What is a Romance Trope?

Every trope has already been written.  We have all read stories or seen movies about first love, forbidden love, or friends to lovers.  These are all examples of a trope.  A trope is just a way for an author to describe a situation that the readers will recognize.

Why Use a Trope?

Why not?  Honestly, it would be impossible to write a short story without using at least one trope.  In larger novels, it is common to have more than one trope.

You can use a romance trope for a number of different reasons.  Let’s say you know you want to write a story about an office romance.  Well, if you type “office romance” into the Amazon search bar, it will bring up the top books for that keyword.  You can research cover designs of the top ten books.  If you click on the books, you can read the reviews.  I like to read the good and the bad reviews.  If you are wanting to write an office romance trope, you would want to find out what the readers are wanting.

Another way I use romance tropes is to get a story idea.  I research romance tropes and read their descriptions.  Almost always, I am able to plot out a story just by researching a certain trope.

What Category Can You Use a Romance Trope?

Every Romance Trope can be used in Clean Romance, Steamy Romance, Erotic Romance and Erotica.  However, the category you write in will determine how you use the trope.

For example, if you are writing a virgin trope and you write clean romance, then you would talk about the woman saving herself for marriage and the sex act does not happen until after marriage.  Also, just so you know, in clean romance, sex happens behind closed doors – it’s not really talked about.

If you were to write about the virgin trope under the steamy romance category, then there is a love story and the woman is a virgin.  The story will talk about her first time and would be descriptive.

My advice would be to definitely use one of the popular tropes listed below, but make sure that you use the trope in a way that complements what category you write in.


What Are POPULAR Romance Tropes?

Alpha Romance – the male (very seldom the female) is assertive, bossy and possessive.  He stakes his claim on the woman he wants.
Best Friends Sibling – The love interest is the sibling of the best friend.  Sometimes, but not always, there is a bigger age gap.
Billionaire – The man has tons of money, but most of the time works too hard and has no time for love.
Cowboy – Who doesn’t love an alpha cowboy?  Maybe he’s trying to find love on the range or he is in the city for a cattle convention and runs into his future wife.
Enemies to Lovers – They were once enemies but they find a way into each other’s heart.
Fake Marriage – For some reason or another, the characters have to pretend to be married.  Maybe to get back at an ex or a boss only wants to promote a worker if they are married.
First Love – He was her first love and it didn’t last but they run into each other again.  Their love is renewed.
Fling – She tells him she doesn’t want to settle down, but she wants a fling.  They promise not to, but they end up falling in love.
Forbidden Romance – This can be an owner/employee, step sibling, older man younger woman relationship.  Anything that may be discouraged or looked down on.
Forced Proximity – When two people are forced to spend time together.  Maybe they were stuck on an elevator, got lost in the city together, or their tour bus left them.
Friends to Lovers – They were friends, maybe best friends, and their attraction grew for each other.  They are scared to take it to the next level because they don’t want to ruin their friendship.
Insta Love – They see each other and it is instant attraction and know they have to have one another.
Mail Order Bride – For whatever reason, a man orders a mail order bride.  They have a clause to keep the relationship platonic, but they end up in love.
Military – Who doesn’t love a military man?  One of the characters will work in the military.
Motorcycle Romance – Usually a tattooed bad boy but is a good man!
Office Romance – The boss has a relationship with a coworker or employee.
Playboy – Typically the man is a playboy.  Can have any woman he wants and plays the field.  Then he meets THE ONE and settles down.
Reunions – The characters haven’t seen each other in a long time and when they see each other again, there is a spark.
Rich/Poor – Maybe he is a rich man and she is his maid, or she is a socialite and he’s the tattooed bad boy she falls for!
Second Chance – They loved once and for whatever reason it didn’t last.  But he’s determined to get her back!
Secret Baby – For example, it was only supposed to be a fling, and then she found out she was pregnant.  She doesn’t want him if he only wants the baby.  Then she finds out he loves her too!
Secret Romance – Two people in love but they can’t tell people.  For example, it’s forbidden or taboo, but they have to keep their relationship hidden.
Unrequited – She loves him, but thinks it’s only one sided.  Then she finds out he loves her too.
Virgin – Usually the woman is a virgin and has sex for the first time.

Do You Have A Favorite Trope?  Leave a Comment Below!