Friday, February 4, 2011

Breaking Tropes

The trope. I happen to both love them and roll my eyes at them.

What is a trope? In some ways, they are cliches, or in the case of Romance, they can be a type of situation we see in many stories. For instance, I love the friends-to-lovers trope. There's the secret baby trope. There's the Gothic heroine trapped in a creepy castle/mansion trope (The Forbidden Chamber). There's all sorts. Some of us will go out of our way to buy books with a particular one. I know I love the arranged marriage trope in historical romance. Something about a couple being stuck together and then falling in love really does it for me. But I know some readers can't stand that one and some say it's overdone. But there's something about the familiarity of knowing the type of story you're getting into. Like your favorite music, or your favorite pair of fuzzy socks, it's comfortable knowing what to expect.

In the case of my writing, I do tend to like twisting or breaking tropes, both in honoring them and in maybe poking a little fun at them. I think it's possible to do both.

One big example of this is Silver Bound, where I both go with the trope of futuristic love slave (there's a fairly large subgenre of these stories in erotic Sci-Fi Romance) and break that trope. Delving into the expected while staying within theme, allowed me to explore different sides of creating a story.

My upcoming release, Jaq's Harp, also tackles tropes and twists them. I've taken the Jack and the Beanstalk story and flipped it, created an alternate futuristic world of fairy tales, and ran with it. There are further tropes within the story that I addressed and I hope you read it and have as much fun finding them as I did writing them. The biggest one being, flipping the action hero saving the heroine standard.
I also liked tackling the ideas of danger and sex, the ethical questions of Jack stealing from the Giant, and magical beans. They're all in there... but slightly twisted.

What are your favorite tropes? Or, have you read a story that breaks them and pulled you right along a reader?

3 comments:

Eleri Stone said...

I like the arranged marriage trope too. I also like a good revenge story (blame an early fascination with the Count of Monte Cristo for that one). Jaq's Harp looks cool!

TwitterNovel said...

I used to be a big fan of the One Man Army trope. Nowadays, I like to break that by making my main character more of a brain than a whole unit unto himself.

Ella Drake said...

Eleri,
Thanks!
The revenge story is one that makes me so tense! The Count of Monte Cristo is a perfect example. I get tight and unsettled for the entire story!

Shawn,
One Man Army--I still think that first Rambo movie was fantastic. The rest of that series, not so much, but yeah, breaking that trope would make for some interesting character/plot development!