Monday, 24 June 2013

Laurel Cremant is guesting here today! Come see what she has to say!

Please welcome Laurel Cremant here today who is chatting to us about romance tropes :D

Dear Dee,

Thanks so much for having me as your guest today! I’m super excited to be here today and talk about my latest obsession--Romance Tropes. Yup those things that naysayers often use to presume that the romance genre is “formulaic” and “repetitive”.

A literary trope can be defined as a common or overused theme or device. . . in other words a cliche. It amuses me to no end that the romance genre is the one most often accused of the use of topes (as if it’s a bad thing) when the reality is, that every form of storytelling has at least one trope used in it’s plot.

Consider the recent popularity of superhero movies. Every single one of them uses the “tortured hero” trope, almost exclusively. Yet are they all the same? No! For example the plot and storylines were very different for Iron Man 3 and the latest Man of Steel movies, yet they both used the same trope. Does that make them unoriginal and bland? Of course not.

The use of tropes within the romance genre is much the same as above. Yes, they are used however, it all comes down to how they are used. Romance authors, especially in the last fifteen years, have showcased such an amazing range of storytelling, that I find the accusation of being formulaic and repetitive down right laughable.

It’s not a secret that some people consider reading romance a guilty pleasure. They look at reading romance novels as some kind of naughty past-time. I say it’s time to come out of the closet. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a well told story with a happy ending.

For those of you needing a little push, I’d like to refer to the list of confessions below. When I first began my journey as a romance writer I wrote a blog post titled, 5 Confessions of a Romance Reader and Wannabe Romance Author, confessing the following:

Confession #1
Heaving bosoms and quivering members are oh so exciting...not! Contrary to popular opinion, the sex scenes aren't what make a romance novel. It's somehow getting the reader to care whether or not two people end up together in the first place. I can have characters perform every position in the Kama Sutra but if I don't convey any real feeling to the acts and get the reader to root for each moment, then in my opinion its a waste of a scene. I'm currently terrified of writing my first sex/love scene. Aside from it proving to my mother that I'm not pure as snow, there's the fact that a bad love scene can really ruin a good book. If only there was a custom scene generator for this stuff...

Confession #2
Heaving bosoms and quivering members can be super hot! I know this sounds like a contradiction to #1 but who am I kidding? A hot scene is oh so nice to read. There's a reason why the new Old Spice commercials are so popular...that being said I worry about what could be considered too racy or even too tame for readers in today's market.

Confession #3
Sometimes it really is just sex. Too many people still insist on calling sex scenes love scenes. People assume that romance novels must have a staple "love" scene. Seriously people, sometimes a duck is just a duck (yup word association here totally intended). I actually have no fear associated with this confession. All my ducks will be ducks if that's what I'm aiming for.

Confession #4
Mr. Alpha Male loves Miss Plain Jane...I almost didn't even want to add this confession to the list. Okay yes, I will admit that I love a good Plain Jane romance. It pulls at all those residual high school crush heart strings still strung up somewhere in my psyche. I personally blame every 80's teen movie ever made for this (especially the ones with Molly Ringwald). Despite the fact that the Alpha/Jane storyline gets used a lot, there a lot of authors that have found new and more plausible ways of portraying it (Jennifer Cruise's Bet Me is a good example). I really think that as a writer I shouldn't limit myself on a storyline just because the skeleton of it falls in line with a cliche. One of my biggest fears is to not write a story that I think will be great just because I'm afraid of what others may say. Just because the skeleton has been used before doesn't mean that I can't create a storyline that's new, fun and engaging. Whenever I worry about this I just remember my fiancée's assessment of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (the film not the book)--"It was really sad when the Jesus Allegory Lion died"...enough said.

