Hi everyone! Today’s guest post is a fun one- Philip Siegel, debut author of The Break-Up Artist (a novel that I utterly enjoyed as stated on my review), makes a list of romantic cliches that need to just retire already- loaded with hilarious GIFs, of course!
The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Romantic Cliches That Need a Permanent Vacation
The titular character of THE BREAK-UP ARTIST is a bit of a cynic when it comes to love, so much so that she starts a business breaking up couples, particularly the ones who overdose on sweeping fauxmantic gestures. And you know what, I don’t blame her. The world is filled with romantic cliches that make my eyes roll like hamster wheels. While I do like romance and happy endings, some of the in-between stuff can drag a story down in my mind. Let’s hope in the future, these tropes can fade away:
#1: The Misunderstanding
This one annoys me to no end. You know the scene. The girl spots the guy just as he’s laughing and flirting with someone else. The girl immediately thinks the guy isn’t into her or is a cheating scumbag. She cuts off contact with him for a few scenes or ten years. And here’s where I throw the book across the room/throw popcorn at the screen.
This plot point can be resolved in two seconds if the guy would just explain. “Hey, she’s just a friend/my sister/came onto me and kissed me for that one second you saw before I pushed her away.” That’s all it would take. Scenes like this are in stories solely as a means to keep characters apart until the end. They feel forced rather than organic. And seriously, rather than running away, take a deep breath and have a 30-second conversation.
#2: The best friend with no life
Two words: Judy Greer. The actress has been stuck playing the “best friend” character in a jillion romcoms.
Now, I love me some sassy best friend. They’re usually the comic relief in romances, and a refreshing chance from downbeat main characters. But can’t they also be fully fleshed out, too? I understand this isn’t their story, but too many times, I see best friend characters who can do NOTHING ELSE except comment on the main character’s love life. They show no other personality traits or signs of a life outside of their friend’s romantic interest. If a character’s only defining characteristic is saying “You should give him a call,” then the writer is being lazy. I like best friend characters who can bring something more to the story than being a sounding board. They deserve it. Even Dave Chappelle was forced to play the best friend role!
#3: Low pay/great apartment
How come all heroines of NYC-set romcoms have low paying jobs but are able to afford huge apartments with no roommates?
Katherine Heigl was an assistant in 27 Dresses, while Sarah Jessica Parker and Kate Hudson were journalists in Sex and the City and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Yet they all could afford their own apartments in the most expensive city in the country.
At last Carrie Bradshaw claimed her apartment was rent controlled. I know this is nitpicky, but it creates a fantasy world in which these stories exist. Do none of these people have roommates? I’m not saying romantic stories need to be gritty and they should be living in shoeboxes, but I know a lot of people who are journalists and assistants and who live in NYC. And let me tell you, their apartments are nothing like these characters’.
It’s funny when a character falls, but it’s not a character trait.
When someone keeps falling in multiple scenes, it stops being endearing. It makes me wonder if they have an inner ear problem. (Unless it’s Sandra Bullock. She falls like a pro.)
Win!!! And so true too. I think Becca would definitely agree to all this! Thanks for sharing, Philip! Book nerds, don’t forget to add The Break-Up Artist to your to-read shelves or grab a copy when you spot it at a bookstore! (Seriously, it’s worth it! Highly recommend!) Oh and wait… here’s a last note from Philip:
Wanna win some THE BREAK-UP ARTIST SWAG? Enter the giveaway below:
Philip Siegel grew up in New Jersey, which he insists is much nicer than certain TV shows would have you believe. He graduated from Northwestern University and promptly moved out to Los Angeles, where he became an NBC page. He likes to think that the character of Kenneth on 30 Rock is loosely based on his life rights. Currently, he works in downtown Chicago by day while he writes novels at night and during his commute sandwiched in between colorful characters on the El.