We’re all aware that tropes used in many romance stories, right? Tropes are a plot device that provide a bit of structure. In romance, that’s structure that fleshes out the basic formula of “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl.”
I thought it would be fun to look at some popular tropes and highlight various Inspy Romance authors who’ve written stories that fit. Or almost fit, because we wouldn’t want to be too predictable. As authors, it’s fun to see how we can take established formulas and tropes and give them a unique spin. Sometimes we can combine several tropes in one story. Yup, we are that talented a bunch!
The reunion trope looks like it’s the most popular one with Inspy Romance authors! This story line involves a couple who dated and might even have been engaged at one time. Now they meet again, and the attraction is as strong as ever, but whatever it was that broke them up in the past still needs to be dealt with.
A Pinch of Promise by Elizabeth Maddrey
A Romance Rekindled by Kimberly Rose Johnson
The Little Black Wedding Dress by Lindi Peterson
The Wedding List by Autumn Macarthur
More Than a Tiara by Valerie Comer
Second Chance Reunion by Merrillee Whren
A Soldier’s Reunion by Cheryl Wyatt
Unraveled by Heidi McCahan
Second Time Around by JoAnn Durgin
Her Reunion Bond by Lee Tobin McClain
An Aria for Nick by Hallee Bridgeman
A Recipe for Family by Lynette Sowell
Can you imagine a reason not to tell your baby’s dad that he’s fathered a child? What happens when he finds out some time later? That’s the driving force behind the secret baby trope, a subset of the reunion trope.
Enmity to Romance
Marriage of convenience
This story line features a couple that is usually married early in the story, but for “convenience,” not love. The reasons a contemporary couple might marry without being in love are fewer than in historical times, so this one is harder to pull off.
An Unexpected Blessing by Merrillee Whren
More common than a contemporary couple marrying for convenience is faking dating or an engagement for convenience. They plan all along to have a public breakup before the wedding, but what if one falls for the other while they are pretending?
Left at the Altar
This trope involves runaway brides or jilted brides. In other words, either the bride or the groom gets cold feet and leaves the other at the very last minute. In this trope, the character finds love with a different character, not the one jilted.
Island Refuge by Kimberly Rose Johnson
The Heart’s Homecoming by Merrillee Whren
Falling for the Farmer by Narelle Atkins
The Bride’s Broken Bond by Lee Tobin McClain
Love is a Battlefield by Annalisa Daughety
Rich and Poor
Here you’ll find an extremely wealthy character falling in love with someone very poor. Usually it’s the hero who’s rich, but not always!
This has undercurrents of the rich/poor trope, but the rich person lives a life in the limelight. He or she is either a professional athlete, a movie star, a music star, or some other celebrity. The other character not only needs to deal with the class difference, but with paparazzi and exuberant fans.
Believe in Me (movie star) by Autumn Macarthur
A Valentine for Kayla (music star) by Kimberly Rose Johnson
Kept by Sally Bradley (baseball star – though he is not the hero!)
Starlight, Star Bright (soccer star) by JoAnn Durgin
Covering Home (baseball star) by Heidi McCahan
A Melody for James (music star) by Hallee Bridgeman
Summer’s Song (music star) by Lindi Peterson
This trope may or may not be similar to the rich/poor one, but the class difference doesn’t play as large a role. Here it is usually a single dad (though not always) who falls in love with the person he hires to take care of his child. It’s the addition of children that signifies this trope.
Arranged marriages are quite uncommon in contemporary first world cultures. Most examples of this trope seem to be linked to tales of royalty.
In this trope, the couple have been friends forever. They have fallen for each other, but both are afraid to declare true love for fear of losing their friendship.
Wisdom to Know by Elizabeth Maddrey
Joint Venture by Elizabeth Maddrey
More Than Friends by Autumn Macarthur
Simply Mad by Christina Coryell
Time and Tide by Lynette Sowell
Spring Comes to Barncastle Inn by Lynette Sowell
In this trope, the best man and maid of honor fall in love at the wedding of mutual friends.
Team Bride by Valerie Comer
You’d think by the number of Inspy Romance novels in some of those categories that a reader might get bored and find the stories overly predictable, but I don’t think that’s the case. We might use the trope as a general framework, but the stories are unique and told with our own distinctive voices.
I’m releasing Team Bride (the fourth Riverbend novella) next week, and it’s up for pre-order now. It starts out with the heroine as maid-of-honor and hero as best man meeting at their mutual friends’ wedding — Lindsey and Nick from Secretly Yours, if you’ve been following the series. But that’s only the beginning. There was still plenty of room for a twist toward the end — a twist that sets it apart from most other stories that fit this trope. I think you’ll find the same with any of the stories listed above. They’ll have certain things in common with the titles named above and below them, but there’s a fresh spin in each one.
Comment below with your favorite romance trope. Did you find something new to read today in that style? Tell me which book linked above you would like to read, and one winner will receive her choice!