Get Your Trope On by Vivi Andrews
Tropes: Commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works
When I first started reading romance (lo, these many years ago), I remember being instantly sucked in by the classic tropes—friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, Cinderella stories, reunion romances, you name it. There was something indefinably appealing about those familiar themes rising up through various times and places and plotlines.
The stories had been told a thousand times and a thousand ways, but I still couldn’t get enough.
I am still, to this day, a total sucker for any sort of an arranged marriage plot – so I suppose it comes as no surprise that when I sat down to write my new shape-shifter series, the story that screamed to be told was of a good girl being tempted by the bad boy when she knows it is her duty to marry Mr. Perfect Lion instead.
One of my favorite things about paranormal romance is that there really is no limit to the stories we can tell. We create the parameters of the world—so if I want arranged marriages to still be done in shape-shifting lion prides, poof. Done. (Though of course I have to back it up in the world-building, creating a shifter culture that revolved around tradition, a heroine bound by duty, a lion pride that needed the stability of the match.) Tropes aren’t a short cut, but that touch of the familiar can add a richness to your stories.
How much more intriguing would a friends-to-lovers story become when the friends are also struggling with one’s emerging witchcraft and another’s sudden blood-thirst as a newly turned vampire? The paranormal elements can play into the tropes in so many ways. Perhaps that vampirism is the catalyst for the change in their relationship.
Cinderella stories, reunion romances—all of them are possible inside the framework of paranormal romance. We can steal themes from historicals and contemporaries, giving them new life in a new world, but we also get to play with animalism and instinct, big fate-of-the-world-altering conflicts, and the layers of socio-political push and pull that arise from non-humans struggling to figure out how to fit into (or hide from) a human world. Paranormals are just so juicy!
Scratch the surface of your favorite paranormal romances and you’ll see those same familiar tropes made new again. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the familiar in unexpected ways.
What are some of your favorite romance tropes? Have you ever woven them into a paranormal story, either intentionally or not? Are there some you find yourself returning to or wish you could find a way to work into your books? (The comments are open for brainstorming.) J
Here’s the blurb for Jaguar’s Kiss, my arranged marriage shape-shifter blend.
To get what he wants, he’ll have to rattle her cage…
Lila Fallon, the Lone Pine Pride Alpha’s only daughter, has been betrothed since childhood to marry her father’s chosen successor. The match is designed to maintain peace by shoring up any cracks in pride solidarity.
She’s always known she would do her duty—she just never expected to meet a man who would tempt her to throw it all away.
As a black panther, Santiago Flores couldn’t be a less suitable mate for the Alpha’s purebred lioness daughter. But that doesn’t change the fact that for every one of the five years he’s been with the Lone Pine Pride, he’s been head-over-heels in love with her. And when the Alpha announces that Lila’s indefinite engagement is about to end in a very definite marriage, Santiago is through holding his peace.
From their very first kiss, Santiago rattles Lila’s neatly ordered world. But can a lioness who’s always lived to please everyone else risk everything to please herself?
Warning: This book contains tempting lone-wolf jaguars, lionesses who long for fairy tale endings, arranged marriages, tangled emotions and a pride full of trouble.
Vivi Andrews is an award-winning paranormal romance novelist with a travel addiction. Born and raised in Alaska, she currently lives in Manhattan when she isn’t bouncing around the globe. Whether at home or on the road, she’s always at work on her next happily-ever-after. For more about Vivi’s latest release Jaguar’s Kiss, her other books or the exploits of a nomadic author, please visit her website at www.ViviAndrews.com, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.