1. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Tropes and "originality" in romance

    Discussion in 'Romance Forums' started by BayView, Jul 6, 2017.

    Okay, among friends here, I don't think I need to feel too defensive about acknowledging that a lot of romance is heavily trope-based. I think a lot of genre literature, in general, is trope based (the disillusioned PI who finds his heart softened or the traumatized combat veteran struggling to maintain sanity or the spunky amateur sleuth who calmly observes and solves crimes or whatever in other genres are surely tropes, right?) and I think part of the challenge (and fun) of writing genre is finding new ways to express not-so-new ideas.

    That said, I guess I have a few questions bouncing around in my brain and thought I'd post them here and see if anyone wanted to add to/disagree with any of them. Like:

    - is ALL romance trope-based? Is the essential conflict-then-HEA just a meta-trope under which other sub-tropes will find their place? Has anyone ever read a romance they think avoids all tropes? (not that I think that's a goal or anything... I'm just curious).

    - what are your favourite tropes? Do you like the same tropes for reading as you do for writing?

    - what tropes are in your current WIPs?

    - I recently started a new project with a bunch of short, dialogue-based stories and for the first time I actually consulted trope lists in order to get ideas for my plots and I felt like I was cheating - was I? (I don't really care... the project is for a totally gimmicky new app, so it's not like I'm writing my heart's voice or anything). Or was I just acknowledging reality and cutting to the chase?

    - other thoughts about tropes?
     
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  2. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I can't say that I know the language of Romance novels to be able to say I've got this, that, or the other thing from Romance Land.

    I do know what's in my novel and I embrace my tropes. I know they're there, so I want to execute them well. As I've said in other conversations, whatever you do, do it with intent, do it knowingly and because you meant to do that.
    • As we've discussed in other thread, I have the hottie and the nottie trope going on.
    • There's also an element of rich man, poor man, or of this were an Edwardian novel: Upstairs, Downstairs.
    • My larger setting is based on the Lost Colony trope of Science Fiction - (Think Pern or Darkover) - which gives rise to Science Fiction dressed as Fantasy.
    • My boys will be setting off on a high seas adventure. Is that a trope? I don't know, genuinely. (Did I mention that I don't know shit about boats?)
    • Since there's smut in my book, I've also got Never Judge a Book by its Coverâ„¢. Walking down the street you wouldn't notice Brenn, but in the locker room he's the most "gifted" boy on the team. ;)
     
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  3. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I don't think it's so much that romance is all trope-based, but that there are so many tropes it's practically impossible to write a romance without at least one. I mean, nearly every pairing is a trope - friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, colleagues to lovers, second-chance lovers, relative-of-a-friend to lovers... the only one that isn't a trope in itself is two completely unconnected strangers meeting, right? I bet if I tried, I could find a list of tropes with that on it, too.

    Reading:
    - Friends to lovers
    - Second chance
    - 'Taboo' relationships like siblings' friends or parents' friends, but not with unhealthy power dynamics
    - Secret baby
    - Fake engagement / marriage
    - Gay for you (hope that doesn't upset our resident m/mers)
    - May/December
    - Secret crush... not sure what to call this one, but where one of the pair has been secretly in love with the other for years.
    - Tortured hero
    - Forced proximity

    Writing:
    - Enemies to lovers. I HATE reading this, but it's really fun to write.
    - 'Taboo' relationships as above
    - Tortured hero
    - Fake engagement / marriage
    - May/December
    - I really want to try a forced proximity one.

    I've only got a WIL (work in limbo) but it's second chance and enemies to lovers. I got the idea from thinking about the secret baby trope and how to give it a fresh take.

    If you're cheating, then so am I. Two of my four plots came from trope lists, although in both cases I tried to twist them rather than play it straight.

    As you said, I'm not sure why tropiness is a criticism levied at romance when every genre is equally as guilty. I mostly read horror and I'd say it's even more trope-based than romance.
     
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  4. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    Tenderiser hit on most of my favorites, but I'll add a few of my own:
    • Hurt/Comfort
    • Hooker/Stripper/Porn Star with a Heart of Gold and Client Who Falls In Love With Them
    • Single Hot Dad and Single Male Nanny (I believe the current term in vogue is "Manny" for Male Nanny but I'm not really a fan)
    • High School enemies who much later in life reconnect and discover they're soulmates after all
    • Barista/Coffee shop romance
    • B&B owner and hot guest with Baggage From The Past
    • As mentioned in a different thread, Historical Sailors Who Like to Bang
    • Pirate and Mermaid/Merman - gets me in the feels every time
    I have uh...some rather specific tastes. :p
     
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  5. Pauline

    Pauline Member

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    I think with tropes, its the way a writer spins it. Two of mine have the same two tropes something I didn't even notice until i thought about it. i wrote them so differently. Not that I'm not terrible at them. As for favorites, definitely second chance and may/December. Actually all kinds of dmitry fun.
     
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  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    dmitry?
     
  7. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I think it's dirty with extra mmmmm :love:
     
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  8. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    And here I was imagining a passionate night with a swarthy Cossack, tomorrow heading for the front-line of the war.

    The Cossack Sukhov (Great Patriotic War of 1812) by Dmitri Anatolyevich Belyukin

    8a9400b44e9e5ef41710ca15d89b4ede.jpg
     
  9. Pauline

    Pauline Member

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    I think auto correct, and nightshift third time in a row ;).
     
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