Monday, April 11, 2011

Archetypical Stories

[This blog of mine was first published by Romance Novel TV. I'm reposting it here with their permission.]

It is a much quoted maxim that there are only seven stories in fiction and that all others are based on them. The son of Irish playwright Denis Johnston says that plots for plays are in fact eight distinct ones. I posit that there are eight romance tropes also. They are...

Romeo and Juliet
Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy finds Girl, HEA

Eliza Doolittle
Waif/urchin/governess/ward changes herself, moves up in the world

Beauty and the Beast / Cinderella / Achilles
Alpha hero meets soft-hearted damsel who reforms bad boy / Unrecognized virtue recognized at last / Boy/Girl have Fatal Flaw, redeemed by Girl/Boy

Faust Saga
Debt must be paid, hero and heroine meet, fulfill quest, fall in love

Marriage of Convenience
To end historical feuds, caught in lovers' tryst, to solve a mystery, to save family from destitution, or mail-order

Secret Baby
H and H meet, fall in lust, hero goes away, heroine has baby, H and H meet again, fall in love, reunion

Love triangle

Friends to Lovers
Childhood Friends suddenly discover Chemistry

Which ones are missing? Which can be combined? Which are your favorites?