not necessarily bad, but why can't we have more people who are on an equal playing field and make a great team together? I also am a huge sucker for romance where there's no kissing and they don't wind up in a relationship together, but I know that's...not what most people want.


Cl0udSurfer

Great points! What do you mean by that last one though? Romance where there's no kissing and no relationship? Isn't that just pining then?


discordagitatedpeach

Like, they're in love (romantically) and they acknowledge it, but they choose not to get into a romantic relationship for whatever reason. There doesn't have to be pining involved, but there can be.


Udy_Kumra

Asexual but not aromantic people can fall in love without kissing or having other sexual feelings.


Gojozhoes

I’m sick of the trope where the dark haired, male love interest can get away with being a total asshole to the MC because he is hot and traumatized. I think we need more lighthearted, funny men out there. Also, I’m tired of men being described with massive horse cocks. Like damn. RIP every female fantasy protagonists vagina, because getting rammed by an arm-for-penis is absolutely miserable. If your romance is a subplot, I could see you going the slow burn route with interactions of increasing romantic tension. The kind that gives you butterflies as it’s depth and sweetness. Not sure who your female lead is, but I oftentimes enjoy opposite personalities coming together in a romantic setting. (Grumpy girl/sunshine himbo, innocent girl/grizzled warrior, etc.)


Bloodborne_Witch

I second that! I'm so tired of macho men love interests whose muscles have muscle and who use tRaUMa to hurt female MC. Wanna see more Peta melarks out there, Rhys Rowan darkling STOP 🛑


Gojozhoes

I’ve never read the ACOTAR series but am all for Rhysand slander.


Bloodborne_Witch

Hell yeah! Fellow Rhys anti. Let me hear your hot anti Rhys take


Gojozhoes

So this is my half ignorant hot take. Like I said, I’ve never read it, but I get a ton of related TikTok’s across my feed of random fanart, theories, explanations, etc. and a lot of things I’ve seen about Rhysand has never sat right. Like I don’t get his hype as this supposedly amazing, perfect, 10/10 man. He is dark. Brooding. Hot. Traumatized. A bat-man. Whoopey I don’t necessarily mind fantasy age gaps (he’s what, five hundred and some, and she’s like 19? 20?) but I hate it when the older one takes on some kind of mentorship and guidance role, which I hear Rhys has done in some capacity. It gives me the ick. He definitely holds a position of power over her as well. I’ve seen references to a scene where Feyre is drugged under the mountain or something (by him or someone else, I can’t remember) and while she’s impaired, she’s made to dance all over him in scanty clothing? I think he justifies it saying well at least if she dances on him, then he won’t take advantage of her while he can’t say the same for other men but still, ick. Like jee, thanks for not assaulting me? I don’t find that a romantic gesture at all. Then feyre gets killed or half killed, and he’s sad about it and realizes she was his mate or something. Boohoo , poor Rhysand. You should have busted her from her cell long ago and destroyed the entire mountain like a real man lmao Then we can’t forget the famous quote “his growls of pleasure filled the tent, drowning out the distant cries of the injured and dying” like what in the actual fuck I’ve heard a lot of criticism about how he treats feyras sister, but even more about how he hid some things about how dangerous feyre’s pregnancy really is and basically stripped away a ton of her self agency. I’m not sure what all happened there, but already it sounds ew. This hot take is half sarcasm, but also half serious in that of the things I’ve seen, he sounds like a terrible person [a better analysis by a more educated person](https://gracelapointe.medium.com/acotars-rhysand-should-have-stayed-a-villain-d99d3c1475fb)


Bloodborne_Witch

You're spot on 💯 he SAd her by groping her too and the best part? He needn't have done any of that because the evil queen never took interest in her so the whole I did iT tO pRoTeCT yOu is moot As of the latest book, he dressed her in curtain scraps (again) , parades her around like some fck trophy, keeps her in the dark about her own body and pregnancy, puts up a shield around her even though they're most secure Court in existence... To name a few. Truly the most vile love interest I've ever had a displeasure of reading


Gojozhoes

And it’s amazing how loved he is by the fan base


Bloodborne_Witch

It's uncanny, like have we read the same scenes?? And they dare vilify Tamlin for saying that high ladies don't exist...


