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I need cheesy, overused romance tropes. Can anyone help me?

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SteinbeckisGod

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Hello. SteinbeckisGod here with a rather unusual request.

I've got this story idea bouncing around in my head: A freelance explorer goes on a date...with a sapient planet. Well, it's more like the planet goes on a date with him, as she's the one who asked. The problem is, everything she knows about human romance/courtship came from a collection of cheesy romance novels. Hilarity ensues.

So far, I'm managed to finish about half of the outline. There's a problem, though: l I am a 27-year-old man with a love of science fiction who knows diddly-squat about cheesy romance novels. If I'm going to write this thing, I need to know more. What kind of plots do such novels have? What are their characters like? That kind of stuff.

You seem like the kind of people who would know about such things. Could you help me?
 

blackcat777

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Tvtropes.org. They have a category for "love tropes" and "romance novel tropes." You might be able to pick some ideas from those lists pretty quickly. That site is a spice cabinet for plotting. ;)

My local library pleasantly surprised me by the amount of craft books they had specifically about writing romance when I first took an interest.

Also I'd suggest googling for romance novel tropes, romance novel structure, and most importantly - dip your toes into reading different KINDS of romance. I have my little pet genre corners of the universe that I prefer to write in, but reading widely expands my horizons. I love dark and twisted, but I was so humbled by an author's riveting description of innocent sensuality in a YA that I read recently, it made me examine my writing style in ways I would have never thought to do on my own, or by staying inside my bubble.

Happily Ever After is the one non-negotiable ingredient.
 

Marian Perera

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You might want to check out sites like All About Romance and read some of the reviews - especially the ones in the D and F ranges.

Different readers will have different ideas of what's cheesy and overused in romance, especially given how much romances have changed over time and what sub-genre of romance we're dealing with (for instance, a cheesy plot in a NA would be different from a cheesy plot in a historical). Any more details on what the romances in your story are like?
 

ElaineA

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My immediate reaction is...it sounds like you're going to be making fun of the genre, and I'd respectfully ask you to...not. You can definitely take loving digs at "cheesy" tropes, but I hope you will counterbalance it with truly romantic gestures on his part, and respectful depictions of whatever they get up to. That said, examples of cheesy things she might have learned:

tossing a woman over a horse and riding off to ravish her
the length of his hair (don't all heroes look like Fabio???) or his musculature being more Napoleon Dynamite than Conan the Barbarian, or that he's wearing a shirt at all
making love under a waterfall (brrrr) or other Very Awkward Location
calling body parts by OTT names (ie: sword of male mastery, or love tunnel, or...well, you get the point)
you can play on the plot-tropes themselves: Stranded Together (since he's an explorer) or Secretly Royal

But like research for any science aspect of your writing, you're probably going to have to gird your manly loins and pick up a few old romances from the library or a used book store. The older the better, if you want quick research. The 70s-80s ones were out there. There's a lot less "cheese" in this decade's romances, although it does exist. You'd just have to read more to find it.
 

lizmonster

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My immediate reaction is...it sounds like you're going to be making fun of the genre, and I'd respectfully ask you to...not.

Yes. This is a fragile balance.

It's possible to poke fun at genre tropes in a respectful and even affectionate way (see Galaxy Quest), but you need to understand the genre really well first.

But like research for any science aspect of your writing, you're probably going to have to gird your manly loins and pick up a few old romances from the library or a used book store. The older the better, if you want quick research. The 70s-80s ones were out there. There's a lot less "cheese" in this decade's romances, although it does exist. You'd just have to read more to find it.

This. Read a lot. Especially when you're going for the sort of humor that's primarily poking fun, you need to understand all of the subtleties involved - and why, in a lot of cases, those "cheesy" tropes work.
 

blackcat777

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making love under a waterfall (brrrr) or other Very Awkward Location

Oh! So! Stealing this! I do enjoy a bit of well-placed awkwardness when it adds realism and tenderness to the scene.
 

Jan74

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Hello. SteinbeckisGod here with a rather unusual request.

I've got this story idea bouncing around in my head: A freelance explorer goes on a date...with a sapient planet. Well, it's more like the planet goes on a date with him, as she's the one who asked. The problem is, everything she knows about human romance/courtship came from a collection of cheesy romance novels. Hilarity ensues.

So far, I'm managed to finish about half of the outline. There's a problem, though: l I am a 27-year-old man with a love of science fiction who knows diddly-squat about cheesy romance novels. If I'm going to write this thing, I need to know more. What kind of plots do such novels have? What are their characters like? That kind of stuff.

You seem like the kind of people who would know about such things. Could you help me?

Well I think you're in the right place, I'm sure if you search this forum for tropes you'll find threads dedicated to it.

So I do love a comedy and making fun of something, like a spoof....I can no longer watch The Exorcist and be frightened after Scary Movie did a spoof...and just thinking about it makes me laugh.

Well here is a classic cliche of a romance novel. First, your lead guy must have a chiseled jaw and he must smell like musk and look like Fabio....there's your perfect humorous romance guy. The woman must be tiny and a virgin who blushes constantly and can't put together a proper sentence when she's around Fabio, she is always on the cusp of fainting and must be rescued by Fabio because she is useless and can do nothing for herself, after Fabio saves her he promptly deflowers her in a waterfall.

I love romance novels, but I see no problem with mocking the overused cheesy tropes. I think if you google romance cliche's you will find lot's of them.
 

ElaineA

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I love romance novels, but I see no problem with mocking the overused cheesy tropes. I think if you google romance cliche's you will find lot's of them.

I'm trying to remember if you write romance, Jan (vs WF). If you do, I definitely include you as part of the group I'm going to defend, here, even though it's your word I object to.

I'll just say that I DO have a problem with mocking them. There is a huge difference between gently teasing because you know the genre so well and are able to do so without throwing an entire genre's-worth of writers under the bus, and mocking. Romance writers get enough shit everywhere for what we do. We pour just as much blood, sweat, and tears into our stories as SFF writers and MTS writers and Lit Fic writers do. Our stories don't deserved to be "mocked" by anyone, much less someone outside the genre for LULZ.

Playing with the tropes is fine. There are ways to do it that can be funny and OTT and will make a romance writer laugh along with you. We often do it in our own books. Go for the gentle tease, just please don't mock.
 

Jan74

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I'm trying to remember if you write romance, Jan (vs WF). If you do, I definitely include you as part of the group I'm going to defend, here, even though it's your word I object to.

I'll just say that I DO have a problem with mocking them. There is a huge difference between gently teasing because you know the genre so well and are able to do so without throwing an entire genre's-worth of writers under the bus, and mocking. Romance writers get enough shit everywhere for what we do. We pour just as much blood, sweat, and tears into our stories as SFF writers and MTS writers and Lit Fic writers do. Our stories don't deserved to be "mocked" by anyone, much less someone outside the genre for LULZ.

Playing with the tropes is fine. There are ways to do it that can be funny and OTT and will make a romance writer laugh along with you. We often do it in our own books. Go for the gentle tease, just please don't mock.

Yes, I love romance and that is what I'm writing now. :) I agree with you we work just as hard as someone who writes sci-fi or fantasy or horror etc, no doubt about it! I immediatley liked the OP novel idea and could really see the humour in it and how horribly wrong things could go if a guy were to act like one of the guys from a romance novel. What I love in romance novels I don't think I would appreciate in real life....in fact I wouldn't...so I could see how the OP story could go terribly wrong if one were to base human behavior on romance novels since the characters are usually extremes in nature. It wouldn't have to mock the genre but take the hero/heroine traits and weave them into a story somehow.

I hope that makes sense.
 
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