- Enemies to lovers: Tried and true, many readers adore an enemies to lovers romance. Do we need therapy? Possibly. Beginning as enemies, yet growing to love each other anyway, despite all their flaws, is adorable. Also, banter is a lot of fun to read and fights can cause tension. However, it is easy to go wrong when writing it, which can make it annoying to read. Some common mistakes include: having the hatred be unjustified, moving past the enemies stage too quickly, stopping the witty banter once the characters are in love, or making the relationship toxic. There should always be a valid reason for the characters being enemies. This applies both with mutual and one-sided hatred. Furthermore, many readers like this type of romantic storyline because of the slow progression from enemies to “oh no, do I like them?” to love. Trust is built bit by bit along the way. Keep in mind that the banter is what makes the relationship so intriguing, and should not be sacrificed. It should be present throughout all stages of the romance.
Finally, to avoid portraying a toxic relationship, avoid having the hatred be too valid. If he killed her whole family, or vice versa, I will not want to see them making out. Ever. Instead, have their personalities clash in a way that leads to arguments, but eventually are compliments to each other and creates a power couple. Another thought, if there are two warring kingdoms, there could be a love interest from each kingdom. They hate each other on principle, not because of a personal grudge. Over time, they learn that the other is not actually a bad person.
2. Fake dating: Fake dating is great for mutual pining. Also, it helps with one of the most annoying parts of romance: poor communication. They have an agreement. This is all an act. They couldn’t possibly confess that their feelings are real when the other most definitely doesn’t feel the same way. When this is the case, not communicating romantic feelings fits with the plot rather than being an unnecessary tactic to prolong conflict. It is more realistic and doesn’t take the reader out of the story, shattering their immersion. Consider the reason for the fake dating to take place. What do the character’s have to gain from it? Often, the characters’ will grow and develop as they learn that they no longer care for their original motivation. The relationship that began as an act becomes more important to them. Overall, fake dating can create confusion, misunderstandings, heart break, and all the glorious drama.
3. Forbidden romance: I, personally, love this trope in combination with enemies to lovers; though, it can be executed separately. The love interests must act differently around other people than they would alone. They must sneak around. They cannot tell anyone. They need to keep their relationship a secret. Furthermore, the reason why the romance is forbidden creates stakes. What would happen if they were caught?
4. Opposites: Opposites attract. Having two very different characters interact is interesting because it showcases different worldviews. It is not realistic to have everyone get along all the time. Having characters who are opposites, due to personality, background, or beliefs, will inevitably create the disagreements that would occur in reality. Opposites attract differs from enemies to lovers in that it is not necessarily a rivalry. The characters use each other to grow as people. They have an open mind about the world, and are willing to learn about it, despite disagreeing on occasion. While they grow together, romantic feelings can develop between the two.
5. Betrayal: The character feels shattered. Broken in every sense of the word, for the one they loved was not who they claimed to be. Betrayal focuses on the emotions it causes. Through the heartbreak, romantic feelings linger, clinging to the characters like a shadow. Can they ever truly trust each other again? The relationship must be rebuilt from the ground up. This time, both are acting as their true selves. Secrets still lie between them, stirring questions. Can this love ever be pure, again? Or is it forever tainted?