The Trope Project

Welcome to a project that started as a question from one romance author to another: “So if you think I should write the most universal trope as my first in series…what is that, anyway?”

The recipient of this question was Zoe York, author of Romance Your Brand, a non-fiction writing craft book focused on writing commercial genre fiction series. In it, Zoe talks about picking the most universal trope for your first-in-series from your short list of stories you want to tell. Which leads to a very popular follow up question, so which tropes are more universally popular?

This is both a trap, and a delightfully good science question. The truth is, this is going to vary a LOT by author, sub-genre, what corner of the readerscape you have tapped into, and just how well you subvert the tropes those readers otherwise hate. That being said, we thought it would be fun to gather some data on this.

Enter, The Trope Project. Between March 20, 2020 and June 20, 2020, we are going to be collecting as many survey results as possible on my Romance Trope Ranking chart on Survey Monkey.

Readers!! Thank you so much for filling this out, too! The data you share will help romance writers better understand not just which tropes are popular, but also which tropes are more often enjoyed together by the same readers.

What is a trope? A common theme or plot device in genre fiction.

Why isn’t my favourite trope listed? Zoe narrowed this down to twenty-five common themes found in romance genre fiction. For science, and also sanity! This project is not meant to be exhaustive, but representative: an example of the type of research authors can and should do in their own catalogue.