Today I went trope hunting online. (Yes, it’s a dangerous sport – carry a fish hook and a bottle of pepper spray when you go.)
What amazed me was not the sheer amount of tropes, but the blogs that blocked access to their lists unless visitors turned off their ad blocker. Seriously – I get that you make money IF someone clicks on an ad. However, I’m never going to click on an ad, so not showing said ads works best for me.
First off, if you’re not familiar with the term, tropes are story arcs that are used often. Such as in romance, BDSM, lost (and found) loves, and insta-love are three of the many, many tropes. Tropes carry with them certain expectations via the reader. You know what you will expect and it helps you to feel safe. For instance, you know if you’re reading a BDSM romance that there will be BDSM acts inside the book and the couple will end up together in the end. If you read insta-love, the characters will fall for each other at the beginning and spend the rest of the book trying to figure out why. If you’re into gay romance, Gay for You is a trope wherein one character is gay and the other thinks he’s straight until he can’t get said gay character out of his head.
For people who don’t like that trope, it may sound silly, and I’ve heard rather rude/sarcastic references to all sorts of tropes because said reader didn’t like it. I understand the desire to cast scathing remarks at a trope you don’t like, but I’m going to offer a way out… at the end of my post. Because there’s the possibility you don’t like that trope due to the way that particular author handled it, or because they all sound the same….
It’s a Genre thing
If you’re asking about tropes, let me explain that they fall under genre headings. Like I mentioned above, the romance genre has a large set of common tropes, the gay romance genre shares some of those and has more that are specific to itself, and that’s just romance. Sci-Fi and fantasy have their tropes and so do contemporary sci-fi and contemporary fantasy, though some of those tropes can cross over.
So what genre are you into? I’m one of those people who loves to read tons of genres and within those genres I have tropes I enjoy and tropes I sit down and write because I just know I can write something in that trope I’ll like–even if I can’t stand that trope at that time.
For instance, there are parts of mainstream military I enjoy and parts I could do without. As an example, I love the tropes involving military minds who lose sight of the goal and go off on their own tangents, but hate tropes that are all about war. So my challenge to myself has come up with a very intriguing cross-mingling of the two tropes with another genre thrown in for good measure. (I completed the 1st book in that particular series last spring. Rewrote it in August. Now I have the second book planned out.)
What is a trope attack? Like I mentioned above, it’s taking a trope and making it your own. You put your own bend to it. For instance, I’m not a fan of Daddy/little romance books out now, but that’s because they all seem to be the same – as if all littles regress to young children, which is NOT the case. (I swear, if I see one more cover of a woman in a frilly dress with a teddy bear I’m going to scream. But I also know that people who like to read this type of D/l book are attracted to said covers. Que Sera, Sera! At least in this, the cover gives away what is found inside without having to read the blurb first.) In my list of things to write is a completely different D/l book at some point.
It’s about taking a trope and making it something I can live with or enjoy reading.
So I have a challenge for you, dear readers! What trope drives you nutty or makes you grind your teeth together? Ever considered doing something about it? Join my Trope challenge. Fill out the following form and I’ll get back to you about the details (and the rules). Don’t worry, it will be relatively painless. I promise 🙂 If anyone joins in the challenge, I’ll be happy to post the results here on my blog in 2018.