If you’ve read as many romance novels as I have over the past couple years, you quickly find a number of themes repeated over and over (and over and over) again…. I’ll be honest, I don’t really get it.
There are many things I’ve come to enjoy deeply within the romance genre – but the uber common romance tropes are not one of them. Even the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trope as a common or overused theme or device.
I fully grasp that there will always be repetition in romance novels – the happily ever after is the unifier after all. Boy meets girl, fall in love, rinse and repeat. That is exactly what is expected and desired when I pick up a new romance novel, but from there I crave variation. I find it completely refreshing to find a storyline with a new twist or new take on it.
In my opinion, as an N of 1, I’m not a fan of some of the most common tropes I keep stumbling upon. The ones I find most often are:
- Surprise pregnancies. Sometimes I get lucky and find a twist on this trope, which is a breath of fresh air. But the oops, I forgot the condom in a moment of passion or gee, I didn’t think about it – I find completely overdone. *I’ve ranted about this already, my apologies for the repetition.
- The late 20s beautiful, perfect virgin, which sadly is always the heroine I might add. Really? Why just why?
- The high school sweetheart reunions, which can be sweet sometimes, for sure. But even those stories follow a predictable path of moving from their small town to find fame and fortune only to return with their tail between their legs then reunite with their high school flame.
- The character who can’t believe in love because their parents got a divorce. Many of our parents got divorced and most of us went on to have healthy relationships – I turned out alright! We all have baggage, but some of those poor characters sure do seem to carry some pretty disproportionately heavy suitcases.
- Fake engagements, fake relationships, friends with benefits – okay, so I admit, I like most of those – but they sure do show up often!
I’m not trying to be overly critical of amazing writers who’ve blazed the trail and reached successes I can only dream about. I’m merely stating that I am most energized by a new telling of a familiar love story.
Maybe I’m an anomaly because I don’t particularly care for these common tropes. Nonetheless, I’m going to keep trying to write good stories with (slightly more) realistic characters and conflicts that haven’t been repeated over and over again. Maybe because of this, I’ll never get published… but I feel that at least I’m feeding my creativity.
Is it just me? What are your thoughts?