Paranormal Romance Tropes

I did mention last week I was a tad obsessed with romance tropes lately, right? Well, it got me thinking that while romance has some larger tropes, specific sub-genres of romance, like paranormal romance, can make use of the traditional tropes, and also have some unique ones of their own.

So just in case you’re getting to work, here are some of the tropes I’ve commonly seen in paranormal romance:

  • hates what they are / think they’re a monster – I have a love/hate feeling with this trope, but essentially often the hero despises what they are / their powers and somehow wants to escape it, and potentially is saved by the romance.
  • loves being magical – opposite as above
  • fish out of water – not just a paranormal trope, but frequently appears when a human encounters the paranormal world.
  • two species that cancel each other out / fated enemies – very common, especially in vampire stories where there are “good vampires” and “bad” ones. This also encompasses hunted vs hunter stories.
  • fated mates – also very common, and can occasionally become love at first sight or at least “you’re supposed to be mine” for one of the partners (yep, love/hate with this one too.)
  • mates can save each other -this is where they have to find their mate to somehow gain salvation. But it can also be how they overcome their monstrous / magical nature.
  • soul mates through time – essentially, they find each other in every life time, and may or may not remember their past relationships.
  • protectors / guardians -also very common, where you have supernatural creatures protecting humanity OR other supernatural creatures OR the kind of demon-slayer / vampire slayer type archetype. This concept shows up in early mythology about many supernatural creatures, especially werewolves. 🙂
  • inheritance / awakening of unexpected magical / world-changing powers – one day you wake up and discover you’re a fairy…or a demon, or otherwise the most magical person in the universe. It sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
  • changeling babies -related to above, this is where somehow a magical baby / important species was lost / hidden amongst humanity.
  • foretold saviors of the world -again related to the above, these are the saviors and prophesized “lucky” characters who get to save the world … or doom it.
  • marked / cursed – similar to above, these characters may have been cursed or doomed from very early, or because of their particular actions.
  • dual universe / parallel worlds -whether aliens or
  • big bad magical vs ordinary human – often combined with other tropes (including fated mates and fish out of water), this is where an ordinary human somehow ends up in love with a supernatural creature … and often proves the power of humanity can equal anything magical out there.

I’ve written a few stories with these. Ironically, it’s especially the ones I’m not sure that I like which challenge me, since I try to write a story that turns the trope into something I would like.  And there are so many days I wish I’d wake up and discover I’m magical. Like, maybe I could read minds, or figure out a way to add an extra day to the week. 😉

Your turn! What tropes have you seen specifically in paranormal romances? Which ones do you love, and which do you loathe? Any I’ve overlooked? Love to hear from you. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and hope you all have a great week. Happy writing! And hey, like this post? Why not follow the blog?

Romance Tropes: Find Your Favorite!

So I’m finally done with revisions (let’s pretend this will really be the last time I’ll revise that WIP, okay?). And, I’m thinking about writing a new book. And thinking about tropes.

Admittedly, I’m a tiny bit obsessed with them. Which is funny, because I don’t tend to write thinking about the common tropes. You might remember an old post about tropes, Tropes: Love Them, Loathe Them.

Anyway, today I wanted to give you a list of some of the most common romance tropes. These can be thought of as storylines / ideas / situational patterns that commonly show up in stories, romances in particular.  I searched for one before, and had trouble finding it, so evidently I didn’t enter the right sequence of words. This time I did, and I found a couple of other author sites that have a fabulous explanation (I’ve shared them below).

Bottom line: many fiction genres use different kinds of tropes that continue to resonate with readers, and somehow seem inherent to that “type” (or genre) of story. It’s what the author does with the tropes, their own personal spin, that can make the story something new and special, even if it makes use of tropes we’ve seen many times before.

