Oct 17 2017 7:01am

How Do Your Top Tropes Compare to the Industry’s Top Tropes?


According to RWA, the top ten romance tropes are as follows: 

  1. friends to lovers
  2. soul mate/fate
  3. second chance at love  
  4. secret romance
  5. first love
  6. strong hero/heroine
  7. reunited lovers
  8. love triangle
  9. sexy billionaire/millionaire
  10. sassy heroine

While we don't consider some of these actually tropes, the list does include some of our favorite... and least favorite... tropes of the genre. 

How would your top ten tropes differ from this list? Would you simply re-order this list or would you swap out these tropes? 

Tell me about it in the comments!

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1. LoriK
For quite a while now I've been struggling to find books that I really love. It's possible that this list explains at least some of my struggle since fully half of those are things I have no interest in or actively dislike.
Heather Waters
2. HeatherWaters
I don't really understand how some of these, like "sassy heroine," are tropes? But anyway, friends to lovers is my #1 as well, but billionaires and love triangles are not usually my cup of tea.

ETA: Where's fake dating/pretend relationships????
3. Spacegirl
I like romance books with an office environment as a setup. Where does that fit in?
4. ChelseaMueller

My catnip is missing from this list. No good.
Heather Waters
5. HeatherWaters
@Spacegirl -- Ah, yes, office romance, I agree, that should be on there too!

@ChelseaMueller -- I am honestly SHOCKED that's not on there too...
Carmen Pinzon
6. bungluna
I think sassy should be banned from all dictionaries!
Katy Cooper
7. katy.madellio
@bungluna -- I agree sassy should never be applied to a heroine, but it absolutely applies to one of my dogs. When she's strutting around, swinging her hips, Boss of All the Things, sassy is the only word to describe her :)

Fated mate/soul mate doesn't do anything for me, nor does the millionaire/billionaire thing.

On the other hand, I love me a wounded hero/heroine romance...

@ChelseaMueller, I love enemies to lovers too.
8. Kareni
I'm eager to read a great story regardless of the trope.
Wendy the Super Librarian
9. SuperWendy
Words cannot express how much I loathe #2 on this list - soul mates/fate. Repeat after me: Free Will Is Sexy.

Ditto what everyone else said. No Enemies to Lovers? No Office Romance? No Pretend Relationship/Engagement?!?! (a personal favorite). And where oh where are my virgin heroes? Much sadness.
10. Chris Huntley
I don't know if it is a trope or not, but my favorite is when kids are included in the story. Whether it be children of one of the characters or a foster child, children make the romance even better.
11. willaful
"Friends to lovers" wouldn't be anywhere on my list. They certainly can be good, but I find many of them irritating. And love triangles... meh. They're only interesting if there's a genuine question in my mind as to which way they'll go, which is pretty rare.

Enemies to lovers is my jam! (Hate sex, ftw!) And reunited lovers. I don't mind fated mates, though they're not always well done. But no convenient marriage?!
12. Lexy Stanton
For me, that first meeting is so key that friends to lovers and second chance are not at the top of my list. I have to agree enemies to lovers is a huge miss there and the fake relationships are a close runner-up too. And what about the bodyguard/protector tropes?
13. Janga
I'll keep #1, #3, and #7 and skip the rest, thank you. Reunited lovers tops my list, and I would include marriage of convenience. The redeemed hero/heroine earns a spot on my list too. Is the bluestocking heroine a trope? Yes or no, the words are enough to make me check out the book.

I certainly never thought of strong hero/heroine as a trope. Do some readers prefer weakness in their protagonists? And I wonder how widespread agreement on the definition of "strong" would be.
14. lizzie18
Humm, interesting read, and points of view.

For me, #7 Reunited lovers is the worst trope ever. Hate it! I want them to MEET in the book, not start the book 10 yrs later! I tend to avoid those books even when they are part of a series.
#1 Friends to lovers, same thing, not interested, pretty much for the same reasons.
#2 Second chance at love, you mean with a different partner don't you? That would be OK. But if you mean with the same ex-lover, then it comes back to #7 which I can't stand.
#8 Love triangle, meah... I'm older and I remember when all the Harlequin books of the 70s/80s had the heroine 'competing' with an older, sophisticated, rich, beautiful, etc. woman for the same man. I mean ALL those books had that and I've had my surfeit of it years... no, DECADES, ago.
#4 Secret romance seems a bit infantile to me.
#5 First love. Do you mean young H/h ? then belongs in YA book. If you mean first true love to people in their late 20s or in their 30s, then it's OK by me and I would see it more like #2 Soul mate/fate.
#9 Sexy millionnaire. Well, it's fantasy right ? Might as well end up enjoying it in luxury once in a while.
#6 Strong H/h, well that's pretty much a given, a must, in any books from this century, is it not ? And yes the heroine #10 can be 'sassy' in 2017 but not stupid. And I read 'sassy' as meaning either 'funny' or 'irreverent' or 'sarcastic' depending on the storyline.
And I furthermore question how # 6 or #10 can be considered tropes.

So I'm OK with #2, #3 (if new partner), #6 of course, #9 once in a while, #10 depending on how you define it. The rest? not so much.

And I would add that kids in a story are a bonus for me. Preferably not his because I enjoy seeing how the big clueless guy learns to cope with young children. And I also enjoy animals in a books. So kids and/or animals should also be tropes.

Oh yes, another trope, would be a favorite of mine : Big strong brawny Scotsmen. Yum, yum...
15. Kahintenn
My favorite tropes are forced marriage/marriage of convenience and major angst. Second chance at love/reunited lovers can work for me. Otherwise, I don't really care about any of the tropes on that list. I'm all historicals, all the time, which is obvious from my favorite tropes!
16. Sultanah
Ok, I might seem like the odd one out but to be honest apart from the soul mate and first love trope I literally HATE all those tropes mentioned and cannot stand any of them.
17. willaful
Kahintenn, it is oddly short on historical themes, isn't it. And historicals still seem to be popular...
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