Updated 06 February 2024
I've covered the enemies to lovers romance trope previously on the blog, and now, I want to talk about another romance book trope: opposites attract.
What is the opposites attract romance trope?
Think of it as enemies to lovers romance's less angsty cousin. It's two people without much in common who assume they won't work because they're too different. But, as the plot reveals, they're way more similar than they think.
What makes the opposites attract trope different from the enemies to lovers romance trope?
The opposites attract trope still offers plenty of opportunities for conflict, but you don't need the inciting incident necessary in enemies to lovers romances to show how the enmity began.
Instead, your focus is on writing two people who seem at first like they have nothing in common, and plotting story beats that show them slowly discovering their shared interests, thoughts, and backgrounds.
Can the opposites attract trope work for all romance novels, regardless of sub-genre?
Yes, this trope works with every sub-genre, though it's particularly common in contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, and monster romance. The trope also works well when combined with the slow burn trope; because the opposites attract is predicated on the characters really knowing each other before they fall in love, it lends itself well to a slower-paced romance plot.
What books can you read to see this trope in action?
Three books that do a fantastic job with the opposites attract trope are:
Dating Dr. Dil by Nisha Sharma
The Professor Next Door by Jackie Lau
Heart of the Steal by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish
While you're reading these, record your impressions of the main characters' similarities and differences at the beginning, middle, and end of the book. Then, once you've read the happily ever after, go back through your notes and see how your impressions changed throughout the story. Now think about the characters' impressions of each other. Which story beats made them see each other differently? How did each beat affect the characters' emotional and physical connection?
Keep your notes nearby as you start plotting your opposites attract romance; it'll help you decide how you want your readers to understand your characters, and your characters to understand each other, at different points in the story.