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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursday: Childhood Friend Romance

I have a feature and giveaway going on over at Sensuous Promotions today - be sure to go check it out!

Trope: Childhood Friend Romance

Description: Our lovestruck protagonists have known each other for nearly their entire lives. Over the years, the innocent games of childhood have evolved into mature feelings of passion and love. This trope has a number of variations - it can end with Happily Ever After, it can lead up to Happily Ever After until tragedy strikes, or it can be portrayed as one-sided unrequited love where the HEA is never achieved.

Examples: Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights, Christine and Raoul from Phantom of the Opera, Forrest and Jenny from Forrest Gump, Cory and Topanga from my secret favorite show Boy Meets World

Pros: There's something sweet about this trope (assuming it ends well). While there's something to be said for torrid love affairs, when it comes to choosing a life partner, don't we want to be with someone we can consider a best friend? Even when there's no happy ending with this trope, the drama feels real, not contrived, and pulls us into the story. (I'm sure we all have that person from childhood about whom we occasionally wonder "what might have been?")

Cons: The transition from friends to lovers can be difficult to make, both in real life and in fiction. Also, characterization has to be spot-on accurate here: If you're starting with your characters as adults, you need to find a way to establish their friendship without a big infodump. If you're starting all the way from childhood...well, that's a long road and it better be interesting and well-paced. Also, if this trope takes a turn into unrequited love territory, there's a good chance of a love triangle developing, and we all know how many pros and cons there are to those.

Would/Did I Use It?: It's stated in Searching the Skies that Geneva and Marcus were childhood friends, but nothing romantic ever happened until after almost ten years of separation. As I said, there's a sweet, wholesome quality to this trope...but there aren't any laws prohibiting sweet and wholesome from going to naughty and scintillating! On my long list of potential story ideas, this trope comes up at least one more time, so I'm going to give it the thumbs up.


  1. One of my past stories used this trope. I'm fond of it. It gives the characters a history and maybe, hopefully, an ease with each other.

    1. Agreed! No overly awkward "getting to know each other" scenes here!

  2. I have this in one of my new ideas. I wracked my brain and I'm surprised to find that I have never used this before. I don't believe it. It's one of those things that I happen to really like.

    I also love Cory and Topanga! ^_^

    1. Isn't it funny how we can SWEAR we've done something before...and then realize it never happened? Good luck with your new ideas!

      (And shhh! We must not call too much attention to my secret favorite show! ;) )