Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top Five Romance Book Clichés

I love romance books. I've read about a thousand romance books over the past four or five years. My favorites are contemporary romances, but I've also read historical and paranormal.

I even started writing a contemporary romance story a few years ago, although I haven't come near finishing it.

One thing I wanted to do when writing was to avoid the most common clichés. Here's what I think are the top five romance book clichés.

5.  Marriage of convenience: For some reason other than love, the hero and heroine get married. Most common cause is for money—to inherit or fulfill the terms of a will, or to save a property. Less common cause is for the sake of a child or children, to gain custody or adopt.

4. Living together: For some reason—perhaps a misunderstanding or the terms of a will—the hero and heroine are forced to live together for a period of time. They don't like each other at the beginning, but of course true love overcomes all the obstacles.

3. Green eyes: Several different sources tell me that only 1-2% of people worldwide have green eyes, and it's less common in males than females. I haven't kept an actual record, but to the best of my recall, more like 20-30% of the heroes/heroines in romance books have green eyes.

2. Returning home: They knew each other way back when. Either the hero or heroine has been away for years and now returns home. Corollary: She had a huge crush on him when they were young, but he didn't notice her at all. Now that they're grown he discovers how appealing she is.

1. And the number one romance book cliché... Dead parents. Either hero, heroine or both have dead parents. Most likely cause of death: auto accident or plane crash. Cancer's another common one.

So what have I missed? What other clichés abound in romance books, or in literature in general?


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