Friday, September 1, 2017

Septemer 2017 - To Trope or Not to Trope

Cliches are what make you understand something. 
--Matthew Vaughn


Is it impossible to write something without using a trope or tropes?

Well, I once read that it is impossible to do that. That's because there are no new story plots.

The definition of a trope
is basically the use of figurative language – via word, phrase, or even an image – for artistic effect like a figure of speech or metaphor. Tropes help convey things quickly to the reader without writing reams to explain.
An example is the stereotyping of certain characters, like Scrooge, the penny-pinching miser, or Jessica, voluptuous blond bombshell in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Yet, tropes are fiction writing tools that can be used as is or be tweaked into something fresher. Thus the old becomes new again.

Are you aware that genre fiction follows tropes? Some time-tested and valued, other's are cliched and to be avoided. For instance, a good trope for a romance is that the ending is one of HEA (Happily Ever After). The not-so-good trope of a science-fiction story would be the overdone, cliched Adam and Eve story.

Tropes are also patterns. Stories have structure which follows a blueprint or pattern. That's a good thing in genre fiction because it guarantees a reader will find the type of story they crave. Plots tropes are what makes genres popular. What is fantasy without a quest or magic? What is sci-fi without science and the extrapolation of the future? What is a mystery if it doesn't have a crime-solver? And a good romance will have a HEA (happily ever after).

The most overused tropes lend themselves to parody, irony, and can even become a bit snarky—or cool or scary what ifs.

Tropes are neither good or bad. But caution is always advised. Once again it's the guideline of "know the rules before you break or tweak them."

I wish you all the best with your writing endeavors,

Catherine E. McLean

 October's topic will be - It's Not Dialogue But Written Standard Dialogue