  • Secret Baby
  • Reformed Rake
  • Friends-to-lovers
  • Best friends-little-sister-grew up
  • Teacher / Student
  • Billionaire boss
  • Taming the Untameable
  • Alpha hero
  • Enemies to lovers
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Opposite side of the tracks
  • Boss / employee
  • Friends with benefits
  • Unrequited love
  • One night stand turns into something more
  • Forbidden love
  • plain / average gets the hottie
  • opposites attract
  • marriage of convenience
  • offer she (he) can’t refuse
  • bad boy (or bad girl) with strait-laced
  • reunited lovers
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Cinderella
  • Big Misunderstanding (like Pride and Prejudice)
  • fairy tale re-tellings
  • mutual unrequited love
  • insta-love
  • fated mates
  • amnesia
  • second chance at love
  • secret romance
  • first love
  • rescue
  • stranded
  • eccentric family
  • virgin and the rake
  • wounded hero
  • nerds / betas
  • twins
  • twins/ look-alikes impersonating each other
  • woman pretending to be a man
  • blackmail
  • make-over
  • sudden inheritance
  • instant baby / parenthood
  • revenge
  • runaway bride
  • pretending to be married

For most romance readers (and writers too), we have some favorite tropes we return to, intentionally or not. For me, I can’t resist a good marriage of convenience. 🙂 I also really like the wounded hero, Beauty and the Beast scenario (where the Beauty is able to “tame” and help heal the Beast), and unrequited love (often with best-friend’s-sister-grew-up tied in.) There are also tropes that I’m not a fan of, like: secret baby, revenge, and friends with benefits. Still, I’ve read books (and written them) with these tropes, because sometimes it seems to matter more HOW an author employs them than the original trope itself.

On my hunt today, I also found two fabulous lists of tropes that I wanted to share with you. These authors also provide a bit more of an explanation for some of the tropes that are a bit less obvious.

Mindy Klasky has a very complete and fabulous list of romance tropes.

Amalie Berline also has a nice list, which she’s also sorted / categorized, which is an interesting and informative way to consider tropes.

So now it’s your turn: do you write considering different tropes, or do you only see how your story might fall into those tropes after the story is complete? Are there some big tropes I’m missing from my list? What are some of your favorites and least favorite?

Thanks for reading, and wishing you all a great week. Happy writing out there! 🙂

On Procrastination, Courage, and Pushing Yourself

Today I am home alone earlier than usual since despite my desire to run away, I’m being good and staying to work. And think about why I want to run away, and what that means.

Are the waters really this rough, or does your fear tell you they are?
Are the waters really this rough, or does your fear tell you they are?

See, I’ve been working on a monster revision for the book-that-won’t-die, and now that it’s done–even by my self-imposed deadline of the end of October–the next step I promised myself was submission. A lot of submission.

And yet I hesitate. And I wonder: is it ready? Am I ready? Maybe I should wait. Maybe I should do this. Maybe I should run away and go do something easier. 😉 Yes, it would be easier and less scary to say I’ll wait until “tomorrow” before I start the whole submission and query process. But will tomorrow actually be the day after today, or will I end up with a long series of broken promises?

Which is why I know I have to submit today. Maybe not to everyone, maybe not the really big submission that has my knees trembling, but at least some of them. It needs to happen today, not some nameless tomorrow. And I’m the one who has to push myself because it doesn’t matter as much to anyone else.

What’s the worst that could happen?

No, seriously, I understand that as a writer we can take “what if” to catastrophic heights, but by pushing myself, what’s the worst that can happen? I get rejected. Then I pick myself up, and move on. Try again. I won’t die. No one I love will be harmed in the act. 😉

So, is there something you’re putting off because it scares you? If you hold of until “tomorrow,” will you actually do it tomorrow? Play the what-if game just a little bit, just long enough to consider what’s worse: the fear, or the actual consequences. And if the actual consequences aren’t that bad, then give yourself that loving kick in the posterior, and do what needs to be done.

I’m right there with you. And in the end, it’ll be okay. Promise. 🙂

So, is there something you’ve been putting off? Why? And will you join me today in standing up, putting on your Captain Brave suit and getting to it?

Thanks so much for reading, happy writing out there, and be brave this week. See what happens. 🙂