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Why Romance Characters Need Friends

But when I’m reading a romance, I want the characters to have friends

It’s not important, for instance, to include friends in a gothic romance

Those characters can be alone in their spooky manor with only ghosts for company; it’s fine

And perhaps an action-driven romance with characters on the run doesn’t really need to show me

I fully admit this is a matter of taste, and I’ll elaborate on that further

And when I read a romance that falls short for me, my fix-it instinct often tells me

I’m talking about a character who likes and supports the protagonist, whom the protagonist trusts, and

They aren’t always easy to come across in real life, but luckily authors can create them

My favorite writers build worlds and characters seamlessly and naturally

Romance characters having friends can help avoid these storytelling pitfalls

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A conversation with a friend can convey information and develop character while pushing the plot forward

Seeing how people are around their friends tells us a lot about them

She dishes out all the gossip about the events of the night before

And maybe her account differs from the account as narrated by another character

To me, one of the most interesting things about romance is that what people find romantic is

I know there are people who are really into the “I hate everyone but you” trope, but

And I love characters who offer grace to their love interest who really bungled it but for

There are other circumstances in a romance I rarely find romantic

For me to buy a HEA, I want to believe each character in the romance is more-or-less

And in her new life, she becomes completely consumed by her romantic relationship

Still, these can be the HEAs I have a hard time actually finding romantic, even if the

A character with no nearby support network apart from their romantic partner(s) seems so vulnerable to

But I would rather see over the course of the romance that a character in a new

) But when a character has been tossed ashore after a rough sea journey, I want to see

As a romance reader who is neither asexual nor aromantic, I am really interested in reading critiques

The vast majority of romances do posit that some combination of sex and romance have a really

It promotes the kind of love portrayed in romance as what gets people through the hard times

Romances that showcase romantic love as but one flower in a gorgeous bouquet are the ones I

Give me all of that! That’s the truly life-affirming stuff for me

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop and Alexis Daria’s A Lot Like Adios have those vibes

I also really love romances with messy characters who are put through the wringer

I rankle against the idea that romances ought to present love as a prize won by characters

The world can be a dark and scary place, but there’s no need to be stingy