RWA (Romance Writers of America) and Nielsen released the results of the 2014 Romance Book Buyer Report yesterday, and one of the topics I’m seeing talked about a lot on the interwebs is romance tropes and which ones are readers’ favorites. The top 10 tropes from those classified as “heavy” readers are:
- Friends to lovers
- Soul mates/fate
- Secret romance
- Second chance at love
- First love
- Strong hero/heroine
- Reunited lovers
- Love triangle
- Sexy billionaire/millionaire
- Sassy heroine
At this point y’all should all know that friends to lovers is my absolute favoritest trope in the whole wide world. I love it. So. So. Hard.
As a reader, I’ve always been drawn to friends to lovers stories. As a writer, they provide such a fantastic way to build that will they/won’t they tension, not to mention the fact that I’ve always felt like the stakes are higher in friends to lovers romances (because there’s always the possibility of things going south and losing a close friend). Friends to lovers romances are nuanced and layered, and for me tend to be incredibly emotionally satisfying. Plus, you already have the groundwork laid in the fact that they already share a closeness with one another–it’s watching them stumble and bumble towards one another and having that “aha!” moment that makes these so much fun.
And obviously I’m a fan of second chance romance (I mean, come on, I’ve woven that trope into two of my books so far).
To be fair, Ross and Rachel could possibly be classified as soul mates, too, considering the whole lobster thing, but I’ve always seen them as a second chance at love romance. I mean, come on, that was quite a break that they took. 😉 Like friends to lovers romances, second chance romances can be fun and in some ways easier to write–there’s already back story there, and there are already really deep emotions going on between the two. Some people love them (like me), and others really don’t like them, mostly because a lot of readers seem to feel like the original reason for the break up was really stupid. And in some cases, it is (I mean, even I’ll admit that the reason why Jo and Chase stopped talking in high school was dumb–BUT THEY WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL, and you do really dumb shit in high school, which both characters acknowledge). In other cases, it makes total sense. And you know what? Sometimes the timing just isn’t right and two people need to spread their wings, live a little, and have other experiences before they can truly appreciate what they had/have with the other person.
I was kind of surprised to see that my third favorite trope–enemies to lovers (or as Jennie Crusie describes it, the “Oh Hell, not YOU!” trope)–wasn’t in the top 10. They can be difficult to pull off because there really is a thin line between love and hate, and it’s a delicate balance. But when they’re done well? Oh hells yes.
So, readers, what’s your favorite trope? Agree with this list? Disagree? Did your favorite trope not make the cut?