Tuesday 14 July 2015

The Tropes of Regency Romance

It's a pleasure to welcome Jeanna Ellsworth, author of Inspired by Grace, to look at some favourite tropes of Regency romance.

Congratulations to Sarah, who has won a copy of Inspired by Grace!


Thank you, Catherine, for hosting me and letting me talk about Inspired by Grace, my first attempt at an original romance. All my other published works are variations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I started getting an inclination to try my hand with new characters with new experiences and new problems last year. It was very challenging and yet great fun too! It was published in May, but because of a bucket-list-trip to England with my three girls, I delayed the blog tour until now.

One of the things I did to prepare was to write out each of the main characters with descriptions of their personalities, physical descriptions, their weaknesses and strengths, their idiosyncrasies, etc.  After doing that, I found the plot came very quickly.  

After I finished writing it, my best friend’s husband was asking me about my writing and he asked me a bizarre question. He asked me if I had ever heard of TV tropes.  He suggested they would be a real asset to my writing.  Of course my first response was, “TV will not help my writing.” But because I was curious, my second thought was, “What is a trope?”  I bet many of you are wondering the same thing.  A TV trope is a way to classify or quantify characters that tend to be repeated in media.  It was first noticed in TV and therefore that is where they got the name, TV trope, but it happens in writing too. My goal today is to introduce you to some common tropes found in romances. If any of you want to read more, you can find a huge resource on www.tvtropes.org  I specifically am going to share those that are found in Regency romances where we find favorite heroes or heroines but, as you can see, some examples carry over to some modern characters.

Gentleman and a Scholar: A man who prides himself in his education and intelligence. He may get easily irritated with the superficial or those who are naïve but he is always kind to them. Example: James Gatewood from Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career by Carla Kelly. Sherlock Holmes

Gentleman Snarker: A gentleman who can say ungentlemanly things like only a gentleman can. They are witty and sharp and cheeky, but people love them for it. Examples: The Duke of Avon from These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. Willy Wonka.  Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice is a female version of this. 

Man of Wealth and Taste: A finely dressed, well-to-do villain.  Example: Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter and many of the James Bond villains

Blue Blood: a character coming from a long line of aristocrats with high social status or connections and wealth.  Bound and motivated by duty. They tend to associate with those who are only in their class. Example: Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pride and Prejudice, and those in Harry Potter that insist Muggles are not Wizards.

Loveable Rogue: A lawbreaker who is charming enough to make you root for them; he often ends up rescuing the heroine. Example: Tom Sawyer, or Lord Ragsdale in Reforming Lord Ragsdale by Carla Kelly. Fred or George Weasley from Harry Potter. Jean Valjean from Les Miserables.

Dandy: Intensely concerned with the way he looks, always bejeweled with fobs and accessories. Somewhat shallow. Examples: Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter. Sir Walter Elliot from Persuasion. Philip Jonquil from Friends and Foes by Sarah M. Eden (although this was a front).

Spoiled Sweet: A Rich lady who has always gotten her way yet somehow has not lost her sweetness. Usually a bit naïve yet fiercely loyal to her family and friends.  Examples: Emma Woodhouse from Emma, Georgiana from Pride and Prejudice. Elle Woods in Legally Blonde.

Stoic Woobie: The sacrificing repressed character, usually a woman, who you just want to hug. They do not cry but they suffer a great deal inside. Examples: Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility, Fanny Price from Mansfield Park.

Charmer: Flirtatious, charming, and devil-may-care type of guy that can win any girl’s heart, has a powerful smile which makes anyone do anything for him. Examples: Sir Philip in Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. Charlie from All Dogs Go to Heaven. Shawn Spencer in Psych. Fonz from Happy Days. Wickham from Pride and Prejudice.

So these are a few of the common TV tropes that we find in historical fiction (and as you can see in modern TV and movies too). I could make a longer list but you get the idea. TV tropes is a way to classify typical classes of characters and if the writer is consistent with the character traits, the reader very quickly learns to either love them or hate them like they are supposed to because they have associated that type of character with a pervious book or movie.

