PubCrawl Podcast: Romances and Love Interests

This week JJ and Kelly are not above capitalizing on a fake holiday to talk about LOVE INTERESTS and ROMANCE. They have lots of Opinions.1

We had a problem with our website and server earlier this week and—long story short—we have had to move the podcast to a different server. Unfortunately, this will affect the iTunes and other feeds; it will hopefully be resolved by the time this podcast goes live, but if you do not receive your typical PubCrawl podcast episode in your preferred podcast provider, please let us know so we can figure out how to troubleshoot! In the meantime, you can visit us at Soundcloud. Thanks in advance!

Show Notes

  • JJ doesn’t like books with FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELINGS in them, but loves a good romance in books
  • Some of our objections to the Instalove trope is not the initial connection, so much as the failure to follow-up with showing and not telling.

Objectively, What is a Good Romance?

  • Tension between characters
  • Good characterization leads to good romance.
  • When the parties involved in the romance clearly respect each other
  • Also, when the book makes you do this:


Objectively, What is a Bad Romance?

  • Just because a character is hot or tragic, that doesn’t make them worthy of being loved.
  • When the issue of consent is muddy or dubious, and not just in sexual situations. Romantic tropes that fall into this include the Duckie or Brian Krakow Nice Guy.
  • When attraction overrides reason, especially in the case of serious wrong being done by one party to another
  • Women in refrigerators (Kelly was right; it’s Green Lantern)

Books Discussed/Recommended Reading

What We’re Working On

  • Kelly is still working on her YA project and writing her “long shitty synopsis”
  • JJ is working on her mental health

Off Menu Recommendations

That’s all for this week! Next week we will go back to our Publishing 201 series with THE ANATOMY OF A QUERY LETTER. 

  1. Seriously guys, JJ had to edit out over an hour’s worth of conversation on this topic.

5 Responses to PubCrawl Podcast: Romances and Love Interests

  1. Nick Feb 11 2016 at 10:48 am #

    Just a general query: John in Anatomy of a Story states a very nice simple line: the central conflict of the story is:
    Who fights Whom over What?
    Does anyone have suggestions for a better way to phrase the central conflict in a romance?

    • JJ Feb 11 2016 at 1:11 pm #

      I actually disagree that the central conflict of a story is “Who fights Whom over What?” To me, that seems overly simplistic and/or reductive. There are a lot of novels that do not contain some sort of “fight” or antagonistic relationship. What of novels like John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars? Toni Morrison’s Beloved? Any of Shakespeare’s comedies?

      The real question that’s at the heart of a query is “What are the stakes?” In a romance, that’s very easy to answer: the happiness of the central pair. What are the obstacles that get in the way of the couple’s happiness? That’s where the tension and conflict are in a romance novel.

  2. Jamie Rose Feb 11 2016 at 4:40 pm #

    This is the first of your podcasts I’ve listened to – you guys just crack me up! Honestly, I looked at the 1:11 running time and almost didn’t click play, but I’m glad I did.

    Slow burn & friends to lovers are some of my favourites, too. And love triangles… I kinda like them, but I always end up rooting for the losing party. Even when, like you say, it’s obvious who’s going to win. I admit it, I was Team Jacob and Team Gale.

    What did you think of Fire, by the way? It’s one of my favourites!

    • JJ Feb 12 2016 at 8:04 am #

      I love Fire. I love what Cashore does with femininity and monstrosity and where they overlap. For a long time I thought it was my favorite of her books, but having just reread Bitterblue, I think I have to revise my opinion. I still love Fire a lot though. 🙂

  3. Dominic Holmboe Feb 17 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    Please please please make a part 2, or a whole series about this subject!

    Oh, and Benjamin Linus <3 <3 <3 I laugh-cried when you guys mentioned him, I love him too haha.

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