Romance Writing Trends for 2023

by Tammy Lough
published in Writing

Researching tidbits of information before creating a new romance novel is like unopened presents waiting to reveal hidden treasures. Thorough research can uncover behind-the-scenes goodies and historical secrets that turn a yawner story into a can’t-put-it-down page-turner. My vivid imagination takes me on a research mission, listening for ghost-like whispers in a closet and the possibility of unearthing yummy tidbits hidden behind lock and key. 

So, when I uncover a genuine holy SH*T, I get giddy inside.

I wondered what the “big romance houses” were saying would be hot in 2023. I found all kinds of juicy predictions and will share three hot romance writing trends for 2023 this research unveiled. I told you, I love research.

My Takeaway:

It became obvious right off the kicker that the historical romance writing trend would remain a full-force genre favorite, but with a twist to set it apart from the past. What kind of twist? I read much favoritism toward the more mature single woman who is a divorcee, a widow, or a widower as the lead role. Force this character to find love again rather than first love.  

To jiggle your memory, I’ll quickly list the ten most popular romance tropes:

  1. The Cute Meet-Cute
  2. Enemies to Lovers
  3. Forced Proximity
  4. Destiny
  5. Childhood Sweethearts
  6. Forbidden Love
  7. Impossible Love
  8. Fake Relationship
  9. Love Triangle
  10. Opposites Attract

The above tropes work for any age group. Since romance readers absorb billions of romance books and enjoy placing themselves in the heroine’s role, I’d say many baby boomers would pluck a romance novel with the plot focusing on a more mature couple right from the shelf.

Think how much fun it would be to write about a 40, 50, 60+ character attempting online dating. Oh my! Sounds like a romantic comedy (romcom) to me. What about finding love at a grief counseling group where folks have lost a spouse? A single (again) cruise?

A New Flicker to the Flame:

Guess what? There is chatter about adapting favorite romance writing trends from the past with an LGBTQIA+ flavor. (LGBTQIA+ is an acronym to signify Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual.)

One suggestion? The friends-to-lovers trope as two women are called upon to empty the contents of a deceased, elderly woman’s attic and find love amongst the bobbles and bangles. Think how you can make the relationship real with inner and outer dialogue, the thoughts running through the minds of your characters, the hopes, and the fears. Authors who truly relate need to dive in with both feet. Write your story. You GOT this!

Young Adult (YA) Romance Novels:

The talk surrounding young adult romance? Dark and dramatic teen romances will rate on the hot scale as dangerous and damaged souls unite in fiery, forbidden love. A tortured past, a young man who cannot, will not control his violent temper, but she cannot bear to leave him behind. These tropes will become as popular as TikTok and BookTok. 

If you haven’t climbed aboard the BookTok phenom, scramble to create talk about your novel among the masses on BookTok. You may not be paying attention, but agents, publishers, and subscription-based streaming services are watching and plucking faves. Romance talk on BookTok? Think Colleen Hoover. I’m serious, scramble! Now. Scoot!

Vamps & Vamp Hunters:

Popular tropes such as a vampire falling in love with the hot vampire hunter hired to bring her down remain popular romance writing trends, BUT, with a twist. Have the main characters step aside and fill the hero and heroine’s shoes with mega-interesting secondary characters. How intriguing to have lesser characters move from the dark, dreary shadows and emerge as the center of attraction and action. 

Universal Theme:

As I researched this article, I came across a theme.

We live in a scary world.

We really do.

I bet each of us could name a scary topic we are dealing with for every letter of the alphabet. Yes, A-Z without skipping a beat. During these times of conflict in so many avenues of our lives, I believe many of us have fearful moments. Sometimes daily. Sometimes all day.

I hope for an upcoming, heartfelt trend in 2023.

Be kind to one another.

It matters.

Writers Write!!!

Tammy Lough creates ​​cozy women’s fiction sprinkled with humor, romance, and moxie aplenty. Her romantic comedy, Lacey’s Lessons of Love, is a 2022 national and international best-seller & the first book of the For the Love of Lacey series. Available Spring 2023: Lacey’s Circle of Love & Fall 2023: Lacey’s Legacy of Love.She is an active member of the Missouri Romance Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Southwest Writers, Saturday Writers, and Women Writing the West. You can connect with Tammy on her website, or on Twitter and Facebook.

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