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Writing the Enemies to Lovers Romance Trope

Enemies-to-lovers is one of the oldest romance tropes and by far one of the most satisfying to read.

Seeing the way the characters change from the meet-cute to the happily ever after makes for such a satisfying ending.

But the trope isn't easy to write, in large part because the writer has to convey that change through careful character development that shows the main characters stepping away from their preconceived notions and past perceptions of each other and transforming before each other's eyes.

And those preconceived notions and perceptions have to be based on a real, dramatic event that provides the foundation for that delicious tension between the characters.

In Pride and Prejudice, the inciting event that turns Lizzie and Darcy into enemies is the country ball, when Lizzie overhears Darcy sharing his first—unsavoury—impression of her with friends.

In You've Got Mail, one of the best film examples of the trope, it's when Meg Ryan finds out that Joe Fox is responsible for the construction of the big box book store taking away her bookshop's business.

Without the foundational, emotional event to spur the hate that eventually turns to love, the trope just doesn't work.

Keep this in mind as you read the books I've recommended below, which are some of the best examples of using the enemies-to-lovers trope to its fullest extent.

If you can, order paperback copies of each book so you can underline the inciting event that causes the enemies-to-lovers tension. Then, study the scenes that follow this event, making note of how each one subtly shifts the way the main characters talk or think about themselves or each other. Then, go back and make a flow chart of these scenes; this will show you how to use the enemies-to-lovers trope to plot the development of your romance and your characters.

You can also check out the 2019 and 2020 episodes that the Fated Mates podcast recorded on the trope, as well as their episode on Her Best Worst Mistake by Sarah Mayberry.

Until next post, happy reading and writing!


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