If there is one aspect of chick-lit that I really don’t like, it’s the “loser in love” stereotype.
It’s not ubiquitous by a long shot. I read many strong heroines who don’t suffer from this. But all too often I’m presented with the unlucky-in-love heroine, angsting over her lack of a man, setting all her hopes on catching one. And I absolutely can’t stand it.
Why does someone have to be unlucky in love to grab our interest? Why can’t they just be an interesting character who doesn’t happen to have a partner? Okay, there may be good plot-driven reasons for not having one, which may or may not give the heroine angst occasionally, but they don’t have to rule her life.
This is more difficult in short stories, admittedly, when you have to cram all the characterisation and plot into a smaller space, so the heroine may end up giving more headspace to the subject than necessary. But there’s a difference between wanting the hero (or indeed, second heroine) and bewailing the lack of any man.
I’m focussing mostly on heroines here, because I haven’t read that many male losers-in-love – maybe they’re not as attractive to readers. Most of the heroes I’ve read simply haven’t found the right person, but they don’t angst about it. Maybe I’m not reading the right books. But then, I don’t fancy reading about that kind of a hero either.
So, for me, I’ll avoid the unlucky-in-love routine. My heroines will get on with life and find the right guy – or girl – in their own sweet time. And my heroes will absolutely love it.