“Ugh,” I groan, slamming the book against the tabletop. “Not another stupid love triangle. If I ever write a love triangle, shoot me.”
This isn’t the first time I’ve said this, or something like it. In fact, it’s become a bit of a refrain. For example, while driving I randomly snapped. “If I ever write a vampire romance novel, someone is going to have to kill me.”
My mother considered this. “What if it makes you filthy rich and pays for all your college expenses?”
I was unmoved. “Shoot me after. I couldn’t live with myself.”
My literary taboos have expanded to include thoughts in italics, Mary Sues, stalker-ish male leads (unless they’re actually a stalker, in which case it’s awesome), sickly sweet happy endings, and let’s-jump-forward-ten-years epilogues. And I’m sure if I thought about it I could come up with several more.
But here’s the problem. I’ve broken many of my rules, or at least made plans to. Italic thoughts – unfortunately overused in my younger days. Stalker-ish male lead – well, he was funny. “What are you doing outside my window at 9 o’clock at night?!” Good times, good times… The time-jumping epilogue may or may not happen, although it would only jump four or five. And sometimes in a story it’s impossible to avoid the stupid love triangle.
So the only ones I have managed to stay completely clean of are vampire romance novels and Mary Sues. Because those are the lines that must never be crossed.
But I suppose the point I’m trying to make is that you never know where your story will take you. It’s like following a treasure map. If the map tells you to swim through a lake, even if you’ve sworn you’ll never go swimming, will you really turn down a chance at treasure? It’s the same thing – if your book is taking you into forbidden territory, follow it. You can always edit later if you can’t stand the path you chose.