I won’t lie: I love a good romance.
As much as I’m currently writing a novel that isn’t exactly romance (on account of the no “happily ever after” aspect), and as much as I still believe we need more anti-romance books (books without romance, books were there isn’t a happily ever after but it’s OK, books where it isn’t OK…), the truth is I love nothing more than curling up with a romance novel and just…feeling ALL the feels.
During my lite initial research for my Work-in-Progress, I started looking up typical romance tropes. So I could subvert them, of course. But then that just made me think about all the ones I love the most, and how fluttery and gaspy they make me feel, and of course I got all excited about them again.
But there’s one I love more than others. The one romance trope that makes me swoon, that makes my head spin, my heart pound and my lips pull up into a grin, is…
That’s right. I love a good pretend-romance that takes the characters involved (and literally no one else) by surprise.
Think…Jenny Han’s TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE. I’m not going to give details because I don’t want to spoil the book (I’m assuming you’ll read it, because of course you’ll read it, because I just told you it’s swoon worthy and has my FAVORITE romance trope, so what are you even waiting for!! GO. BUY. IT.)
Are you back? Let’s continue.
For the uninitiated, a “trope” is something like a theme, in literature, that is used fairly often and in a wide variety of work, to carry the story. For example, “Instalove,” one that a lot of people love to hate, is basically “love at first sight” on steroids. It’s that moment when you’re at the party and you’re kinda pissed and feeling annoyed and you wish you were anywhere else and you look up and *OMG* there he is! You lock eyes and your heart pounds and your mouth goes dry and you know, you just know, he’s The One.
But done better than that (hopefully).
I am an absolute sucker for fake dating, in which the two characters come to an arrangement, for whatever reason, to pretend to date. This could be to make an ex jealous, to get someone’s attention, or even to protect yourself from unwanted advances. It could be out of boredom or as an experiment or because your father wants to hook you up with his business partner’s godson and you reallllly don’t like said godson.
You don’t like the person you’re fake dating. You don’t want to date him (or her!) for real. This is just a business arrangement, plain and simple! You’ll hold hands in public, maybe kiss on the cheek, perhaps even get fake-engaged so you can stay in the States instead of being deported back to Canada if you’re Sandra Bullock…but you don’t truly love the person.
Until, of course, holding their hand makes yours all tingly, and causes shivers to run up your spine and when they let you go you feel sad. For no reason, though, because you don’t like them!
But when you share your fake engagement story you find yourself smiling like a silly goose and thinking about how nice it would be…but no! You don’t like them.
And then the crowd cheers and asks for a kiss, and next thing you know your lips are just barely brushing and it’s fire and excitement (or it’s sweet and tender…or awkward and adorable…idk man, it’s your kiss with your fake boyfriend/girlfriend!
And suddenly…suddenly you wish the dates weren’t fake. You’ve fallen in love.
This is my very favorite romance trope. Partly because it’s a great way for the hero to be all BROODING (and obviously I’m here for @BroodingYaHero, so I love me a good brooding hero), and partly because I just really love watching people who don’t want to fall in love end up in love.
It’s so satisfying. Look at those lil’ suckers, all unintentionally happy and gushing and annoying. Ugh. I love it.
So there it is: my favorite romance trope! What’s yours? Leave a comment below and let’s chat 🙂 Also — this post is brought to you because I’m a #BroodyBFF, part of the street team to rave about this book coming out soon. If you wanna know more, check out this post about how I met everybody’s favorite-least-favorite satirical yet sassy Twitter account, and maybe give the book a good ole preorder 🙂