25+ Romance Tropes to Keep Readers Hooked on Your Story

Jackie Pearce
August 08, 2023 | 6 mins

When it comes to writing a romance book, there are so many romance tropes to choose from and ways you can have your story go.

If you have been looking for inspiration, you have come to the right place because we will be going over quite a few different romance book tropes you can use in your story.

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Romance tropes

If you want to learn how to write a romance novel, here are some of the romance tropes you can try:

1. Betrayal

There are many ways you can go about this romance trope: from having your main character be betrayed by their current partner, being the one doing the betrayal, or even finding comfort in someone else after being betrayed.

2. Holiday romance

The holidays can be a romantic time, especially if your characters end up celebrating it together.

3. Curse, spell, and/or charm

Most of us have heard of a love spell, but there are fun ways this has been done, such as in Practical Magic.

4. A dare or bet

While this trope may or may not still work in today’s world, but it might be possible to put a modern spin on it. The premise is to have a character take a “dare” or a “bet” on being with someone or being able to win them over.

5. Enemies to lovers

While this is a wildly overused trope from romance stories, it is still one that is often used for a reason: it works. There is a lot of potential romance and tension between two people who dislike each other and having the potential to turn that into a romantic burn over time is hot for some stories.

6. Rescue romance

For this trope, you want your character to be stuck in a situation where they need to be saved. Whether it is physically or emotionally, someone comes in to swoop them to safety.

7. Love triangle

Love triangles have been a trope since the beginning of the creation of romance novels, but it is one that works well.

8. Fake engagement

For this trope, imagine the movie The Proposal to think about how it plays out. Two characters need to get married for a “fake” reason but end up falling in love anyway.

9. Fish out of water

Being in a completely new environment can be thrilling and exciting, in all the different kinds of ways. When you open yourself up to new experiences you can also open yourself up to new kinds of love.

10. Terminal situations

This one is guaranteed to be a tearjerker because one character will pass away. Through their journey, they will find love but it ultimately ends in heartbreak.

11. Friends to lovers

Instead of enemies to lovers, this trope involves two people who might have never seen each other romantically and then one day, for some reason or another, sparks start to fly.

12. Opposites attract

There is something romantic about falling for someone who is the exact opposite type of a character. Maybe one is introverted and one is extroverted. Maybe one is serious and one is playful. There are many ways you could set this one up.

13. Office romance

The office setting is a breeding ground for romance, where characters may start as rivals, friends, or indifferent colleagues, only to find their professional interactions evolving into something more.

Whether it’s the tension of keeping the relationship secret, the thrill of stolen moments, or the drama of navigating office politics while entwined romantically, this trope adds a layer of excitement to the mundane office life, making it a beloved choice for readers and writers alike.

14. Love at first sight

Seeing someone and falling in love immediately is a huge romance trope, but that always makes it a great read when it is done well.

15. Military

If you choose this trope, one of your characters will be in the military or some other program where they need to be gone a lot. You could choose a story set in the past where people communicate through letters, or a more modern one where they still need to keep the spark alive through the distance.

16. Forbidden love

Two characters being banned from falling in love is almost always a recipe for them to fall in love.

17. Second chance romance

Getting a second chance at a (potentially) great relationship is a situation a lot of people dream about. It also makes for a great story when it comes to romance novels.

Whether it is ex’s trying to work it out or people who reconnect after a long time apart, there is something incredibly romantic about getting a second chance when you can.

18. Shapeshifters, vampires, or other mystics

As we saw with books like Twilight, there is no doubt that some mystical books can succeed and land with a lot of readers. There is a lot of potential here, considering how many mystical creatures there are and ways you could have these kinds of stories go.

19. Forced proximity

Stuck in an elevator? Stuck in that little tiny office working together on a hard project? All of these are fertile grounds for a budding relationship. This is when you stick two people in close proximity where they cannot escape each other.

20. Blind date

A blind date is a perfect excuse to set up some characters for romance. You could include them hitting it off immediately or go a different route and include some tension first.

21. Artificial intelligence

With so much in the news about artificial intelligence lately, this might be the perfect time to write a story that includes this romance trope.

22. Amnesia, or mistaken identity

This one is where a character loses their memory or is using a different identity. They are not who they think they are and the romance can come in many different formats ranging from someone taking care of them when they don’t remember what happened or someone falling in love with a different identity.

23. Coming of age

Is there anything stronger and more emotional than your first love? The first time you realize you have feelings for someone and it is time to act on them?

24. Traveling

While this one is close to the “fish out of water” element we covered above, sometimes there is something so full of romantic about traveling in general. You could have two people who travel together and fall in love or maybe your character meets someone abroad.

25. The one that got away

While this one is one of the saddest options, it can be a great story to tell. It will be up to you whether they ultimately get together or not in the end, but if not, they can be the one who got away.

Now, you’re practically ready to write a romance novel that will make your readers swoon! Remember, the key is to pick tropes that you love and that you think your readers will enjoy. Then, you can weave them together into a story that’s both unique and unforgettable.

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