Thursday, February 8, 2024

Finding Romance by Accident?


I have spent most of the past week rereading Clouds Over Bishop Hill, my first cozy mystery, looking for signs that my two main characters, protagonist Shelley and tow truck driver Michael, were doing more than a little superficial flirting.

In the process I found a list of 150 Romance Tropes. I believe that the list uses a modern definition of “trope” and not just different figures of speech, such as puns, similes, and metaphors. More in the vein of an overused theme or device.

I didn’t have to look far. There it was on the first page, “Old enemies from school.”

In my defense I had to throw Shelley and Michael together often to advance the plot and the important themes I wanted to explore. And I do love writing witty dialogue (my opinion here). So, to develop these characters, did I go too far? It wasn’t my intention to write a romance.

The mystery had to come first. I wanted to learn plotting. I wanted to work with the themes of preservation and community, family and career, past mistakes and forgiveness. Those sound more like conflicts than themes. Indeed, I’m told that conflict is at the heart of good storytelling. But what is my story and what is the subplot?

In going through Evie Alexander’s list of 150 romantic tropes I picked out ten that I’ve used in my writing without really spending an inordinate amount of time or thought on the consequences. Serendipity? Perhaps. But it gives me something to discuss with the REAL romance writers, Misty Urban and Kitty Bardot, when we gather at the BREWED BOOK on Saturday, Feb 10th, from 1-3 p.m.

Join us if you can.


Check out: