My rating: 2 of 5 stars
To make The Winter Lord, you will need:
-A really beautiful cover to make readers insta-buy before they read the excerpt.
-2lb of stale tropes, including my personal favorite, “It’s Not Rape If He Likes It”, which should be applied early on in the book to really hook your reader. Make sure to throw in the Tragic Backstory to make the reader feel bad about the MC being enslaved and raped, then dismiss it when the MC has rationalized the rape and enslavement.
-5 or 6 sex scenes, as samey as possible, in order to pad out the page count.
-A love interest that starts out as a Rapey Soul-Stealing Overlord but is humanized by the Tragic Backstory of the MC and changed into a caring, sensitive, formally misunderstood guy by The Power Of Love.
-A cliche self-sacrifice in which nothing is actually sacrificed and everybody goes home to live Happily Ever After.
-A few observations about how pretty and delicate the love interest appears to be, so clearly he must bottom during sex. Make sure to point out that he’s much more attractive to the MC when he appears more masculine.
-A villain with absolutely no personality other than being a Spurned Former Love Interest.
-Add a dash of Norse mythology references and generic fantasy races for color.
Mix all of these together with some competent language until you have a fine, flavorless dough, roll it out, and use your cookie-cutter to make some standard, uninspired shapes. Cook at 350 degrees for 2 hours, then sell to a publisher.