Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Big Moment

Three little words? Nah. In Romancelandia, it is known as The Big Moment.

I Love You.

The ultimate point of any romance. And frequently, the one that makes me want to pluck my eyes from their sockets.

Heroes inevitably spout Byronesque poetry when telling their ladies they love them. If a hero has been, up until TBM, a dashing, charming, witty man, then okay. It's in character. I can deal with that just fine. Even if the guy is a strong, silent type, if we've seen that he feels these things deeply, I'm okay with that too. Particularly in historicals; if you've ever read diaries from even 100 years ago people were much more verbose than they are now. I can only imagine what a Victorian man would think of us with our LOL's and OMG's and stubborn refusal to capitalize our i's because that just takes too much time, yo?

My favorite? Some book that I forgot the name of a long time ago, but I still remember this part: (the hero, telling his lady that he'll never have much money) "...but I can promise you a heart that beats for you, and you alone, until it beats no more." Le Swoon!

But those heroes are few and far between. I'll admit it right now- most romances seem to favor Alpha cavemen. Not that I mind, humina-humina. But to have these guys who are usually too insensitive to say 'please' when asking for the salt suddenly waxing poetic about her sapphire eyes and his dazzled senses and how Life Means Nothing Without Her? Blech. Who is this guy, and what have you done with the real hero of this book?

Jayne Ann Krentz is probably my favorite author of TBM. In her historicals (Amanda Quick) she frequently has the heroines say it first, usually in an angry fit. In the middle of a fight with a pig-headed hero, the heroine will shout, "I do not want you to get yourself killed in this duel because I love you, you great hulking idiot!" or something like that. Hee. I love it when she storms out and he's left there with his jaw hanging open. When it's his turn, he'll usually botch some attempt to be traditionally romantic, which of course results in it being even more so.

In JAK's contemps, I like it even better. These guys just don't want to say it, period. In The Pirate, the heroine has decided to leave the resort island the hero owns, partly because he won't talk to her when she wants him to. On the runway, he screams up in his jeep, and starts putting her luggage in his vehicle. She demands that he stop, that This Time She's Really Leaving, etc., when this ultimate Alpha basically asks why she's being such a baby. She tells him that he's never said he loved her.

Now, I was cringing. I knew I'd read of the eyes softening, the going down on one knee, the taking of her hand, and the huge proclamation before all and sundry that no one else on earth could love you more than I and you made my life complete and I didn't know I had a heart until you took it, upon which they would kiss as the tearful onlookers awwwed and applauded. But the still angry hero barely looks at her, growls "I love you," and finishes putting her stuff in the jeep. She's left standing there sputtering until he puts her in the jeep, too. I cheered!

What about you? When The Big Moment occurs, do you like it realistic, actions-speak-louder-than-words, or do you dig the sappy stuff?


Anonymous Michelle Willingham said...

I like the "real" moments when you can completely see a man acting that way. It makes it more poignant. The romancy big-deals don't always ring true to me.

3:38 AM  
Blogger StarvingWriteNow said...

One of the reasons I read more historical fiction is because I like those passionate declarations--so long as they aren't too sugar coated. I agree, Amanda Quick has it down. Today, such "romancy" declarations wouldn't fly, even though I long for them... sigh...

9:22 AM  
Blogger Bernita said...

I like the real moments - but he still has to say it.
Sometimes, if he admits it to a third party and then shows it, it's enough.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Kaitlin said...

I don't remember who wrote it, but one of my favorite "I love you" scenes is this. A h & h are spouting back and forth, and the hero finally gets sick of it, grabs the heroine by the arms, shakes her and says "I love you, you idiot!" It was classic, especially since it shut the heroine up right then & there. :)

I like realism. No long going on and on and on and on about how he loves each thing about her, especially the freckles she hates and stupid stuff like that. Ends up just pissing me off.

3:12 PM  
Blogger December/Stacia said...

I tend to go more for the Mr. Big-esque "I fucking love you, okay!?"-type declarations.

My heroes very rarely make flowery speeches--in fact, I believe only one of them has. They might expound on their declarations a little ("I'll spend the rest of my life making you glad you stayed", that kind of thing) but only one of them really got into it and said something about how the heroine had broken him, and she needed to stay to put him back together. Or something. Which he only did for her, because he knew how much she liked the flowery stuff.

I'm just not a particularly romantic person, I don't think. And while my heroes are usually rather chatty in general, when it comes to this I prefer a man to let his actions speak for him. :-)

9:12 AM  
Blogger December/Stacia said...

Oh, I forgot. My demon quotes poetry--but he freely admits he's quoting poetry in an attempt to seduce the heroine. So I don't think it fully counts, even though he does like poetry.

9:13 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

Oh man, I MUST get that book! What a scene! In my current WIP, I just noticed my hero has said it two or three times, but she hasn't. I'm going to have to pay special attention to that big moment!

1:14 PM  
Blogger Jennifer McK said...

You know, I'm a total sap. Maybe because my redneck is a complete sap too. When he told me he loved me, it was straight out of a Harlequin Superromance. LOL.
I prefer the declarations to fit the character and when I write them, I struggle with that.
Often, the hero ends up sounding very stilted.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Missie said...

I do love me some sappyful dialogue when the hero finally says it, but only if it seems to go with his character. I cannot stand when the hero is basically a caveman with a cell phone, then when TBM comes, he turns into a Hallmark card. Blech.

I do like the realistic big moments better, because I think we can relate to them.

1:45 PM  

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