On Genre Fiction


Urban Fantasy

Contemporary Romance, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction Romance

Science Fiction


Fairytales, Repetition, and Social Myth . . . We retell fairytales, remain fascinated by the inherent plots and archetypes because the social tensions they reveal persist to this day.

Urban Fantasy

Archetype Sighting! The Reluctant Witch . . . But I am struck by the number of paranormal and urban fantasy books featuring a heroine who has vowed or neglected her magic at the start, and must come to terms with her powers in order to “save the day” or to embrace who their true identities.


Hero Vulnerabilities in Romance . . . Secrets are perhaps the best vulnerability for story line and character allure. The reveal and fallout from the secret will comprise key plot points. Read on for more vulnerabilities.

Trope Sighting! Taking a bullet for love . . . The hero gets shot protecting the heroine vs. the heroine gets shot protecting the hero: Which is more romantic, more compelling to the plot?

Contemporary Romance

Archetype Sighting! The New Fairy Godmother in Modern Romance Novels . . . Why do so many heroines in romance novels have a female friend who is better dressed or has stand-out style? These supportive fashionista friends push the heroine’s boundaries, provide encouragement, polish her beauty, and gift her with clothing—serving as archetypal fairy godmothers.

Trope Denied! NOT Running from an Arranged Marriage . . . When the heroine is forced to marry an anti-hero, but instead of hatching an elaborate but doomed escape plan, she recognizes running is not an option.

Archetype Sighting! Pining but Philandering Hero . . . When the hero really really wants the heroine, and intends to have her, yet while waiting for his chance, has sex with other women and later swears, “none of them meant anything.”

Historical Romance

Two-for-One Trope Sighting! Heroine disguised as a male . . . A heroine in disguise sleeps in the same room as her hero, who thinks she’s a man. Also, when the hero discovers her true gender, he walks in on her naked.

Trope Sighting! Heroine on Horseback . . . When the hero sees, often first meets, the heroine on what he assumes is a runaway horse, but upon closer discovery or interference, discovers she is an adept horsewoman, which he finds very attractive.

Trope Sighting! Search for an Heiress, Finding a Penniless Maid . . . When the hero or heroine’s financial motivations for marriage (in Regency romance) nearly destroy their chance at true love.

Unmasked Heroines in Regency Romance . . . The Regency era was particularly limiting on women’s rights and critical of their faculties, which makes the female in disguise plots more harrowing.

Genre Police! Urgent Marriages in Regency Romance . . . A list of tropes to excuse basically estranged characters getting married in Regency romances.

Paranormal Romance

Genre Police! Heroes that are too many tropes . . . When a writer creates a hero that’s too many things, she has to fill the reader’s expectations for that hero, plot-wise and romance-wise. Juggling too many and fitting them all in one book is difficult—though not impossible—and makes the story and the hero seem over the top.

Genre Police! Relying on Genre Terms in Werewolf Romance . . . Bless their hearts, whatever they were thinking, including all the guys with the next “Great American Novel,” they didn’t laugh. And damn it, the number of people who read the genre gives the concept validity. Explaining the concepts to those unfamiliar with the genre, standing up for them, has made me take a harder look at the common core of paranormal romance.

Archetype Sighting! Scarred Heroine . . . When the heroine has scars—indicative of a brutal backstory—which she considers disfiguring and the hero assures her are a testament of her strength.

Trope Sighting! Widowed (but turns out not really) . . . When a hero/heroine’s friend, who has been mourning their dead partner/mate/etc., discovers they’ve been alive all this time! *Cue the sequel*

Trope Sighting! Vampires and Telepathy . . . Reversing or confounding mental invasion in vampire romances indicates significant change to the archetype. In monster theory, one of the vampire’s greatest weapons is the ability to penetrate personal sanctums/the mind.

Science Fiction Romance

Archetype Sighting! SciFi Romance Heroes . . . 6 Common Male Archetypes: Beast, Charmer, Neanderthal, Ruler, Second Son, and Slave/Prisoner of War,

Archetype Sighting! SciFi Romance Heroines . . . 7 Common Female Archetypes: Damsel in Distress, Rescued Damsel, Earth Mother, Female Warrior, Goody Two Shoes, Translator, and Wanderer.

Archetype Sighting! SciFi Romance Hero-Heroine Matches . . . After categorizing the heroes and heroines from 33 science fiction romances, I matched them up to see if any of the archetypes paired up more frequently than others and came up with 6 archetype pairings.

Genre Police! Sexuality and Physicality in SciFi Erotic Romance . . . Horns, Tails, Inhuman Eyes … and a Penis that does what? Scales of alien physicality and unusual sexuality in Science Fiction Romance

Science Fiction

Genre Police! Outline of a SciFi Action Movie . . . Some science fiction action movies check off these archetypes and plot elements one-by-one.