Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Love It or Hate It, Taboo Is Here To Stay

Boy meets girl at work or school or a bar. Boy and girl like each other and date for a while. Eventually, girl and boy get married. Isn't that the way romance typically blossoms?

Yeah, maybe in the 1950's.

There's an old saying, 'The only thing that never changes is change itself.' While I couldn't agree more, the writing world is no exception.

Have readers grown bored with boy meets girl in the bar, school or work place? Some Romance authors have been drifting from the regular love recipe to sate their readers' changing appetites. Often times, the recipe doesn't contain sugar and spice: There's a healthy heaping of taboo. 

Taboo Tropes are anything but cliche, yet these days it's as common as tattoos and Chinese takeout. 

Photo Credit: Marina Voitik 

Step Romance Is Stepping Up!

Whether it repulses or excites you, stories about falling in love with a step parent or sibling are all the rage. Many authors have hit major bestseller's lists with this taboo trope. There isn't much of a mystery as to why this type of story is easy to pull off.

Think about it: The relationship between the two characters already exists. Step relatives often share the same home...same bathroom...maybe even the same bedroom. They've been in vulnerable situations together. And they've seen each other in their underwear, eaten meals together and might share a parent. It's an added bonus if the step daddy-o is a silver fox with six pack abs. 😁

There's an existing bond, but no biological link to consider the relationship incestuous. And an author has all the room they need to let their imaginations run wild.

Captive Romance 

Ahhh, this trope has picked up major steam in recent years. The scenario: Hero is betrothed to marry heroine, but heroine isn't cool with the idea. So, hero captures his bride-to-be and a terrible struggle ensues. Heroine hates him, but hero eventually wears heroine down with money, lavish gifts, sex and attention until heroine finally falls for captive. (I have a guilty admission that I have enjoyed stories containing this trope.)

Readers of forced fantasy and power exchange eat up these stories! 

Photo Credit: Motiz Bechert

Stockholm Syndrome

This is probably the most complex trope to write. In my opinion, it takes special writing talent to make your reader want a monstrous, murderous villain to end up in a loving relationship with his innocent, virginal victim. 😈

Scenario: A mean, scary, deadly (and of course, good looking) assassin attacks and stalks a female. Female is horrified by him at first, but as the story progresses, the assassin's obsession and possessiveness grows on the female. She begins to sympathize with her stalker. After all, his psychotic tenancies aren't his fault. 

After stalker drags female victim to his secret lair prison and keeps her under 24 hour surveillance, he meets all of her needs. He showers her with gifts. He touches her in ways no man has before. A dark and thrilling side of the victim is awakened and then she finds she can't live without the adrenaline fueled love making he's introduced. Oh, the victim is all the stalker can think about. He's never craved anyone like her. He'll NEVER let her go without killing her cat, or threatening the lives of her family and friends. 

Sounds like true love, right?

Actually, in the modern literary world, this could be love! Readers can't get enough of the darker side of romance. Don't believe me? Check the Amazon rankings for stories of this nature. If you read the reviews for these titles, you'll find a mixture of emotions from fans. Some will be horrified. Others will be downright in LOVE with the book. And who knows? Maybe you'll be inspired to write your own taboo romance.

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