Romance Visuals: Thank God for Gifs

As the gif review has become more and more common, I've seen some readers who think it is completely excellent, and some who hate all the giffing. I can understand both perspectives.

But I got to thinking that this was actually quite a boon to the romance community, all this animated visualization.

NOW we know what some scenes in romance novels and some common cliches LOOK like. Or, if we don't, we can add some excellent visuals to make the cliches that much more powerful! Carrie, Elyse, RedHeadedGirl, Amanda and I, we're here to help. 

For example: you know in the Christine Feehan novels when the Carpathians dance some intricate pattern of steps to cast a spell or remove a spell or stymie some bad dude? They dance a lot.

What does that look like? 

Now we know:

The dude from the Big Lebowski dancing in a sleeveless white shirt and tool belt

 

Or maybe: 

Bieber dancing by thrusting his hips and I have no idea what else

 

No, no, the Carpathian spell-casting feet shuffle is TOTALLY this: 

Carlton in a red sweater dancing back and forth shooting his arms out from his shoulders

 

But you know, it's NOT just the Carpathian dance that we can illustrate visually. There's MORE. The possibilities are endless!

In a romantic suspense, the bad guys are after the hero and heroine, danger lurks around every page turn… but there is SO TOTALLY TIME for sex in the stairwell! 

Or, as we call it: DANGER BONER.

Animation of dude saying I am sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of my giant throbbing erection

 

Then there's one of my least favorite lines that I've read way, way too often: he'd been too long without a woman.

Ick.

I mean, not only is it really gross, because apparently any warm and available hole will do, but really, if he needs to get off so badly, grab a sock and some lotion and go find the bathroom, dude. Leave “a woman” out of it and take care of your own business.

But no, many a romance hero has been too long without a woman.

Now, I can picture this: 

A skeleton dressed in red with a giant feather hat checking out some ladies

 

Got some smoldering gazes? We got that covered:

 

Tyra Banks giving someone a really weird wide-eyed look

 

And when there's an evil glint in someone's eyes, or he has a “dark gaze,” you can picture this: 

 

Dude from Supernatural's eyes going all black as demon possesses him.

 

She takes one look and knows it won't fit. There's no way! 

 

Animated gif showing correct way to insert USB plug.

 

 

The heroine wears sexy undergarments as her “one concession to femininity:” 

 

Jake Gyllenhaal ripping off his pants to reveal some very right blue shorts underneath

 

 

Dance as old as time?

Colin Mochrie from Whose Line is it Anyway dancing by jumping his legs apart forwrd and back

 

The hero and heroine will have a FAKE RELATIONSHIP and possibly also MEANINGLESS SEX… which always never works out the way they want because 

 

A little girl pound the window with flat palms captioned FEELINGS

 

Baby filled epilogue? You know someone's in the background of that small town filled with perfectly happy people saying the following: 

Woman from 30 Rock saying And I'll tell you something else, she's got a good solid baby bucket

 

Aren't gifs something to be thankful for? I think so. What other romance cliches can you illustrate now? 

 

Categorized:

General Bitching...

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  1. 1
    Sarita says:

    This made me giggle :) I particularly liked The Dude’s vampire dance. Also, what does it say about me that I think Jensen Ackles is hotter with the demon eyes?

  2. 2
    Sandy James says:

    Heavens, I needed a good laugh to start my day!

    Love, love, love the gif reviews! As a teacher, I can tell you…visuals make a HUGE difference in getting a message across! So please keep ‘em coming! (Horribly inappropriate pun. Sorry.)

  3. 3

    I firmly belong to the group of people who LOVE gif reviews. I think they are awesome, and I squeed (loudly) over the first gif review for one of my books. :-)

    Also…

    Carpathians dance when casting a spell??? Obviously, it’s been way too long since I last read a Carpathian novel because I can’t remember anything about dancing. But obviously all that dancing must be designed to make the dastardly villain laugh his head off and thus die an horrid death.

  4. 4

    I LOVE these gifs. Especially the illustrations of the dancing! I will never read those scenes in the same way again. ;)

  5. 5

    Personally, I really dislike them. They’re distracting, when what I want to do is read a review. I don’t bother with giffed reviews any more. Gimmicky. The first few I saw were amusing, but I see the same ones repeated, and the jerky movements when they loop tend to distract my eyes when what I want to do is read.

  6. 6
    Hannah says:

    I think they’re funny in theory, but the images distract me too much to find them useful, when it is a page of one gif after another. If I see a gif review on a site (yes even this one) I don’t bother to read it.

  7. 7
    Natalie Hart says:

    The only place I’ll really read gif reviews is here, because you don’t overdo them, and they’re always topnotch (or that might be because the first gif review I remember reading was the one that was all Jeremy Renner gifs). This one made me laugh out loud so, so many times.

    As for other cliches, how about padding across the floor (on animal paws, of course)?

  8. 8
    Suzanne says:

    I loathe them.  There are reviews over at Goodreads that are just one gif after another.  A lot of times I just decide to skip the book because it’s too hard to find a review without excessive gifs.  Another thing I hate is people who put up pictures of what they think the hero and heroine look like—too often the hero has stringy hair and a lot of stubble.

