Sunday, March 26, 2017

Romance Tropes by Christa Tomlinson

Tropes. What are they? They’re what helps us recognize what a story will be about. They also help us identify whether or not we’ll like the general plot that the author has created. Or as Wikipedia says: The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clich├ęs in creative works. Here’s a small sample of tropes in the romance genre. I bet you’ve read or can recognize them all.

Secret baby

Friends to lovers

Enemies to lover

Office romance

Opposites attract

Mistaken Identity
Fake Engagement

Tropes get a bad rep, especially from outsiders to the romance novel world. People set them up as a way to show how romance novels are all the same. But I disagree. First, although the general idea may be the same, no two novels are alike. You can ask five different authors to write you a secret baby romance, and you’ll wind up with five very different stories. One of them might have an alien baby. One of them might have a single dad. One of them might have a woman who found an alien baby abandoned by its single dad.

Second, tropes are everywhere, not just in romance. Good looking fella who goes on a quest for treasure and artifacts, facing danger along the way? The Mummy. Or Raiders of the Lost Ark. Or National Treasure. Or Three Kings. Or… well, you get the idea. 

For creative types, tropes are a great way to build the foundation for the book, movie, or play that will spring forth. For readers, they offer a sense of familiarity. They let us know if it’s something we’ll enjoy. For example, when I’m book browsing, I can tell right off from the back cover copy if it’s the type of story I like or like to avoid. Some of my favorites to read are hurt/comfort, friends to lovers and forbidden love. 

As I plan out my stories, I definitely think about what tropes will be included in the plot. Because I love tropes. I'd roll around in them like a puppy in clover if I could. If nothing else, they at least give me a starting point to build from.

What are some of your favorite tropes? Which do you think are over-done in the romance world? Are there any you'd like to see more of or wish would disappear off the face of the earth? Let me know in the comments! 

*Repost from 2014

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1 comment:

  1. I really love hurt/comfort, may/december and insta-love. Yes, I said it. Insta-love! :-)

    I'm not a big fan of fake or mistaken anything, because I don't like misunderstandings and when people in books don't talk to each other. If I never have to read a book with The Big Misunderstanding again, it's too soon :-)

    But in general I can read most tropes as long as they're well written :-)