I love Pinellas Writers where I attend a Zoom meeting to critique others and have my own work critiqued.
I don't think there are many members who read or write romance and it shows in their critiques.
I frequently hear - female protag wouldn't do this or that with love interest so soon. Which does not jive with one of the most frequent complaints of romance readers. Namely, main characters didn't meet or get together soon enough.
I frequently hear - couple is spending too much time together too soon. Which, again, does not take into account a complaint that is common amongst romance readers who say - I did not finish the book because main characters are not together enough on the page.
Critiquers used to non-romance books are also bothered by a man being forward: tucking a strand of hair behind a womans ear or kissing too soon.
FYI: book boyfriends are not realistic. They do things women would never tolerate in real life.
They range from:
-ALPHA MALES who are possessive, territorial and claiming five minutes after they meet the woman they want and, though they never force themselves on women, they push aggressively to get consent. Every man Kristen Ashley conjures up to become the love interest of her female characters is this.
From "Rock Chick Revenge":
Luke has Ava handcuffed to his bed and gets called out to work:
"One," he started. "Leaving you cuffed means you can't do anything stupid."
"Two," he continued. "I like thinking of you cuffed naked to my bed."
"Three," he went on. "This won't take long and we'll finish when I get back."
"You leave me cuffed, I'll never speak to you again."
"Babe," now he sounded amused, "that's a good thing. You got a mouth on you."
And yet, they ended up together, happily ever after.
This should come with a warning, though, men in real life should not try this because even if she puts up with it from a book boyfriend, she's likely to call the police on you or, at least, flee and never return.
- BETA MALES are confident but not arrogant and not agressive in pursuit of their women. Consent would be important to them. Jennifer Crusie's men are always like this.
From "Agnes and the Hitman"
"What's that?" Agnes said...
"An armored vehicle-launched bridge." Shane said.
"A bridge?" Agnes lost her breath...
Carpenter and Lisa Livia came out onto the porch. "I was going to complain about the noise," Lisa Livia said..."but now I'm just impressed. Leave it to the army to mechanize an erection."
"Do you mind?" Agnes said, watching the miracle of her bridge literally unfold. "I'm having a moment here."...
"That bridge was built for tanks," Shane told Agnes proudly. "It'll take your wedding traffic and then some. It's even better than the one you had."
"Thank you," Agnes said to him, trying not to sound hero-worship-y.
-SIGMA MALES have strong personalites with a mix of alpha and beta male and they tend to be loners by nature. Jayne Ann Krentz aka Amanda Quick aka Jayne Castle writes sigma male heroes.
I'm not going to include a sample here. The type will become apparent if you read any one of her many books.
You should begin to see that critiques which stray into these areas might work for other genres but if they are used for a romance novel they are actually criticizing the genre itself.
Maybe you want to criticize the genre. Maybe you are one of the multitude of people, especially men, who lack respect for romance novels.
This could dissolve into me ranting because even though twenty-five percent of all books sold every year are romance books, reviewers tend to think they don't deserve space in the world of critical reviews like those in revered publications such as The New York Times. But I won't go there, at least not now.
There is also that portion of the public that looks down on romance novels as the reading fodder of women who are less intelligent than those who read more high-brow work.
For that mistaken portion I would point you to a website that has flourished for more than ten years titled: Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Some time spent on that website will point out flaws in your thinking.
I address this comment to men. If you are one of those men who resents your female significant other reading romance novels - know this: you can easily be replaced.
Two kinds of boyfriends that are frequently found together are book boyfriends and battery operated boyfriends. And, while this combination might not be what she prefers, they do make it possible for women to take care of their needs without the drama that real-life men often bring.