Romance Tropes: Find Your Favorite!

So I’m finally done with revisions (let’s pretend this will really be the last time I’ll revise that WIP, okay?). And, I’m thinking about writing a new book. And thinking about tropes.

Admittedly, I’m a tiny bit obsessed with them. Which is funny, because I don’t tend to write thinking about the common tropes. You might remember an old post about tropes, Tropes: Love Them, Loathe Them.

Anyway, today I wanted to give you a list of some of the most common romance tropes. These can be thought of as storylines / ideas / situational patterns that commonly show up in stories, romances in particular.  I searched for one before, and had trouble finding it, so evidently I didn’t enter the right sequence of words. This time I did, and I found a couple of other author sites that have a fabulous explanation (I’ve shared them below).

Bottom line: many fiction genres use different kinds of tropes that continue to resonate with readers, and somehow seem inherent to that “type” (or genre) of story. It’s what the author does with the tropes, their own personal spin, that can make the story something new and special, even if it makes use of tropes we’ve seen many times before.

  • Secret Baby
  • Reformed Rake
  • Friends-to-lovers
  • Best friends-little-sister-grew up
  • Teacher / Student
  • Billionaire boss
  • Taming the Untameable
  • Alpha hero
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Opposite side of the tracks
  • Boss / employee
  • Friends with benefits
  • Unrequited love
  • One night stand turns into something more
  • Forbidden love
  • plain / average gets the hottie
  • opposites attract
  • marriage of convenience
  • offer she (he) can’t refuse
  • bad boy (or bad girl) with strait-laced
  • reunited lovers
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Cinderella
  • Big Misunderstanding (like Pride and Prejudice)
  • fairy tale re-tellings
  • mutual unrequited love
  • insta-love
  • fated mates
  • amnesia
  • second chance at love
  • secret romance
  • first love
  • rescue
  • stranded
  • eccentric family
  • virgin and the rake
  • wounded hero
  • nerds / betas
  • twins
  • twins/ look-alikes impersonating each other
  • woman pretending to be a man
  • blackmail
  • make-over
  • sudden inheritance
  • instant baby / parenthood
  • revenge
  • runaway bride
  • pretending to be married

For most romance readers (and writers too), we have some favorite tropes we return to, intentionally or not. For me, I can’t resist a good marriage of convenience. 🙂 I also really like the wounded hero, Beauty and the Beast scenario (where the Beauty is able to “tame” and help heal the Beast), and unrequited love (often with best-friend’s-sister-grew-up tied in.) There are also tropes that I’m not a fan of, like: secret baby, revenge, and friends with benefits. Still, I’ve read books (and written them) with these tropes, because sometimes it seems to matter more HOW an author employs them than the original trope itself.

On my hunt today, I also found two fabulous lists of tropes that I wanted to share with you. These authors also provide a bit more of an explanation for some of the tropes that are a bit less obvious.

Mindy Klasky has a very complete and fabulous list of romance tropes.

Amalie Berline also has a nice list, which she’s also sorted / categorized, which is an interesting and informative way to consider tropes.

So now it’s your turn: do you write considering different tropes, or do you only see how your story might fall into those tropes after the story is complete? Are there some big tropes I’m missing from my list? What are some of your favorites and least favorite?

Thanks for reading, and wishing you all a great week. Happy writing out there! 🙂