Musical Arrangements and Romantic Tropes, by Becky Moore
The recent passing of Doc Watson has sparked lots of memories for my husband and I. When our son was just about four months old, we saw Doc Watson and David Grisman perform at the North Carolina Museum of Art. Country music is NOT my thing, but I do enjoy bluegrass on a hot summer night. And when they played All About You, I knew I had found my morning lullaby. For years we sang it to, and then with, our son.
Another favorite Doc Watson song is his arrangement of Summertime. What an extraordinarily awesome song. In all the different arrangements and styles, Summertime is good anyway it’s played. Here are some of performances:
It got me to thinking about other places where creative ideas are repeated or arranged. In the romance genre we call them tropes; Webster’s Dictionary defines a trope as “a common or overused theme or device: cliché.”
I love the Plain Jane trope, where a rather unremarkable heroine is transformed into an irresistible siren through a makeover. Linda Howard’s Open Season is one of my absolute favorites! Daisy Minor decides to make over her whole life on the morning of her 34th birthday … another birthday that begins with a special breakfast with her mom and her aunt. What healthy, intelligent, compelling librarian wouldn’t want that routine? Only, she begins to catch the attention of the town’s new police chief, Jack Russo, pre-makeover. Her decision has been made to make the change, but he saunters into the library on her day of reckoning, before she can swing by the salon on her way home. Jack’s a great hero, because he loves to irritate the hell out of her for no other reason than it’s just plain ol’ fun. Or so he thinks. Knowing that Daisy has declared open season for hunting a mate, he just wants her to exercise her new sense of romantic adventure on him while she’s looking. But since this is romance we’re talking about, you know he’s not going to stand for her picking anyone else but him. It’s nice to see Daisy’s confidence blossom throughout the story, knowing that it’s a combination of her own decision to take control of her fate and the reluctantly budding romance with the chief.
Another good one is the little sister—big brother’s friend trope. Having been an only child for my nearly four decades of life, I’m drawn like a magnet to these stories. Perhaps it’s because my teenage self was smitten with my best friend’s brother. I had all kinds of silly scenarios that played through my head. One story that comes to mind is Lora Leigh’s Dangerous Games. That book runs hot and cold for me, because I really like the story of Morganna Chavez loving her older brother’s best friend, Navy SEAL Clint “Iceman” McIntire, but I’m not a fan of the BDSM stuff. Seriously, if my husband tried to spank me or tie me to the wall, he’s walk away missing a testicle or two. So aside from the over-the-top “code” of the clubs, I find Clint to be a totally sexy, strong hero and Morganna to be strong, competent heroine. Clint’s controlling spills outside of the clubs, though, and Morganna has to keep him in check. It’s a good play on that balance of power.
How about the love triangle trope? My favorite: Charlayne Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series. Those vampires and shifters down in Bon Temps, Louisiana are certainly not boring. Some of the books are better than the others, and the books and installments of HBO’s True Blood series waffle back and forth to me, but the story as a whole is really good. In All Together Dead, Sookie and vampire Bill have parted ways, and she’s torn between him and Viking vampire Eric (my top choice because … hello … he’s a Viking), and newcomer shifter Quinn. Sigh, to be in the center of that love triangle might not be so terrible, huh?
And then there’s my favorite, learning to love and trust again with the help of a new, irresistible partner. That’s part of the basis for my 1 Night Stand story, The Great Outdoors. Tallulah Murphy was dragged through the mud professionally by her ex-boyfriend, who decided to malign her once she got the promotion they were both up for; and Mitchell Weaver’s ex-wife was a tramp who cheated on him with every law enforcement officer drawing breath in the next county over. They’ve both been alone for a while, both very busy, and both signed up by friends for Madame Eve’s exclusive online dating service. It’s time, so it seems, for both to move on. Luckily, both Tallulah and Mitchell agree, and take a chance on happiness once again.
What’s your favorite romance trope, and where can we find it?
THE GREAT OUTDOORS | blurb
Tallulah Murphy is a busy woman. As the newly appointed Director of Education for the Atlanta Art Museum, she has a thousand and one things to do on any given day. Dating is not high on that list; in fact, it’s not even on the radar. Three hundred miles away in Charleston, South Carolina, Lieutenant Mitchell Weaver is gearing up for his promotion to be the youngest police chief in the city’s history. And unfortunately, as a prominent city official with all eyes watching his every move, a quality date seems untenable. But when good friends and good fortune set Tallulah and Mitch on a fateful adventure with Madame Evangeline’s high-end dating service, 1 Night Stand, they may just find that a little matchmaking magic can reset their spirits of adventure, and open their hearts and minds to the possibility of love.
BECKY MOORE | bio & links
Becky Moore is tall and buxom, highly educated and culturally savvy…well, three outta four ain’t bad.
She’s a world traveler, problem solver, and crusader. Thankful for the love of reading she inherited from her mom, mother to a superbly cool kid, wife to the world’s most handsome man. A mental-marathon runner, freelance photographer, faithful companion to Magnolia May the beagle, and a prolific reader and writer.
She’s an active member of her local Romance Writers of America chapter, the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers.
In her down time, and in the real world, Becky loves to spend time with her husband and son. They live in the urban wilds of central North Carolina. Becky is an avid gardener, biker, kayaker, bicyclist, knitter, and community volunteer. She spent over a dozen years working as a writer, graphic artist, photographer and PR whiz in the pharmaceutical advertising, hi-tech, performing arts, and HIV/AIDS (grantwriting) fields before venturing into her current status of full-time author. And like her favorite characters, when you close her books, Becky will be just be a fond memory.