Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and as a publicist for some fantastic romance authors, I had this thought: why not encourage authors to write some truly unique twists on common romantic tropes?
If you’re intrigued, dear reader, read on to find out my foolproof* suggestions for original heroes and plots!
(*Note: This is entirely tongue-in-cheek, just for a few reader laughs. Writers should apply these tropes only at their own risk…)
Brooding Hero vs. Fooding Hero
And by that, I mean a man who brings his woman food. Homemade food, preferably, and as delicious as the guy making it.
Need some reasoning? Fact 1: the ability to cook is an attractive skill. Fact 2: readers don’t like putting their books down to make dinner. Fact 3: delicious descriptions of food-making heroes in novels might prompt those readers to order takeout, making them able to finish said book, so everyone will be happy. This is a win-win.
And before you try to tell me you can’t have multiple novels where the hero is a culinary genius, let me run some numbers by you. There are 459,000 professional chefs in America alone. There are, by contrast, 2,095 billionaires worldwide and 24 English dukes. So, who’s the more statistically likely hero now, hmm?
Marriage of Convenience vs. Marriage of Conspiracy
Okay, this one is only here because I love all things spy-related. Heists, escape rooms, secret codes, campy treasure hunts with unrealistically-preserved clues from a secret society. More of that, please. I mean, what woman wouldn’t want to be asked to join a plot on a first date?
(Is this just me? Maybe this is just me.)
Enemies-to-Lovers vs. Enemies-to-Polite-but-Distant-Acquaintances
So it’s not quite as catchy. But some of these feuding neighbors/co-workers/business rivals you see in books really need to sit down and engage in clear and mature conversation instead of sabotaging and insulting each other one minute and flirting the next. I mean, maybe there are exceptions, but most of the time, if you can’t stand someone, you shouldn’t marry them, you should put up boundaries and date someone you actually enjoy being around.
Firefighter Hero vs. Plumber Hero
Seriously, think about it. On average, how often does your house burn down? (We’re not talking about how it’s literally impossible for me to make bacon without setting off the smoke detector. Real fire, okay?)
Got that number? Good. Now think about how many times in the past year you’ve dealt with a drain clog, toilet overflow, leak, or other pipe-related problem. (Not to mention attempted princess abductions by video game villains named Bowser.)
It just makes sense, people.
Alpha Male vs. Alpha Centauri Male
Why go with your run-of-the-mill assertive and manly hero when you could actually have an alien main character? Think of the drama! The mystique! The star-crossed pathos of it all! Clearly, this is the ultimate in forbidden love.
Mail-Order Bride vs. Mail-Order Housekeeper
To be clear, I don’t mean that the heroine of the story should fall in love with the hired cleaning help. Nope. Just that she has the means to take out an ad for someone to dust and do dishes while she reads or takes bubble baths or whatever. If we’re talking female fantasies here, I think clean toilets and dog-hair-free furniture might beat rock-hard abs and dramatic declarations of love.
Love Triangle vs. Cheesecake Triangle
Do I even need to explain why this is superior? (Hint: you can only top one of these with caramel, and you never have to worry about your favorite character being heartbroken.) It can even have the drama of the original. “Which flavor do I choose?” the heroine mutters, pacing. “The Cherry Supreme or the Chocolate Mocha? They both have so many amazing qualities!”
Secret Baby vs. Secret Room
I think every romance novel would benefit from at least one secret room. Consider the classics. Like…Jane Eyre. Nancy Drew, probably. Or…Narnia. (That counts, right? Even if the “room” was a world?) The point is, there’s precedent, don’t quibble over the details.
If you really had to work in a secret baby, you could make the secret room a nursery. After all, if the baby is so all-fired secret, why keep him or her out in the open? Time for a concealed panel and a swinging door. Bonus points if it’s hidden behind a bookcase.
Which of these new tropes is your favorite? Do you have any other ideas to contribute?