Mention tropes around a group of readers or writers and everyone seems to perk up a little. Folks often have strong opinions about the best and worst and readily give their opinion when asked. But what do our favorite tropes reveal about us?
By definition, a trope is a particular theme an author uses in their book. These themes can apply to the plot or characters. Books can include more than one trope, but in the romance genre tropes are often identified in relation to the two main characters.
The other day, while thinking about this post, I thought about the tropes I’ve written. Of the eight contemporary Christian romance books I’ve published, how do the tropes break down? Do I have a clear favorite? Is there one I’ve not used—and any reason I’ve avoided it? And what might my tropes say about me as a writer or a romantic?
I took a quick inventory of my book’s tropes. For the sake of today’s conversation, I’m mostly focusing on the character relationship/dynamic tropes.
- Someplace Familiar: friends-to-more
- Suddenly Forever: neighbors-to-more, introvert/extrovert, forced proximity
- Someone Found: sunshine/grump, optimist/pessimist
- Say It’s For Good: second-chance romance, fake relationship
- Somehow This Christmas: engaged couple, getting-to-the-altar
- An Unscripted Christmas: second-chance romance, married couple
- Just Like That: city/country, opposites attract
- Gwen and the Three Dates: friends-to-more
Friends-to-more and some version of opposites attract are my most used tropes. But why? What might they reveal about me?
By and large, I’m not a fan of drama within my friendships, marriage, or other relationships. While every story needs some type of conflict or challenge, writing characters who start out as friends naturally removes layers of drama that feel more uncomfortable to me. I also believe that the purest romantic love can grow from a foundation in friendship—seeing things you admire in a person turn into affection.
The opposites attract trope is the other that repeats in my writing in various ways. To me, there’s no mystery as to why I often write this one. My husband and I are, in many ways, opposites. I’m an introvert and he’s an extrovert. I’m emotional and he’s logical. I’m a worrier and he’s more carefree. I could go on and on about ways we’re different. Our romance is unlikely. Why would two people different in so many ways end up happy together? This trope intrigues me because, like my own relationship, opposites who attract defy the odds. These characters must make extra effort to focus more on how their love brings them together than how their differences separate them.
What are your favorite tropes? Least favorite? What do you think they reveal about you? I’d also love to hear about a favorite book that uses your favorite trope!
One reader will win an ebook copy of one of my Laurel Cove Romance Series books, winner’s choice. Choose from Someplace Familiar, Suddenly Forever, Someone Found, or Say It’s For Good. Open to anyone with a valid email address. To enter, leave a comment below answering one of the above discussion questions. Entries close Monday, August 7. Winner will be contacted by email soon after.