Let’s Talk Bookish: Romance as a Sub-Plot

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we get to discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts! I’ve listed the upcoming topics in brief at the end of my post, but check out these pages for more information on November 2020 prompts & a list of past prompts!

Now without further ado… This week’s topic asks us about:


Examples: Why do you think romance is the most common subplot? Do you think romance subplots take away from the main story, or add to it? Do you prefer stories without any romance in them? Is romance better as a subplot or as a main plot?

I love love. I might come off as a little bit cynical or jaded when it comes to love in real life, but deep down I’m truly a hopeless romantic 😂 It’s pretty obvious how much I love the romance genre because when you take a peek at my Goodreads, my read list is full of it! I feel like when it comes to romance though there are a lot of people that seem to take issue with it and don’t like it in their stories, especially when it comes to YA, but perhaps that’s because it’s always there whether it’s “needed” or not.

Why is the romance sub-plot so popular?

I never gave it much thought before and I’m not really sure why… But perhaps it’s because at one point or another romance is something that many readers can relate to whether they’ve experienced it themselves, or they’ve seen others go through that experience. Or maybe it’s also those happy and heartwarming feelings that romance brings? I think it’s also probably the easiest device for authors to use to endear readers more to their characters and to make them more realistic–although whether its well done or not is another thing!

does a romance sub-plot take away from the main story, or add to it?

As I mentioned at the start, I’m all about the love and while before I would’ve said “romance makes everything better” *cough* I now think that it really depends on the story and how well the romance is written. If written well, the romance doesn’t take away from the main story but successfully adds to the character arcs and increases the stakes (in a good way). Maybe it’s because I read a lot of YA fantasy and contemporary but I feel like, more often than not, they always have a romance sub-plot that often doesn’t feel needed. It doesn’t necessarily take away from the main story, but it also doesn’t add anything. I think it’s really easy for romance to over-take the main story though, and I’ve seen it happen quite a few times. It gets tedious when the MC ends up constantly thinking about romancing their love interest, then they start making ridiculous non-sensical decisions, the love drama gets too intense, and then it basically ends up not being fun anymore. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Do you prefer stories without any romance in them?

There are times that I feel the author throws in romance because it’s expected and that’s when I find myself getting frustrated with the romance sub-plot. This is especially the case when the romance feels forced or when the romance exists ‘for the sake of having romance’. So I never thought I’d say it but I’m starting to prefer stories without the romance sub-plot in them! *Gasp! I know…* That’s not to say I won’t read fantasies or other genres without romance in them, but it’s also okay for those stories to just be fantasy or historical without romance. That said…

romance as the main plot for the win!

Let’s be real, I’m still all about the romance. I love the feel-good and heartwarming vibes that romance brings to a story. I love to swoon and giggle at the romantic (and steamy) gestures between our love interests, and I don’t think any of that’s gonna change anytime soon. But if I do go looking for romance, I’m going to seek it out in stories where romance is the main plot, whether it’s historical romance, contemporary romance, or romantic fantasy, because too often lately the romance sub-plot leaves me feeling more than a little “meh”.

So, what do you think? Is the romance sub-plot a yay or nay for you? Do you think it takes away from the main story? Do you prefer your stories without romance in them? Keen to hear your thoughts!