Why do romance novelists’ and chick-litters cast the word “Rueful” throughout their novels in like manner to that of confetti at a wedding? It’s a word oft used as though it performs some magical rite to proclaim a novelist a true romance novelist because they’ve used rueful as often as possible within their novel!
Oxdord Engllish Dictionary definition Rueful: expressing sorrow, genuine or humorously affected
Roget’s Thesaurus: Rueful in reference to -
be penitent: vb
This horrid needless word is my pet hate. It’s caused me to scream. Yell arrrrhhhh countless times, and it’s had me throw the occasional romance novel at a wall.
Taking all the above into account why would a hero/ine smile ruefully when indulging in a romantic kiss, and prior to the kiss no reference to regret in delay of expressing passion. Equally there is no reference to sorrow for any reason. Neither is s/he penitent for his/her action.
Now, if a hero/ine is taking leave (regrettable circumstance and or conscience pricked) yep, hurrah, slip in a rueful smile by all means.
The same hurrah goes for a hero/ine if regretting lost opportunity of a little romancing: whatever! And, another hurrah goes for rueful character expression in relation to humorous slant on regret etc.
Throughout many romance transcripts few “rueful” come remotely within context to character thought and expression, so why is that beastly little word there?
Please, please, please I say to all romance writers, let a reader see you’ve embraced the joy of extended vocabulary, and icky words like Rueful (within context) are few and far between.
Also, I wish authors of historical romances would check to see if specific words were in use during their chosen era. A good dictionary will have circa: roughly the date the word came into usage.
Grump over with! ;)