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romance tropes

20 Romance Tropes: What Are They and How to Utilize Them

Twenty popular romance tropes for you and your business.


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There are so many romance tropes it’s insane. Why? Because there are genres and subgenres galore, and everyone has their favorites!

Personally, my favorite romance tropes include but are not limited to dystopian fantasy romances with either enemies to lovers or friends to lovers. I didn’t realize that I love enemies to lovers as much as I do until Sarah J. Maas.

I’ve literally been bingeing her books for like months now, and I can’t seem to get enough. Do you know why? Because she knows her audience and her romance tropes are on point!


20 Romance Tropes to get you started.

  1. A secret baby
  2. A rebound relationship
  3. An arranged marriage
  4. A fake relationship
  5. A friends-to-lovers romance – Two people who start out as friends but eventually realize they have deeper feelings for one another
  6. An enemies-to-lovers romance – Two people who can’t stand each other at first but eventually come to understand and appreciate one another
  7. A second chance romance
  8. A forbidden romance
  9. A May-December romance
  10. An office romance
  11. Alpha Male – The strong, silent type who knows what he wants and goes after it. A dominating, aggressive, and often physically imposing man who is usually the leader of his pack.
  12. Bad Boy – The dangerously attractive rebel and knows how to push all the right buttons.
  13. Billionaire – A wealthy man who can buy anything and everything he desires. The ultimate catch comes with a hefty price tag but is always worth it.
  14. Boss/Employee – A powerful man in charge at work, often commanding respect and attention from those around him. The forbidden fruit that’s just too tempting to resist, especially when working closely together day in and day out.
  15. Brothers/Sisters – Whether they’re related by blood or bond, these characters have a special connection that can’t be denied.
  16. Childhood Friends – They knew each other when they were just kids, but now they’re all grown up and ready to explore their feelings for one another.
  17. Commando – This military hottie is tough as nails on the outside but has a soft spot for his leading lady.
  18. Fake Relationship – They start off pretending to be together but eventually, the lines between fiction and reality blur.
  19. Friends with Benefits – These two friends decide to take their relationship to the next level by adding some no strings attached benefits.
  20. Gamer Guy/Girl – They bonded over their shared love of gaming, and now they’re ready to take things offline and into the real world.

Ask yourself, out of that list, what do YOU love to read?

Romance tropes will pull you and your readers in, be as specific as possible! If you’re considering writing your first romance book or wanting to refine yours, starting with the trope is the first part.

What gets your creativity flowing? Is there a specific romance trope you pick up and love every single time? Or is the book you’ve already written not the romance trope you thought it would be?

Having a highly defined audience to target your books will go a long way! Not only for your specific book but for your own personal brand.


You are your business.

That was something I learned specifically from Michelle Cunningham. When I got started in the entrepreneurial world, it was through direct sales, which was great, maybe not for me. I still use the company’s products, but I rebranded myself for romance books.

Now, I want to target romance tropes that speak specifically to my kind of book and audience. Think about your favorite author; do you know anything else about them? What comes to mind when you think of them?

Targeting romance tropes in your writing gives you the branding you need to make sales with just your face. People will look at me now and only think of inspirational paranormal romance books.


I hope that you found value in this post! If you’re still unpublished, grab my Self-Publishing Toolkit here!

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4 thoughts on “20 Romance Tropes: What Are They and How to Utilize Them”

  1. Great list! I especially appreciated the descriptions of the tropes. I don’t write romance–just romantic subplots–so I wasn’t familiar with them all.

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