Have you ever heard an agent or editor say “I’ve seen this trope before” or “this is an old trope”. What does it mean? In storytelling, a trope can be described as shortcuts for describing situations an author can reasonably assume the audience will recognize. But does this mean all tropes are bad? No. It’s up to the author to put a creative spin on an old trope so the audience doesn’t tire of the situation. Or at best, this is to say they have to bring something new to the table regarding the trope.
We not only see tropes in books, but also movies. A few months ago, I learned of a cool website called TV Tropes. It seems like a great place to help authors recognize tropes they might think isn’t one. And if you don’t write, it’s kind of fun poking around anyway. The main tropes have been indexed by Genre, Media, Narrative, and Topical. But there are 36 other categories to peruse.
So if you’re a writer, check this sight out and put a fresh twist on a well known trope! I dare you.
Blogger and writer of MG/YA fiction.