Friday, October 16, 2009

Romance Tropes

There have been a few posts recently (Lurv a la Mode, Love Romance Passion) dealing with tropes.  This got me to thinking about tropes used in romance and why romance readers love to talk about them.

Several years ago when I first starting to notice romance blogs, Smart Bitches Trashy Books had a post on tropes they hated; and it seems like a common theme on romance book blogs to see posts regarding romantic clichés to love or hate.  Now, I'm not a regular peruser of genre blogs outside of romance, by any means, so this might be completely untrue--but it seems like romance readers are kind of obsessed with tropes, more so than readers of other genres.

Other genres have their own tropes, obviously--the detective gathering all the suspects together to reveal the killer, for example--but does any genre have such a proliferation of tropes as romance does?  Kmont from Lurv a la Mode wrote a post asking for YA cliches, and it was fairly difficult to think of one (there was also some confusion over what was a trend and what was a trope).

I don't necessarily think this means other literary genres don't use tropes.  I suggest (and I might be completely off-base with this) that as romance readers, we're more conscious (or at least more discursive) of clichés than other readers.  Why?  Well, first of all, it helps us pick which romances we want.  Hello, Sexy Italian Billionaire and the Shy Virgin Secretary.  And furthermore, we love our tropes!  I mean, you pretty much know what's going to happen before you even open a romance novel, right?  The fun is in seeing how it plays out--and most of the time you keep reading even when the latter's obvious, as well.  A similar thing can be said for mystery novels--you know the detective's going to find the murderer--but I'm not sure it applies to YA and speculative fiction as univerally.  In any case, I think the romance recycling of tropes can add to the enjoyment of a book rather than subtract from it.

How about you?  Do you read genre fiction and notice or enjoy any particular tropes?  Why do some tropes remain popular longer than others?

Sorry, no picture today.  I have to go to work!

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