Confession #5
Mr. Alpha Male has to be an alpha male. Okay this one is going to be hard for some people to take, but not every male lead in a romance novel has to be rich, sexy, arrogant and aggressive. First of all in real life men like these are usually arrested for assault. Second of all with the exception of the sexy part I just described Donald Trump. I don't know about most women but when I'm imagining my romantic heroes Donald Trump is not the first example to spring to mind. As a romance reader and writer I want my romantic heroes to have depth and substance. There has to be more than just surface attraction there to justify my heroine falling in love with him. As a wanna be author I often fear that I won't be able to create not just a believable male hero but a believable heroine as well. I worry about creating a hero both my heroine and readers can fall in love with and creating a heroine my readers can relate to who they believe my hero deserves.

When I was preparing for this post and read those confessions again, it was so surreal! It really wasn’t so long ago that I began this wonderful journey in writing. I hope that reading and sharing my confessions will help others to see that a little trope loving isn’t necessarily a bad (or unoriginal) thing.

Thanks Dee for having me on today. Keep on reading and loving your romances!


Thanks for stopping by Laurel!!

Laurel is a romance author, who like most writers loves to read. Her first love (pun intended) has always been romance. From the sappy YA romance novel to the more risqué erotica novels, Laurel is a sucker for a good love story.

Laurel writes paranormal and contemporary romance and is a self proclaimed, out of the closet nerd. She admits that she can't seem to avoid adding a bit of "nerdology" or "geek-dom" to all of her books. Living in Miami, she also admits that she can't seem to avoid giving her heroines gorgeous shoes, "In Miami, we worship everything strappy, open toed and just plain hot!"

Her debut novel, Negotiating Skills, is currently available for free download via Amazon and All Romance. And Coming Soon (July 2013) via Evernight Publishing, is her next novel titled, Persuasion Skills.



  1. Hi Dee, Thanks so much for hosting me! It was really fun!

  2. I like beta males better than alphas. And with them, you can create a more unusual trope, like alpha female with beta male. Christopher Moore, in "A Dirty Job" described the beta male as being the ultimate lover (only partly tongue-in-cheek) because while the alphas were out proving themselves to each other, the betas stayed home and helped the "little woman" to do her chores, kept her company, played with the kids, and often was invited to help her "relieve her stress", (wink!)

    And what I find really annoying is that no one expects Stephen King to be seriously warped (ok, maybe they do), but he writes weird books. No one expects writers of books about serial killers to be actual murderers themselves. So why do people get so weird when you tell them you write romance books with sex scenes? Americans are such Puritans!

    1. I agree about people being wierd when they find out you're writing about sex!

  3. Tammy J. Palmer26 June 2013 at 23:31

    Americans are pretty messed up when it comes to sex. Obsessed with it and ashamed of it at the same time. Love and sex are extremely important to pretty much everyone, and yet for some reason many people think that reading stories about love and sex is something to be embarrassed about. Not logical people!

    1. It's nothing to be embarrassed about, I know loads of erotica authors who have told everyone what they do!

  4. Lol well as an American I can loudly declare that I am far from being a prude. However, I do agree that many people regardless of nationality have a very. . .sweet view of what should be part of a romance. Which is fine as long as they don't make erroneous assumptions about entire genres or sub-genres. That being said what are your favorite tropes?

    1. I would have put an answer here Laurel, but even after reading your post, and googling lol, I still don't really know what a trope is!

  5. Dear Author has a post this week about tropes, with readers all chiming in with their favorites, and the ones they avoid. Amusingly enough, there are fans of every trope you can imagine, and an equal amount of readers who avoid that trope like the plague.

    I like strong independent women, who have insta-lust with the hero. He's the one who realizes he can't let this one get away, and he has to spend the rest of the book convincing her he's her Mr. Right.

    I HATE virgins of either sex, stories that take forever for any action between the protagonists, secret babies, and Regencies make me gag.

    1. Oh I like regencies! They're a new favourite :)

  6. I have to admit that I love a good regency, especially the bdsm regencies that have become so popular recently.They tend to have more independent heroines.

    Regarding tropes I tend to go for the best-friends-to-lovers and the plain-jane-sexy-boss tropes :)


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