Discussion Unnecessary romance in novels

Discussion in 'Novel General' started by Kelsealoufromkalamazoo, Aug 14, 2022.

  1. Kelsealoufromkalamazoo

    Kelsealoufromkalamazoo Active Member

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    Now I have no problem with novels about romance, have it as a sub genre, or use it as plot. It can also be used for character growth. But when it’s just thrown into a story where it doesn’t fit (or is written poorly), I feel like it hurts the story. If it doesn’t, why do I see comments under action novels that say “No harem no b****** pls”. I love reading, so it is painful to see these novels with great potential become so tasteless. It becomes even more painful when my aroace a** has to read it T.T
     
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  2. Avgust

    Avgust —That sinking feeling you get—

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    I like love between people who are on opposing sides. Betrayal whatever they choose.
     
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  3. Smile_for_me

    Smile_for_me Isekai enthusiast/ knovel lover

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    The "harem in action and adventure stories" ruined so many novels for me so bad i think it developed into a trauma lol. Whenever i read actions novels now that shows a wee bit of harem in it i start searching for spoilers so that i can see if its gonna be okay or its just gonna become a big circus (which i dont do as long as theres tl)
     
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  4. Avgust

    Avgust —That sinking feeling you get—

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    A lot of people say they hate harem because it was poorly written. To be completely honest, i have never seen a well-written harem.
     
  5. rhianirory

    rhianirory Well-Known Member

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    I've seen one, though YMMV on that one since there was no romance through most of the story and in the end he had clones and each of the three women got their own version of him.
    I end up dropping most harems when it changes from action/adventure to ecchi rom-com with no plot progression so now I just filter it out most of the time.
    at the moment I'm enjoying the few NO CP stories I've been able to find on the site.
     
  6. hypersniper159

    hypersniper159 Well-Known Member

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    Why is it that harems are never good? I read some action/harem novels where each girl has a different personality, but even then it feels like the love is a conscience of the fighting/action, which adds nothing to the story, making it burdensome and melodramatic. Perhaps another issue is that in LNs, the mc never goes through a character arc, which results in the romance feeling stiff and one-sided. Maybe it's that the author writes as if every harem member has to get with the mc eventually. But I am just throwing guesses into the air.
     
  7. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    While I've seen plenty of books get ruined by a romance, I've mostly encountered this in female-oriented Romance novels. These books are good and fine until boom! The romance rears its ugly head to dominate the story but the relationship between the leads sucks so the story just ends up being unreadable. I've never seen it really be all that big a deal in the stories about action. In those, the book tends to be bad to begin with, and any romantic relationships aren't enough to save them. To be fair, I was more willing to read bad Romance novels than bad male-oriented novels, but that's not much of a caveat.

    It's probably just because you're reading bad books. If the writer is concentrating on giving all of the female characters different personalities then they probably don't understand what they should be trying to accomplish with them so it's no surprise that the book is going to end up bad.

    Realistically, the key to writing a good harem novel isn't much of a secret. All the writer has to do is to make good female characters and allow them to have interesting relationships with the protagonist. Yeah, this is hard to do, but mostly only because the writer doesn't want to put in the effort. I find that these books tend to have a lot of solid female characters and because I always seek them out, I tend to find quite a few decent harem novels. Heck, I just finished reading one last week.
     
  8. xuexxi

    xuexxi Well-Known Member

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    i assume it’s just fanservice. these sort of novels mainly target (het) male readers, and since it’s just quick fanservice, the author doesn’t bother to add depth to the characters and, well, they aren’t here for a well-written romances or female characters at that
     
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  9. Mr gentleman

    Mr gentleman Ok

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    I usually avoid novel that have harem and romance tags :blobpeek: So can't say that I know how you feel. But I'm glad I didn't read them.
     
  10. hypersniper159

    hypersniper159 Well-Known Member

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    I must disagree, mainly because in action LN there is no goal/plot, it's more focused on cool people doing cool things. In a sense, giving them different personalities is something they all need so they don't turn into echos of one another. In that sense there is no plot structure to follow. "ll the writer has to do is to make good female characters and allow them to have interesting relationships with the protagonist. " I've seen this also and the novel turns sour also. For example, "The Demon Prince...", the female characters are distinct, and do have unique relationships with the protag, but it still turns out awful. I think the novels you are reading are more romance focused than action focus, and in turn the romance has a goal to set and achieve while action does not.
     
  11. DustySpiral

    DustySpiral Active Member

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    I feel that is more a sign of a bad action LN, or at least one that is very heavily catering to the subset of readers looking to self-insert as an all-powerful MC and treat the world as a relaxing toybox. In the really long LN the goal/plot may change quite drastically over time but there usually IS one.

    The best description I've seen of harem wrt action/adventure/etc series is that it's multiple characters filling the same niche - "love interest". So either they split the screen-time, resulting in none of them getting sufficiently developed, or you give each of them the full amount of screen-time as a singular love interest.

    That second option can easily create the situation you described - all the love interests are properly developed but the novel is still wrecked because the progression of everything else (including the other love interest subplots!) has slowed to a crawl.

    There are also the authors that try to resolve this by having all of the love interests fulfill other narrative roles as well, with the love interest bit being a smaller aspect of their character. This could avoid wrecking the pacing but the romance is likely extremely shallow unless the harem size is very small.