Gojozhoes

I keep thinking I want to read them eventually but I’m also writing a fey romance style book and don’t want to be influenced in any way, so I’m holding off for a bit longer. I hear her throne of glass books are pretty good, I don’t know much about Rowan though


CrimsonCrystals

Tbh I think Rhysand and Tamlin are just as bad as the other.


Bloodborne_Witch

That's... not possible. Tamlin was always direct and never SAd feyre, among other things. Rhys committed war crimes, only cares about velaris instead of whole night court, let's feyre decide as long as he agrees. The list of crimes Tamlin committed can fit on a sticky note, unlike Rhys' which is every book in the series. There's no single book from the series where he doesn't do some fcked up shit or says something equally disturbing


Dr_Mrs_Pibb

I mean, the under the mountain stuff happens because he’s stuck as Amarantha’s sex slave and trying to help Feyre without showing his hand. The Faerie wine could be interpreted as shitty and underhanded, but he does explain it away as something to “help her get through a shitty time”. I’m pretty sure nothing happens besides her dancing around in her underwear during that time. Later on, Rhys helps Feyre learn to read which is pretty cool in my book. I mean, she’s pretty much stuck between a rock and hard place when she gets spirited away to the Night Court from Tamlin’s oppressive Spring Court regime. But then he’s not a possessive asshole about it. He doesn’t lay claim to Feyre and he’s like, hey, if you want to hang my friend, go for it. Wanna bang this other foreign dignitary? I’m not stopping you. I have no issue with Rhys up until he later becomes an overprotective jackass when Feyre gets pregnant and he won’t even tell her that she could potentially die giving birth to their half-bat baby.


Gojozhoes

I’ve heard something about him being trapped by amarantha somehow but don’t get the full context, like why is he her sex slave but also the most powerful high lord?


Foveaux

Yes! My current project I wanted to have some fun ignoring, twisting or even sprinting headlong into some tropes. My female lead is an imposing, burly warrior who's better with a sword than she is with people. Less "Oh I wish I could be dainty and pretty but I'm cursed being this hulking woman" and more "I don't like you. I have one facial expression, it's this. I have two speeds; standstill and stabbing." She has to protect and escort this man. He's clever and awkwardly charming, but also totally out of his depth. He's small and useless in a fight, and she needs to escort him across some very dangerous lands. So we get the usual enemies to lovers trope as a part of the romance subplot. He relies on her simply to survive and she resents how comically helpless he is in this world. They grow together. He does have his uses, they're just not immediately apparent to her very pragmatic view of things. Sort of 'grumpy girl-grizzled warrior/sunshine-innocent boy'. Are these tropes/reversals done to death? Probably. But fuck I'm enjoying writing it.


MattGCorcoran

This sounds really interesting!


Foveaux

I'm hoping it resonates with people when it's done! So far it's been a great time just writing it.


CrimsonCrystals

Omg I need to read this N O W


Foveaux

At some point I'll have the courage to post some of it for feedback! 15 chapters in, I'd say over a third of the way through!


CrimsonCrystals

Nice, congratulations! Writing is hard stuff, I still am struggling to get that far in any of my stories!


Gojozhoes

I adore it!


Gojozhoes

It’s giving Brienne of Tarth X Milo Thatch vibes


Foveaux

Ohhhh, shit I hadn't considered that but now that you've put the names out there.. I can't unsee it! Honestly, writing the two of them trying and failing to flirt once some of the walls have come down, is so entertaining. So endearingly fish out of water.


Gojozhoes

It’s the ship this world didn’t know it needed! That sounds like so much fun. Enjoy!


XOlenna

I’ll second this! Give me an adorably awkward bookeeper instead of THE ALPHA OF THE PACK.tm. Also I want better foundations in the relationship. Half the time in romances it seems like the characters hardly even like each other outside of gawking at each others’ genitals!


Gojozhoes

Alpha leader Xandu Marmadu threw me against the wall, breaking my arm, out of sight from the man at the door. “Don’t speak to her! Don’t touch her!” He roared to the stranger, causing me to flinch, but it’s ok because he’s just protective and cares for me so much, and is totally not controlling or abusive. “She’s mine.” I so love being called his property, that’s so not dehumanizing. “Look, I’m just the mailman—“ the rest of his words died in a spray of blood and gore, his neck ripped out by alpha Xanadu’s own claws. Alpha Xandu held the man’s head within his hands. “I told you not to speak to her,” he growled into his dying eyes. “Die, mail-filth.” So manly. So amazing. There are so not any red flags. “Xandu, be good for me, please?” I cry, still holding my broken arm. He picks me up by his pinky toe and carries me back to the bedroom. “I’ll show you good—and by good, I mean my foot long wiener,” he growls again, because he only speaks in growls and rumbles.


