I hope you’ll enjoy this replay from my blog tour, from the Romance Book Paradise on March 19th.

My Five Favorite Romance Book Premises:

It is a well known fact that there are only a limited number of plots for books – I’ve heard anywhere from twenty to thirty-six – such as human against nature; Human versus society; human against human; human against self; human against supernatural; and the list goes on.


It is also said that there are sixteen to forty-five master character archetypes depending on which books I refer to, and I have a few favorites. I love the plucky heroine, or the seductive muse.  Who doesn’t love a protector hero or the bad boy?

Writing romance forces the author to learn about the “hooks” readers have come to know and love.  Again, this number varies depending on your resources. Today, I’d like to share my top five favorite romance story premises, and why I love them so.

  1. Marriage of convenience.  Ever read one of these?  It takes a real skill to write forced proximity stories well, and I drool when I read a good one. I used this      premise in Assignment Baby. I find many of these types of stories in historical romance, which lends  itself to barter brides or mail order brides. A great example of a recent marriage of convenience story was the wonderful con-temporary movie starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, The Proposal.
  2. Secret baby.  Ah, who doesn’t love a good “I got pregnant but never told you” story? I’ve written one or two of these books, and I found it very challenging to make the situation believable while not making the reader angry at the heroine for keeping the super big secret. In Temporary Doctor, Surprise Father I added a special twist to this plot and it was a book that wound up being a finalist in the Greater Detroit Book Buyer’s Best contest in 2010.
  3. Pregnant with another man’s baby.  Also known as – How to you make a man fall in love with a pregnant woman in nine months or less? This is an incredibly tough plot to pull off due to limited time and the exceptionally touchy subject of a man accepting a woman carrying another man’s baby.  One false move and the story may ring untrue and turn off the reader.  Fiona Lowe did a wonderful job of pulling it off in Pregnant on Arrival.  I also have an as-yet-to-be-published book titled Her Baby, His Love that tackles this very topic. I confess that I loved writing it!
  4. Beauty and the Beast. Who doesn’t long to take a dark and brooding male, with or without some sort of disfiguration, make him fit for society again, and have him fall in love with you in the process?  Anyone remember the old TV show back in the 80s – Beauty and the Beast, where Vincent read Dickens and Shakespearean sonnets to Catherine? Very romantic.
  5. Mentor/Protégé also known as Boss books.  This is a hugely popular      plotline from the number of books I’ve seen with “boss” in the title. I’ve written one of these too.  The Boss and Nurse Albright put a  brooding doctor to task when the new nurse practitioner showed up with many out-of-his-comfort-zone ideas on her list of how to change his clinic.  I adored pitting the hero and heroine against each other until they were hopelessly in love!

I also confess to having a few plots that I’m not crazy about.  For instance, amnesia books.  Sorry.  That plot just doesn’t draw me in. You won’t catch me reading any Sheik books either, as I cannot buy into that fantasy on any level.

There is one other storyline I DO love to read and write – reunion stories.  I love when couples who weren’t able to get it together in the past, get a second chance at finding love.  I used this plot for both Courting His Favorite Nurse, and An Indiscretion.

As readers or writers I’m sure you all have your personal favorite plots, too.  What is yours? Or, if you prefer, share a plot you’re really tired of or have never liked.

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  1. Gina B says:

    Hi Lynne,

    I loved this post! I’ve always liked pregnant with another man’s baby stories…there’s something sweet and heroic to me about a guy willing to raise another guy’s child.

    My least favorite plot is the one where the hero has to get married to collect his inheritance. Although I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed many of these stories, so it all depends on how it’s handled 🙂

    I’m also a big fan of Beauty and the Beast stories (I was obsessed with the 80’s TV show!)

    • Hi Gina!
      Oh, I’d forgotten about the “has to get married to collect inheritance” plot. Not a big draw for me either, but like you said – there are many writers who do every romance hook beautifully. I’m sure there’s a fabulous amnesia book out there just waiting for me to sink my reading teeth into it, too.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting today. 🙂

  2. That’s a popular premise for Indian films – the marriage of convenience to collect the inheritance. Then they fall in love!

    • Hi Maria –
      Yes, I can see where that premise would work for arranged marriages. I bet a million different stories could be told on that subject in India. 🙂