I don’t think I heard or understood the word trope until the last five years or so, so let me throw out a definition–though even a few tropes would define it really… A trope is a common (sometimes over-used) plot device or plot-line. If you’ve got an hour or two to kill, check out the site TV Tropes –loads of fun. In romance books, you can spot a trope usually in the back blurb. Here’s a few:
Friends to Lovers or Enemies to Lovers
Forced to Marry
Boy/Girl Next Door
Amnesia (I’m a total sucker for amnesia books…no matter how ridiculous the premise.)
High school sweethearts
and then there’s the one I would swear UP AND DOWN that I hate with the fire of a thousand suns…
The Big Misunderstanding
Although I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Love Triangles either. I typically hate the Big Misunderstanding trope because I spend the entire book annoyed that a single conversation would have fixed everything (and, of course, ended the book.) (Okay, so I don’t always like the conflict aspect of stories.) However, I would bet that if I skimmed through my favorite books that I’d find a few Big Misunderstandings here and there. Why? Because tropes are tropes because they’re common in real life and a literary device only feels like a prop if you can see the writer’s hand. If the story is built well, even your least favorite trope can be in your favorite book.
This came to mind as a blog topic because one of the things I was working on lately is at its core a Big Misunderstanding trope. It just sort of developed that way. I couldn’t tell you whether it works or not–it works for me, but I’m a bit biased.
So, what about you? What tropes are an auto-buy? What tropes do you dislike? (There’s a ton more than I have in that list by the way.)
If you feel like weighing in, what short story genre would you like to be the next “free story” I put on here? Throw out a genre, I might just have it. (I have twenty something short stories to choose from.)
Oh, and if you read this whole thing to figure out why I had a picture of a zombie trying to break through a door and you’re still wondering what it has to do with romance tropes….
Not a thing. I just thought you’d like a picture to look at, and I sketched that out one day. *shrugs* Although, I suspect Undead Love might be a trope…