    -----------------

    That isn't even getting into the difficulty of making it work, which is more complicated than ToastedRossi made it sound. It's not sufficient to just grab a random pile of well-developed female characters, a random interesting ML that will have interesting interactions with the female characters, and a random setting. At the very least it needs to resolve the issue of why the women don't just find another guy that isn't already with, like, 7 other women and handle what interactions the women have with each other (or why they never interact). Well, unless TR was filing all of that under "interesting relationships".
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2022
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  12. ludagad

    ludagad Addicted to escapist novels

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    I don't mind romance, but it can be a bit annoying if it comes out of nowhere. I prefer some build-up toward it. As for why harems are rarely well-written... I suppose it's difficult for male authors, even in their wish-fulfillment fantasies, to come up with valid reasons for several hot, powerful, and talented women to be alright with sharing a dick. In the first place, very few male authors can actually empathize with a female character and understand her psychologically, or "inhabit" a female character and see the world through her eyes in order to find out how she'd behave. As those authors grew up, they watched and read the "default" media that's made by men, for men, and with male main leads. I wonder how many of them have read a book like Pride and Prejudice. Anyway. So they resort to tropes and flimsy reasons. In any case, if you're willing to overlook those things, and see the harem members as the trophy achievements they are, harems can still be a decent read. It's like MC unlocks a new area, defeats the boss and gets the reward, then moves on to the next area. It's really not about love or romance. It's more about conquering/power and sex (on some occasions). So I never equated harems with romance and they never bothered me. I don't read them on purpose, but if they happen in the novel I'm reading, it's whatever. As long as it doesn't turn from an action fantasy into a harem management, cause that's not the genre shift I've signed up for when I start a novel -_-.
     
  13. hypersniper159

    hypersniper159 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry I worded that wrongly; you are correct. The ones I have been reading recently feel that there is no overarching goal. For example, "White Dragon Lord" I read the spoilers and there is an overarching plot way later on, but I don't see any hints of it within the first 100 chapters so I dropped it. Same with, "The Divine Hunter" I guess the right wording is, 'the build-up is poorly done.'

    Just based on reading the rest of your post, I guess the best way to make a harem-action LN is to have around 3k chapters to fully develop everything. Thank you, your explanation is quite insightful.
     
  14. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    The point is that these books are intrinsically bad to begin with. They can't be salvaged with character interactions or anything like that because they can't be salvaged with anything. No, I'm talking about writers who show some promise to begin with, and how they can and should be refining their craft.

    Here let me give you an example from that book I just finished. One of the love interests has to pretend to be a eunuch in the Imperial palace and near the beginning of the story she engineers a coup to remove the emperor and makes his son the new emperor. She controls this new emperor as a puppet and is one of the few people who actually care about the welfare of the empire. But everyone hates her as an interloper and usurper so a number of enemies ambush and try to kill her. She survives the attack but gets injured and is forced out of power. Throughout the story she helps the protagonist from time to time but she still has her own goals separate from him. She's a really cool character and a lot of this comes from how well she can be defined even without talking about the protagonist, and it's characters like this that can add a ton to their stories.

    The idea itself is pretty simple. It's just that executing on it can be really hard, but that can be said of just about any writing device. The biggest problem with harem novels is that the people writing them tend to be bad at writing relationships to begin with, so making these relationships all that much more complex can only exacerbate their lack of quality.
     
  15. hypersniper159

    hypersniper159 Well-Known Member

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    At this point we are just listing our preferences. The novel you just described sound like Mistborn, the eastern version. Mind you, Mistborn is a highly acclaimed novel by the western audience. However I hate it, but I wont call it bad, regardless of how long I can harp on it.
     
  16. ShadowAscetic

    ShadowAscetic Well-Known Member

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    I hate romance in childrearing trope, especially if the romance is between the guardian and the child, even when the child has become adult. It irks me how the child mistaken the guardian's responsibility as love yet the supposed-to-be guardian didn't correct their mindset before they grow up, resulting in a distorted relationship and entanglement between the two. Istg I only want to read sweet family moments not pseudo-incest romance
     
  17. ragingphoenix

    ragingphoenix Well-Known Member

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    If you're talking about requests, saying "no harem please" is just an easy way to weed out bad writing or writing not to the OP's tastes.

    Some good action-oriented romance novels with harems exist (uhh, probably) but chances are pretty high webnovel writers can't do both types of development well. So saying 'no harem' is just a way to weed out novels centered around collecting Pokemon. Especially because in this sphere of webnovels (the ones that come out of Asia) harems tend to be about collecting Pokemon forever, not about dating someone for awhile and then splitting up to date someone else.
     
  18. Kelsealoufromkalamazoo

    Kelsealoufromkalamazoo Active Member

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    The amount of times I have seen that in manwha/manga is kinda concerning. Especially when people argue that it’s okay in some way, ignoring the morality of the situation 凸( ̄ヘ ̄)
     
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  19. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

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    See, I like reading bad novels just fine, but I can't see much reason for looking them the same way I'd look at books that actually show promise.
     
  20. God slayer

    God slayer New Member

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    Lol. I dropped a revenge novel couple of days ago because out of nowhere it introduced a FL and then the plot forced the protagonist to 'love' her. I was like "Nope that's it bud. I have enough of this bs. I'm out of here". I mean romance in a novel where protagonists goal is to take revenge even at the expense of his own life? Where he is totally blinded by hatred? Where he doesn't give a s#it bout anyone at all? Yeah. Sure. Romance and this type of plot fits perfectly. I wouldn't have minded it much if she wasn't forced on the protagonists head. But it was too much forced. Ruined a perfect novel.