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  • Cyprus Hart

Romance Tropes

I think about this on occasion. The Romance genre has a lot of tropes, because there are a lot of different people who like a wide variety of things. I expect to find multiple recognizable tropes when reading romance, and that's okay. It's what I'm there for!

What I don't like is when they're all thrown in my face at once. I feel particularly attuned to the tropes used to define male characters, perhaps because I, too, am a male character. All too often I find myself taken out of the beginning of an otherwise excellent story by an almost rote list of attributes the male lead must have. At least one tattoo, a shirt that stretches across his chest, kind eyes, narrow hips, and if he doesn't lean against a door frame in the first three chapters, I'll eat my hat.

Not that I have much room to complain; after all, my pirate captain has multiple tattoos, and is unrealistically handsome for the time period, along with being an unwashed sailor whom no woman would want to be within fifteen feet of.

Still, I hope that a little care and subtlety can be used when describing the male love interest. Don't chuck it all at the reader in one paragraph, make sure there are good reasons for that tattoo, and for all that is good and holy, let the poor man stand up straight. Door frames are uncomfortable.

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