Romance tropes—commonly occurring themes, devices, or *gasp* clichés—get a bad rap outside of romance reading circles…and often, even inside of them. I’ll admit, sometimes tropes that are blatantly highlighted in the cover art or title make me cringe. But the tropes themselves, the hooks or the romance premise? If they’re done well and made to feel organic to the characters and the plot, they can add an extra dose of depth and, well, yumminess to the story. Sometimes I love me a good romance trope.
As an author, when I’m coming up with story ideas for a particular set of characters (which I always come up with first), sometimes going “trope shopping” can help spark ideas for my plot. I have a list of tropes and hooks that I’ve gathered over the years, and I often pull it out to see if anything flashes neon lights to me as needing to be added to my story.
Revenge plot line? Amnesia? Pregnancy? Bad boy or girl? Marriage of convenience? Mistaken identity? Secrets?
Just reading through the possibilities makes my storytelling brain kick into gear. And I’ll admit, there are certain tropes that, when alluded to or mentioned outright in the back cover copy, make me choose to buy or read a particular book over another.
My favorites? In no particular order, my 5 Favorite Romance Tropes are:
Reunion—When the hero and heroine were involved in the past and have been apart due to…something. Hopefully something Big and Juicy. Something that can’t be solved with a single conversation. Something that makes them dig deep within and decide that the conflict that was strong enough to pull them apart before is…not strong enough to keep them apart now. The payoff after years of history…good stuff!
Friends to Lovers—If it’s set up well enough that we can believe there’s a good reason these two never got together in the past, then watching two friends cross the line into love that has the power to last for a lifetime is rewarding and scrumptious.
Man in Uniform—Military heroes are my favorite, but I love firefighters as well (which is why I wrote seven of them). Sometimes a good cop story will do it, too. Watching these alpha/macho guys fall for a suitable (or sometimes unsuitable) woman…swoon-worthy.
Friend’s Brother (or Sister)—My favorite is when the crush on the best friend’s brother dates back to adolescence. Watching characters and feelings that evolve from an idealistic teenage crush to lasting adult love, especially if the best friend isn’t all in favor, for some reason gives me shivers. Good ones.
Lone wolf hero (or heroine)—Most lone wolf characters have a tortured past that has caused them to isolate themselves. I love seeing the walls come down at the hands (or other body parts) of the other character, brick by brick. There’s nothing better than a lost soul being saved by love.
So what about you? Are there any tropes that make a book a must-read for you? Cowboys? Opposites attract? Boss/secretary? Jilted bride or groom? Quest? Fake engagement? Anyone have a top 5 to share?