I've always loved reading romances. These days I steer clear of medieval romances since that's what I write. I don't want my medieval world to look like anyone else's medieval world. Instead I pick up more recent time periods like the 19th century ,which seems more like modern history to me :) In academic terms, it would be titled "modern" and we now live in the "post-modern" period. Strange how labels work, isn't it?
Labels satisfy our need to make connections in our thoughts. They make it easier for us to remember things. Otherwise life would be a big jumble of overwhelming, disconnected flashes of extremely disturbing events. These labels also make it easier for us to teach these concepts by simplifying the complicated but that can be a very slippery slope.
Learning how to write a romance is no different. There are plenty of blogs, books, and webinars that can help you with information on trope lists, types of character arcs, and spurious conflicts. While the intention may be to simplify the ideas, the end result could be the belief, by both the teacher and the student, that these are your only options. How boring!
Should writing really be looked at like making a sandwich?
Grab a nice trope
Throw it on your favorite character arc
Liberally spread it with conflict
Finish it with a nice spear of Happily Ever After on the side
Certainly not! To think beyond the lists, or outside the box, is a stroke of pure genius. Yes, it is definitely more difficult, more risky, more open to criticism but if you do it right, staying true to your own story, it is absolutely more satisfying.
Happy writing...and reading <3