9) The ‘Second Chance at Love’
This romance trope can play out in a number of ways. Perhaps a couple breaks up only to reunite decades later. Maybe they have been deeply hurt in the past, and have spent years avoiding any kind of romantic relationship. Now they will meet and learn to give love another chance. This is a hopeful trope that readers enjoy because it enforces the theme that “it’s never too late.”
Example: In Nora Roberts’ Birthright, Callie is an archaeologist called to work at a site where five-thousand year-old human bones have been found. As is her ex-husband Jake, with whom she had a passionate marriage that eventually disintegrated due to lack of communication and trust. Now, forced to work together again, they are confronted by their old problems and are forced to acknowledge that they still love one another.
10) The ‘Forbidden Love’
The forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest, right? This romance trope involves two people who are desperately in love but are forced apart – either by their families, their culture, or geographical distance. Whatever the case, something is preventing them from being together. You could also call this the “Star-Crossed Lovers” trope, as the term “star-crossed” means that destiny has ruled something cannot be.
Example: Because the trope could also be called the “Romeo and Juliet” for how much the two are associated, we’ll go with a different example. In The Notebook, Noah and Allie fall in love from the get-go when they meet as teenagers. After a summer solidifying their soulmate status, Allie’s family moves away, separating the two. Her parents do not believe working class Noah is the right fit for upper class Allie, so her mother hides all the letters Noah sends, breaking Allie’s heart and forcing her to move on. Until… well, we all remember the kiss that won MTV’s Best Kiss award, right? (This is also an example of a ‘Second Chance at hookupdate.net/chatrandom-review Love’ trope).
11) The ‘You’ve Changed’
Instead of following two people on their path to love love, this kind of story starts out with two people who are already in love, and likely married or in a committed relationship. One of the people in the pair ends up getting a new job or falling in with a new crowd of friends that changes them in some way, perhaps by altering their values or priorities. Maybe their new situation is simply eating up all their time so that they are no longer as dedicated to the relationship. Their significant other will make their feelings known, and eventually leave, when the relationship continues to disintegrate. This will cause the protagonist to realize that despite their high-flying career or flashy friends, their life is empty without their significant other, and they go back to their old ways, eventually convincing the other person to give them another chance.
Example: In the movie adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada, Andrea gets a job as a personal assistant to a powerful fashion magazine editor. She sees this job as a stepping stone to a full-fledged career as a journalist, and therefore gives it everything she’s got. The job begins to consume her and change her values, until her boyfriend Alex no longer recognizes her and he leaves. Only when she quits her job and gets back in touch with her roots do they end up back together.
How to make romance tropes feel new
Alright, now you’ve got an idea of the common conventions of romance, you can get started on putting your own spin on them. If you need a little extra help breathing new life into classic romance tropes, you can check out this detailed section of our post on fantasy tropes that walks authors through three trope-bending techniques. Here’s two examples: