This week I’ve been thinking a lot about keywords and metadata, which essentially brought me to analyzing my core story and favorite tropes. In Atlanta, at RWA#13, Bella Andre, Courtney Milan, and Liliana Hart all spent a portion of the time talking about keywords and metadata. Each one emphasized the importance of getting those keywords right so that your readers can find you. These women have found astounding success as indie authors. First of all, let’s get this out of the way, each of these women are fabulous story-tellers. If they couldn’t tell a great story that held together, it wouldn’t matter what you called it or how you tagged it, people wouldn’t read it. However, beyond that, these women have found a key to success in getting their books in front of readers who want to read the kind of story they’re telling.
Enemies to Lovers
So I began to think about what kind of story I tell. What are the keywords I’d use to describe each of the books I’ve written and indie published? First thing that came to mind is enemies-to-lovers. Many of my books–both my paranormal romances (indie published) and my contemporary romances (soon to be published both traditionally and indie)–are stories where the hero and heroine start out as enemies or opponents. During the course of the story, they must learn to work together, and in the process, they fall in love. The Megiddo Mark (first indie published as a serialized novel in four parts, now released as a single novel) is an enemies-to-lovers story. So is Pompeii Reawakened, its sequel and a continuation of The Megiddo Series where Sienna and Kane get their own story. Even To Have & To Hold, the first in my dragon shifter series, is an enemies-to-lovers story, which is harder because the couple is married. But still, the trope is there, if a bit twisted.
Two Dogs Fighting Over The Same Bone
The second trope I noticed as part of the core story of many of my books is the two-dogs-fighting-over-the-same-bone convention. In this scenario, the hero and the heroine are fighting over something–usually something physical–that they both want or must have for very good reasons.
The Megiddo Mark is clearly a two-dogs story, as is Pompeii. While To Have & To Hold and From This Day Forward (the second dragon shifters story released in late August or early September) don’t focus on the two-dog-one-bone convention, there is a suspense subplot where the hero and heroine must vie for an object that the villain is after. So, truly, those two stories also fall into that camp.
Even my contemporary romances (Essence, out in the spring 2014, and Out of Bounds, out in October) are clearly stories where the hero and the heroine are fighting over a bone. In the case of Essence, the hero and heroine are fighting over a piece of land. In Out of Bounds, they’re fighting over the discovery and exposure of a secret. Even in the contemporary romance I’m currently writing, working title Every Heart Sings, the hero and heroine duke it out over the career of a rising musician. In every case, the two protagonists have a stake in this “bone.”
Beauty and The Beast
All of my stories except one (so far) are beauty and the beast stories or have elements of this story line. There’s something appealing to me about pairing a character who is monstrous (or believes he or she is) with a character who offers unconditional love. In every case, that supposed monster is tamed or healed by the love of a good protagonist. If you take that story line even a step further, it becomes the-bad-boy-redeemed trope, which is totally the focal point of Pompeii Reawakened.
Woman in Jeopardy
Finally, I think most of my stories have at their core, a story of the woman in jeopardy. This trope definitely encompasses The Megiddo Mark, Pompeii Reawakened, To Have & To Hold, and From This Day Forward, which all contain a strong suspense subplot. However, even my contemporary romances contain an element of the woman-in-jeopardy scenario. In Essence, it’s the heroine’s livelihood that’s at stake. Same with Out of Bounds, it’s the heroine’s good reputation and career as an Olympic athlete that’s hanging in the balance.
So, if you’re a writer, what are the keywords or tropes you’d use to describe your stories? Do you have favorites that you are drawn to?
As a reader, what conventional story is your favorite type of story to read?