Tropes. I see the question asked in the community. Sometimes it’s asked with a veneer of not even veiled derision like a tiger waiting to pounce on the idiot who answers with a ‘sure why not’. Other times it’s asked genuinely like ‘should we shouldn’t we?’. Other times it’s asked with a ‘f’ it – yes to tropes!’.
Like all my middling ways, I sit in the middle. I get the condescending snickering of the well informed crowd. They’re not wrong. Tropes are cliche and often silly. For me, in the best way, but I never did do affectation very well. Tropes are also useful. They lay some of the framework for a story’s arc and it doesn’t mean you can’t go off the rails and smash the trope that you began with. That’s interesting to me.
Cheating SOs are a major trope in romancelandia and I can’t lie a reoccurring theme in my stories. It is a bit of lazy writing because it’s such an easy kill, the cheating spouse/SO. I do feel like I’ve handled this differently each time. My writing MO in romance is the hazy un-surety of a relationship. This is why I’ll never get an agent or a publishing deal. I quit trying awhile ago but that’s another blog post.
Romance is the ultimate formula – a straight line with some absurd right angles that can’t go anywhere but back to HEA like an infinite loop. My stories don’t do this formula very well, though I feel I do give the reader a type of HEA. And because there are some decent sex scenes in my book they can’t be considered for straight women’s fiction. Maybe I need to put my Lolita skills aside. Maybe not. These days I write for fun. Whatever happens happens.
Cheating is a universal theme and it’s understandable why it’s such a trope. It has fueled romance, suspense, even literature (without the 50 Shades descriptive). It’s a real life, real time, issue. People cheat for the right reasons, for the wrong reasons, sometimes for no reason at all. But they do it all the time. Sometimes the relationship survives. Sometimes not. Sometimes it’s how the relationship works. Sometimes it turns 20/20 dark sometimes it takes a rom-com turn other times it’s generational defining tragedy, the kind you study in school.
Either way it’s a powerful trope, as are most of them, and one I think I’ll keep in my arsenal.