There are certain devices or phrases we authors tend to employ in the writing of our romance novels. And I love them! And I use them! And whenever I come across one of these tropes, I smile. For example…
That irascible lock of hair. That hair. It’s hypnotically irascible. It Just Won’t Stay Put, especially in times of stress. The heroine’s fingers itch to smooth it away (or cut it off, maybe. But probably smooth it.) Oh, you poor duke/earl/marquis! That irascible lock of hair says so veddy much about your personality! And it’s all good, baby. You may seem to be a stuck-up pain in the butt, but that hair tells me otherwise!
The contemporary romance trope (that word makes me feel smart, so I’m going to throw it around as much as possible)—anyway, the contemporary trope of the Irascible Lock of Hair is the hero’s unruly hair. The sticking up in back/front. The bedhead hair. He shoves his hand through it, and guess what? It sticks up even more! And it’s irresistible! In all the novels I’ve written, I’d say 90% of the heroes have unruly hair. I’m getting a little turned on just thinking about it. Where’s McIrish, dang it?
The stipulation in the will. I have to what? Marry within a month or I shall not inherit/get that promotion? This is utterly insensible! Why do I have to…well, well, well. What have we here? A high-spirited nonconformist who says she/he despises me? I smell a challenge! Also, she’s/he’s bee-yoo-tee-ful! Maybe Grandmama knew what she was doing after all, since I am rather thick, a man-slut/evil biache and can’t see what’s right here in front of my face, and being with Her/Him, who is so good, so pure, so sparkly…
Listen. I LOVE arranged marriage books. My great-grandparents had an arranged marriage. Did they love each other in the end? Er…not sure about that, but in a romance novel, they certainly would have! You can bet the manor home!
That one incredible dance. Whoa. Hang on a sec. Now that my hands are actually On Your Body and the salsa music is throbbing (and the salsa music ain’t the only thing, am I right?), I seem to be Feeling Something. Hey! You’re…really gorgeous! I…love you! Let’s…Do It!
Whyever hasn’t the hero realized the heroine is sssssssmokin’ hot until he dances with her? Are men really that thick? (Don’t answer that.) But you know what? I love when the hero and heroine dance together and YES! I’ve used That One Incredible Dance in a book or two! And I’m proud of it.
These damn crowds. Out of my way! Hold that plane! Dodge the fat lady! Jump over the crying toddler! I have just realized I Love You and I must prove it! How? By my balletic grace/linebacker skills/both, exhibited as I dodge the throngs at LAX/Grand Central Station/my sister’s wedding until—le gasp!—I’ve found you and Declared My Love! And I have! And it worked! Because it’s a romance novel, gang, and we ain’t gonna let no stinkin’ crowds keep us from our True Love. Nuh-uh!
So…which set-ups or phrases do you love in a romance novel? The secret baby? The fully, pouty lips of the heroine? The (cough) adorable dog? Leave a comment, and one of you will win a copy of UNTIL THERE WAS YOU, in which the bad-boy hero looks amazing in his battered leather jacket!
And to order a copy of the newly reissued JUST ONE OF THE GUYS, in which one of the above romantic tropes (there she goes with that word again) is utilized, click here.