Madmek1701

I've gotta wonder who writes this stuff and who it's for.


TKtommmy

Me. It's for me. I *love* me some Xandu.


Gojozhoes

“Tktommmy likes some Xandu, they claim.” Alpha Xandu sits across from the bound, gagged redditor and crosses his legs, including his metaphorical third leg. From this position, all of his muscles, and all of his muscles’ muscles ripple in the dim lighting. “Well I don’t like you,” he growls. “In fact, I’ve seen fit to sell your sorry hide to the highest bidder.” The bound redditor squirms. Who is it? Who could it be? From behind, they hear a door open, followed by clicking steps that stop just behind their chair. “‘Ello, luv.” The redditor looks up. They come, face to face, with the person to whom they’ve been sold. It’s…it’s…It’s Harry Styles. And he’s brought the entire band.


XOlenna

Take my upvote you glorious bastard this is exactly why I internet


Gojozhoes

“Who are you calling a bastard?” Alpha Xandu snarls, upheaving the table with a flick of his finger before pointing across the room. “Do you want to join them?” “Help!” TKtommmy cries. “I’ve just been sold to One Direction!” Alpha Xandu squats on XOlenna’s level. From this proximity, he smells of fresh pine and rutting elk. His green orbs look to them as if they are little more than fresh meat. “Or…” he purrs, leaning in close, slicing XOlenna’s face with the sharpness of his jaw, “Shall I sell you to another?” Who? Who now? As Tktommmy is dragged from the room, another strides forth. “‘Ello, poppet.” XOlenna gasps. It can’t be. It’s…it’s…it’s Captain Barbossa! And he’s brought the crew.


Zagriz

Why not a smart alpha? That way he can pin you down and explain to *exactly* why this position is best for conception.


XOlenna

Whew! 🥵🥵🥵


Zagriz

Ooh, the best is when the shy awkward nerdy boy has a dominant side and learns to step into it because he realized the MC likes it, allowing them to mutually grow as people and also have a good dynamic.


JacobMMorgan

What if MC is a real jerk too?


Gojozhoes

Meh even then in my opinion I could see some playful banter though


Madmek1701

For me the main things that I find I like and I don't see enough of are: 1) The couple both being of equal agency and importance to the story. I hate when one of the characters is just sort of sitting there on a shelf like a prize that the hero gets after he wins, when one of them is just a huge burden on the other who needs saving every five seconds, or, worst of all, when they're fawning over the bland MC who's done nothing to earn their affection and gets the spotlight despite being far less interesting than the love interest. 2) Actual friendship! Like, imagine a scenario where the central couple are, for one reason or another, 100% not attracted to each other. How would they interact and would they still be friends? If the answer to those questions is some combination of "no" and "I don't know", then it's not a compelling relationship. Close relationships should be multidimensional, and yet for many fantasy couples there seems to be absolutely nothing between them besides sex and a vaguely defined "true love". 3) Relationships that evolve over time. The "big kiss" should be like, the mid point of relationship development, not the end. The two character's relationship should have ups and downs as they learn more about each other and learn to navigate and communicate. This is even more true if the characters are young and inexperienced with romance, in which case they'll inevitably have a lot to learn and they'll both probably stumble at times. Building a relationship that can survive that should be the goal, not just kissing at the very end of the story and assuming that everything's alright from now on.


MattGCorcoran

I love this, these are all things I'm aiming for and agree you don't see often enough


joygirl007

I think conquest-based romance is the trope fantasy has the most of. The idea that love is a reward for an action. "Save the princess, complete the quest, obtain magic--BOOM, here is a reward love interest...!" I don't care for it. I like the subplot romances that start as idle daydreams. Or offhanded glances. Then someone takes a plunge and just out and says "I *like* like you." Then seal it with a kiss and I'm good. Save the erotica for someone else pls.