  9. 9

    @Sandra Schwab:

    Yes, there’s been dancing almost from the start of the series, IIRC. Sporadic at first, but as the series got more into the realm of crazysauce (I stopped somewhere after the 9th or 10th book, when I realized I couldn’t tell the heroes apart anymore) the Carpathian Cultural Committee really kicked in, and now there’s even a fully developed language… Ah, memories. Maybe I should go back and read a few more…

  10. 10
    E. Jamie says:

    I think gif reviews are so fun! And demon Dean? Thank YOU for starting my day off with that delicious dose of hotness.

  11. 11
    Lostshadows says:

    I’m in the don’t like them generally camp. My internet connection isn’t the best, so they can take forever to load if there’s more than two or three. (And there’s generally a lot more than three.) So, I’ve either finished the review before most of them start doing anything, or I’ve given up reading the review because it doesn’t make sense without them and I don’t feel like waiting around for them to load.

    Never finished a Carpathian book, but I’m now picturing them spell casting using the “dance as old as time” gif. :)

  12. 12
    SB Sarah says:

    Oh my God with the padding. People padding everywhere. In every book. MAKE IT STOP.

  13. 13
    Karenmc says:

    Not a huge fan of gifs, but anything that includes Colin Mockrie just doing his job is a win.

  14. 14
    Rosa E. says:

    I seem to recall a discussion of romance cliches a while back that covered the “padding” thing. Didn’t it basically end with people agreeing that if you’re talking about someone walking around in socks, there isn’t really a better word?

    No excuse for “flat male nipples,” though. But I’m not sure how you’d gif that.

    Personally, I’m ‘meh’ on gif reviews. I like them well enough when they’re from a reviewer or site I trust (like this one), but out in the wilds of the Internet, gifs are often used as a substitute for actual wit.

  15. 15
    Rosa E. says:

    I seem to recall a discussion of romance cliches a while back that covered the “padding” thing. Didn’t it basically end with people agreeing that if you’re talking about someone walking around in socks, there isn’t really a better word?

    No excuse for “flat male nipples,” though. But I’m not sure how you’d gif that.

    Personally, I’m ‘meh’ on gif reviews. I like them well enough when they’re from a reviewer or site I trust (like this one), but out in the wilds of the Internet, gifs are often used as a substitute for actual wit.

  16. 16

    I love them! One of my favorite reviews is a gif review. I wish I could remember which book, or why the reviewer did it, but though it was a 3-star (I think), she had a gif of Leo DiCaprio making a toast. It was hilarious. Apparently, I did something she thought toast-worthy. The smirk on his face was priceless. Now I’m bummed I forgot which book!

  17. 17
    Christine says:

    Gifs frequently hit me in the funny bone, but I realized pretty quickly that if a book has gif-heavy positive reviews on Goodreads… I won’t like it. So that’s a useful litmus test for me, at least.

  18. 18
    SB Sarah says:

    Maybe if we picture an image like this, the use of “padding” to describe barefoot characters will stop being so prevalent:

  19. 19
    Miranda says:

    I love the gif reviews!

  20. 20
    Miranda says:

    I love the gif reviews!

  21. 21
    harthad says:

    OK, I am officially a Dirty Old Woman, because all I can think about now are Jeremy Renner gifs.

  22. 22
    Christine E says:

    Thank you for Colin Mochrie!  I so miss that show “whose line is it anyway’ :-)

  23. 23
    SB Sarah says:

    OMG. Via Sadie Mason-Smith on Twitter:

    NOW THAT is PADDING.

  24. 24
    Dread Pirate Rachel says:

    Somebody at SBTB knows that the way to my heart is via Dean Winchester gifs. I love you ladies.

  25. 25
    Dread Pirate Rachel says:

    Somebody at SBTB knows that the way to my heart is via Dean Winchester gifs. I love you ladies.

  26. 26
    Rosa E. says:

    I don’t have any problem with ‘padding’ because, at least when you’re talking about a character in socks, it’s hard to think of another word that adequately expresses the motion. No excuse for ‘flat male nipples,’ though. (How do you gif that?)

    As for gif reviews, I’m neutral overall. I like them when they’re done by people and websites I already know as funny, but tend to avoid them out in the wilds of the Internet. And I hope the snarky-gif-in-lieu-of-response-to-reasoned-argument trend dies a horribly fiery death.

  27. 27
    denise says:

    thanks for the laughs!

  28. 28
    denise says:

    lolol love them! you’re cracking me up.

  29. 29
    Sara says:

    My thoughts on SBTB GIF reviews:

    To reiterate my point:

  30. 30
    Sara says:

    My thoughts on SBTB GIF reviews:

    [removed]var _giphy = _giphy || []; _giphy.push({id: ‘IgQkwsPRbW6Ri’,w: 356, h: 200});var g = document.createElement(‘script’); g.type = ‘text/javascript’; g.async = true;g.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://’ : ‘http://’) + ‘giphy.com/static/js/widgets/embed.js’;var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s[removed].insertBefore(g, s);[removed]

    To reiterate my point:

    [removed]var _giphy = _giphy || []; _giphy.push({id: ‘sH1t0npHDzbS8’,w: 300, h: 169});var g = document.createElement(‘script’); g.type = ‘text/javascript’; g.async = true;g.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://’ : ‘http://’) + ‘giphy.com/static/js/widgets/embed.js’;var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s[removed].insertBefore(g, s);[removed]

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