Follow the blog hop to hear more about my original characters in Inspired by Grace.  In my research of TV tropes, I have not found a single trope that clearly defines who the hero, Gavin, and the heroine, Grace are.  They seem to be a mixture of several.  Visit my website www.heyladypublications.com for a list of blogs that will be on the blog tour to read more about Inspired by Grace.  It is now available on Amazon in paperback and kindle. I will leave you with the back cover intrigue for now to whet your appetite.  

“She was never the demure lady who was afraid of getting her petticoat dirty. He was never the calm and collected lad who coddled her. What had started as friendship had evolved into something quite tangible . . .”

A lady always hopes that the man she falls in love with will sweep her off her feet in a dramatic and graceful way. Well, for Grace Iverson, at least it was dramatic. Her childhood best friend, Gavin Kingston—now His Grace, the Duke of Huntsman—is still just as clumsy as ever. 
Despite their painful separation as children, a chance encounter has offered them a second opportunity for happiness. But after ten years apart, they both carry hidden scars. Trust takes time. And soon, forces from the past threaten to destroy the love they both have hoped for all of their lives.
Can Grace’s best friend break down her emotional fortress and prove his love before she disappears from his life a second time?
This lovely Regency romance started well before either of them knew what they wished for in a partner; but it will surely be one that stands the test of time.


Thanks again Catherine for hosting me! I would love to hear what the readers think of TV tropes. Can you think of other examples of these tropes that I did not include?  Did I miss a common character that you have seen in Regency romances? Do you have a favorite trope that you tend to be attracted to the most when you read?  I would love to hear from you.  In fact, I am willing to give away a free copy of Inspired by Grace to one lucky commenter. The winner can either chose an eBook (open internationally) or a paperback (U.S. only).  So take the time and tell me your thoughts.

If you would like to connect with me, you can find me on twitter (@ellsworthjeanna) or www.facebook/jeanna.ellsworth.com

Happy Reading!

 Written content of this post copyright © Jeanne Ellsworth, 2015.


Lyn OHara said...

Poldark....smouldering hero with a social conscience

Unknown said...

TV Tropes are a great resource. I've used them (and the website) for more years than I care to remember - first to aid with the analysis of various works I've read, then with secondary (high school) students to not only expand their own creative writing skills, but also their reading comprehension and their ability to analyse the work of the authors they read. TV Tropes was the first place I went to when I decided to try my hand at writing, and I must admit, it never occurred to me that fiction authors didn't already know about them.

Sarah said...

One of my favourite tropes is ascerbic Dowager, whom Heyer uses regularly. It's fun to let yourself go in that character. In a way it's a female version of the gentleman snark.

Jeanna said...

Wonderful example! I think people will know exactly what we are talking about! Almost as if I said "Darcy"!

Unknown said...

I love the redeemed rake trope and one of the best is Sebastian, St. Vincent in Lisa Kleypas's The Devil in Winter.

Jeanna said...

I was introduced to them by my best friend's husband. He is one of those smarty pants who loves researching interesting things. He challenged me to look up the site but gave me a very strict warning. "Be careful, only go when you have a few hours to kill because it is a research black hole and it is a mass of information!" He was right! It is such an easy site to use and so handy!

Jeanna said...

I actually looked that one up. I can't remember how I was led to it but it was an interesting one for sure. Gavin's mother is a little bit like that and it made me curious. Thanks!

Jeanna said...

Oooohhhh! I will have to look that one up! I loved redeemed rakes! They are so fun to love! So impulsive and newly changed that you never know what will happen! I'm going to look on Amazon right now for that one!

Unknown said...

love this post!! I am remembering so many tropes like fatherly uncle, stubborn beautiful sister, rigid butler, snooping maid, so on...Thanks for writing this, totally new concept...

Jeanna said...

Ha ha! I love the rigid butler and snooping maid! I only addressed the typical heroes and heroines we see but secondary characters are a whole new ballgame aren't they? This will be so fun to research who I want my next heroine to be. I already know who the hero will be, Mr. Silence, from Inspired by Grace. I'm going to really ponder this next book using TV tropes

Catherine Curzon said...

Congratulations, Sarah, you've won the giveaway!