How to Keep Romance Tropes Fresh

Romance Tropes – Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?

I was thinking of putting a list of the tropes in this post but since the list is as long as my leg I decided not to.

Some of the most popular are:

Arab Oil Sheikh

I had never heard of this one, but apparently it’s very popular in  certain categories

Arranged Marriage

This one is popular in historicals. I quite like it, though, I have to say, in the medieval romance I am editing the arranged marriage is most certainly not of the ‘fight then make up’ variety. Nope. I put my heroine through hell. Anyway, moving on.

Does Not Like Women

The kind of guy who’s had bad experiences and hates women until he meets the Glittery HooHa, whereupon he has no interest in any other hooha. (I mean – who comes up with these names?)

The Ingenue

Not a personal fave, but I can kind of understand those who like it, since one of my faves is, of course, the

Reformed Rake.

One of my favourite romance authors,  Judith McNaught, uses this trope in her novels and I can’t count the number of times I’ve read this:

Cover of Whitney

Well, you can see how much I’ve read it by the fading lettering on the cover:D

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Tropes. After all, there are so many stories out there. No. So what makes certain ‘trope’ novels more compelling than others?


If you have characters that act, speak, and react like real people, if you have characters with whom people can identify and empathize, then this is what sets those books apart. If you have characters that are real to you, not just caricatures, then this will make all the difference between writing a compelling, want-to-read-again, unforgettable novel and one that’s in one eye and out the other.

Real people in romance novels make you laugh, cry and scream. They elicit real emotions from you. Everything stems from the characters – dialogue, decisions, plot.

Of course, everything is subjective. Just as we women don’t all like the same type of guy, we don’t like the same trope. Just as well, really…

I find that if I start with a plot, it’s predictable and samey, my creativity runs out. If I start with a character and persuade them to tell me their story, the journey is exciting, unexpected and the creativity flows.

Remember, books are about people, not just plots. So what is your character trying to tell you?


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