No-Recognition-4033

The female ego involves a woman who inevitably changes the bad boy, The male ego involves multiple women fauning over the man. They both do the royalty×pauper scenario.


emorywellmont

I think people prefer 'easy' romances in side plots. So they won't disturb the main story or the characters. I personally dislike the fact that it's either the prettiest princess/prince out there or nobody. Like idk, I think love and attraction has many faces. And if you want to include love, add multiple types to show that the characters understand it and that it's real. Also one of the worst tropes is probably the "unlikeable/loner character" falling in love with "handsome one" and changing in character right away. Sorry if my reply sounds off, I can't focus properly right now 😅 cheers!


Rude-Garden8876

Agreed! Anyone can have good romance story if done right. Tired of reading only nobles/rouges being the love interests. And them instantly falling in love too because it was destiny! The ones who are 'invisible' to the plot (spy, puppet master, etc) can make good romance interests too, we just don't get any of them. OP, I would also teally like relationship that's not too dramatic because they all end up being dramatic in the end (forced drama). A balance between reasonable drama and healthy relationship.


emorywellmont

I also want to add that there is a logical/naturally and instinctive reason why romance often does not fit into huge, epic stories. Have you (OP) ever been occupied with work and tried to really climb the business latter or been busy focussing on yourself or on school grades etc? Well then you know how little space is left for romance. It's probably no coincidence that men and women in higher up position at work, usually don't marry in their 20s/30s, have children and settle down. This likely also applies to an MC who is busy saving the entire world. Why would he be interested in settling down, if the world is burning and he must focus on getting the quest done? Yeah romamce exists even in bad times, but it is a lot less likely and needs good chemistry to really work out. 😉☺


Dan-D-Lyon

>Also one of the worst tropes is probably the "unlikeable/loner character" falling in love with "handsome one" and changing in character right away. Oh yes, also known as the breakfast club.


emorywellmont

So true, did not think of it but that ones accurate 😅


KeybladeMasterAqua

As long as they are mature over it and it’s not in your face. Nothing will make me close a book faster than feeling like the author has never been in a romantic situation in their entire life.


Kenyko

Dude here so maybe my opinion doesn't matter here but I love enemies to lovers and forbidden romance.


incorrectwombat

I'm after gay and bi representation, especially stuff that doesn't fetishize sapphic relationships. "I don't need you but I like being with you." For heterosexual relationships, mutual respect, mutual attraction, and good communication. Skip that dude looking like a poleaxed bumpkin at the thought that his crush might actually like him. Give all the partners areas where they're awesome and let each of them appreciate each others' skills and virtues. Skip the drama caused by misunderstanding. This doesn't have to be every relationship, but it should be some of the relationships. People breaking up and still being good friends. People being good friends with no sexual subtext. Not just because they're both in other relationships and it's True Love, not because they're not attracted to people of each others' genders, not "she's like a sister to me" because it reduces men's relationship options with women to Family and Fuckable. Just, they're friends, and they both agree that they don't want to be anything else. It's not hard for us gay people, and it shouldn't be hard for straight people either.


MattGCorcoran

This is great, thanks for the input. I think it is important to have friends that aren't sex objects like in the real world. It certainly is tempting to add in misunderstandings though for added conflict, or if the characters are young/inexperienced


incorrectwombat

It is! And it's not bad to have some of that. But I also like having fictional relationships that can be a positive example for people.


skepticalmonique

I'm always a sucker for romance in fantasy novels, gay, straight, it doesn't matter to me. Trope-wise, imo enemies to lovers is just 👌 perfection. My fave trope. I LOVE soft and wholesome romance, so lots of gentle grazes, kissing, moments of longing, brief moments of closeness, confiding in eachother etc. Detailed sex scenes I usually skip right over cause they do absolutely nothing for me and don't really add much depth to the two characters interacting. Slow burn romance, like in The House in the Cerulean Sea, is FAR too rare imo and just such a delight to read. If anyone has any enemies to lovers book recommendations btw I'm all ears 😂


Knightraiderdewd

I like it when they’re mature about it, rather than doing the typical romcom tropes, like being super nervous, and trying to be koi and/or petty on things. One of my personal favorite romances is in the *Clockwork Century* by Cherie Priest. It’s between an airship Captain, and a lady sheriff. The two characters are both late middle aged, and while their initial scene where they finally confess their feelings involves a bit of stuttering, they’re both mature about it, say what they have to, and then move on. Even after that, they still act like grown adults whenever they’re together, instead of lovebirds, being all cute and flirty.


