My 5 Favorite Romance Tropes: Tell Me Yours! (Post by Anna)
I love romance novels. Duh, right? I’d loved reading them long before I started writing them, though for a long time I didn’t realize I loved romances. As a teenager, I devoured classic sci-fi by great writers like Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury; I also loved mysteries in the vein of Mary Higgins Clark. As I got older, though, my tastes began to change — or so I thought.
Though my reading habits had changed, I realized I’d always hungered for fictional romance. One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Hart to Hart, a mystery series about a glitzy couple who adored each other. Last year, when the Hallmark Movie Channel began replaying the show, I watched it again and was surprised to discover (or rediscover) how sexy some of the banter between the couple was. Witty and sexy, without being vulgar. We romance writers of today could learn a lot about dialogue by watching Hart to Hart.
Reliving an old favorite reminded me of the long journey I took to become a romance writer. All of my fiction, even the adventure novels I write under my real name (tickle me long enough and I might tell you that name) included a hefty dose of romance. The books I gravitated to more and more were romances. I gave up sci-fi for Jayne Castle, Karen Marie Moning, and Cathy Maxwell. I still read sci-fi on occasion, but my grown-up tastes have returned to my roots — from Hart to Hart to Isaac Asimov, and back around to Hart to Hart.
Now, after years of reading and writing romance novels, I’ve discovered my favorite tropes (themes). Some of these I’ve already written into my own books, while others await my characters in the future.
My Top 5 Romance Tropes
- Friends to lovers. What’s hotter than lifelong friends who suddenly realize they can’t keep their hands off each other? I first wrote this trope in my short story Tempted by a Kiss; I’ve written it again in the novel-length version of that story, Fired Up.
- Amnesia. Okay, anyone who’s read Willpower, Intuition, or any of the Reborn series knows I love this trope. Lacking critical memories, of your true love or your worst enemy, provides a fun way to knock the heroine (or hero) off kilter.
- Second chances. This uber-romantic trope features prominently in both Willpower and Intuition, but more so in the latter. In Willpower, David and Grace get another chance at romance. But a second chance can also mean redemption for a past sin, and this is the sort of chance David prays for in Intuition.
- Enemies to lovers. I haven’t written this one yet, but it’s in the works. Being enemies doesn’t mean the hero and heroine must hate each other’s guts in the beginning; it simply means they’re on opposite sides of a battle or significant issue. Mistrust can also make them enemies, as in my upcoming time travel romance.
- Love triangle. Though for a book to be a true romance the heroine and hero must have eyes for only each other, a third party can gum up the works. Sometimes, as in my upcoming book The Mortal Falls, the heroine longs for her hero but a terrible revelation pushes her away from — right into the clutches of another man who nurtures a torch for her and, perhaps, tempts her to settle for safety instead of risking her heart and her life for her soul mate.
What are your favorite romance tropes? As always, I love to hear from you so please share your thoughts on this topic in comments.