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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Have tropes become too trite? Part 2

Even as a kid I can still remember groaning and changing the channel when the hero of the TV show, or one of them, would get the bang on the head, because I knew what was coming. Lame plot device - the amnesia story. Now that's not exactly a trope. For those who didn't read Part 1 - a trope is used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clich├ęs in creative works. Used in place of creative storytelling, overuse by the author in too many books, though, they can be just as irritating.
Whatever you want to say about the 50 Shades books, which were based on Twilight fan fiction, E. L. James did something different. As did Stephanie Meyer with her emo vampires in Twilight itself. Both, however, are in danger of becoming the basis of tropes themselves.
I used the hero on a quest as a trope in the first installment, and was called to task for it, but what I was referring to was the young hero or heroine saving their world. Only Joan of Arc actually did that, sort of. 
Too many writers can get lazy, using the trope as an easy way to tell the story. In romance, the bad boy has been done - and he's a trope.
Try something different. That's the key to using a trope well. Create a character the reader will care about and a compelling reason for them to behave the way they do. Make their behavior understandable and something the reader can relate to and you'll be well on your way to creating a book that your readers will recommend to others.