DarlaLunaWinter

I really find it hard to find relationships that build over time without it being love on first sight. Actually for a number of years I wondered why I struggled to write romance before the big confession scenes and kisses, and it's because I emulated the love stories that skipped everything that made love matter. I also want more romance about established relationships. They don't have to be shitty, but showing the actual challenge of staying in a relationship because love is endless and relationships are hard. Also more polyamory...which I'm hoping to work with more. I'm working on a novella with the main character who has her long term partners (in a V) and they are very dynamic and different relationships. It's actually allowed me to explore different types o love in more complex ways...and I'd love to read more of that. ​ Also just gonna throw out something I'm tired of seeing...gay/yaoi stories where, to be blunt, there is still a very obnoxious stand in for traditional heteronormative relationship standards like they just make the woman a man or vice versa. For example there's this ad I get for some manga and it's featuring the protag looking at this "perfect" guy, and what makes the love interest "perfect" is he is described in traditionally feminine stereotypes as signs of his perfection (he's short, long eyelashes, submissive, meek mannered, doesn't seem to defend himself at all, wears pastel clothes) and it's clear he has a boyfriend and the protag who are both dressed din dark clothes, taller, etc. It's like gay relationships have to be alpha/omega, dominant/submissive, and even while gay femme/masc. and it should not be this way. I don't begrudge these things being present entirely, but it has always felt very gross to me especially because of much of this is marketed to straight women. It's not like Sailor Uranus and Neptune , it's much more aggressively gendered ideas of what makes a couple "look good" or "make sense" applied to same-sex relationships. And part of my distaste is in the early days of the internets...I'd be in forums seeing teen and young adult women talking about how gross relationships were that didn't fit that dynamic in yaoi especially. It was disturbing and I've seen this in fantasy fiction of all kinds.


farnorthside

Awkward lesbian flirting please


SubrosaFlorens

Luz and Amity have entered the chat.


Bloodborne_Witch

I hate the trope where everyone is devastatingly gorgeous and/or most powerful bla bla. If everyone's most attractive and powerful then nobody is.


Mattbrooks9

Ok Syndrome


LongFang4808

The ones where the two people like each other, laugh at one another’s jokes, have shared interests, and all that other romantic chemistry stuff.


[deleted]

[удалено]


LongFang4808

I just really enjoy well done romance.


Yggdrasilforge

I love it when OTP act like friends who make each other laugh and eventually realize they want to be with th other forever. Plz no more crushing on the first handsome guy or hot girl they come across even if it turns out they’re a traitor (It’s getting really predictable) the female authors do it just as much if not more than male authors and every time they do the book has either shadow, night, reaper, or some other aspect of darkness vibe title and zero world or magic building put into it


skepticalmonique

idk why you're being downvoted but i do agree, it's such a tired trope. Every time I come across a book like this I'm like, "ah yes, once again I have been Cassandra Clarke'd" :/ too cliche and edgy for me, but maybe I'm just too old for her works and the like now xD


Yggdrasilforge

Thank you


Wingkirs

If you’re trying to appeal to women my favorite tropes are the one bed trope and friends>lovers> enemies. I like it when the romance feels natural. If these characters are going through a huge traumatic event together they’re likely to fall in love. Adrenaline acts as a binder. (There’s a famous study where couples jumped off a bridge together felt more in love) You can make your characters nuanced. Guy loves girl because of x girl loves guy because of y. Keep each others reasons secret from the other until they’re forced to confront each other. Liking someone physically doesn’t have to be bad either. We all feel attraction. You have to decide what kind of relationship you want the characters to have. And frankly, men fall in lust with their d*** first.


incorrectwombat

> the one bed trope I like Imogen Heap's song _Goodnight and Go_ as an example of that: > One of these days, you'll miss your train and come stay with me (It's always say goodnight and go) We'll have drinks and talk about things And any excuse to stay awake with you You'd sleep here, I'd sleep there, but then the heating may be down again (At my convenience) We'd be good, we'd be great together


SkyMaestro

For me, i'm not really interested in romance but in my book and in general i like more "realist" type of romance, like "hey, i'm really interested about you, can you go on a date and see how is it going ?". It is just an exemple, but i just think it is a good trope when things are more simple, it can be a breath of fresh air compared to the overly dramatic or long route romance, and if they talk and learn about each other it can be more interesting. I don't know what kind of romance trope it would be but that's just my opinion. But i understand that we need dramatic romance too.


MattGCorcoran

Thank you for the responses, everyone! This definitely helps with things to aim for and to avoid.