Tropes are inevitable and often delicious things.
People often confuse “cliches” and “tropes” so let’s smooth out that wrinkle neatly right now, shall we?
Every story has tropes, it’s just how they exist. The way they’re written is what makes them feel fresh and engaging. Cliches, on the other hand…argh. They can still be enjoyable but often they’re stale and overdone. Tiiiired. They’re the storyline repeated 100 times without variation. If you say, “Ugh I hate vampire novels,” what you probably hate is how cliche and samey they got back in 2008. But if someone presented vampires with different personalities, a fresh setting, different plots to explore — you miiiiight just be all into it. 🤗
And YES tropes can turn cliche so quickly. But some tropes are just [clenches fist] so so freaking good.
Look, yes, I talk about tropes a lot but today I want to make a list of…
oddly specific tropes i happen to adore
I’m also linking up with Top Ten Tuesday!
And tbh, I write a ton of these because it pleases me greatly. But shout out to other authors who fill the gap-loving tropes in my reading life. Keep doing the good work.
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I can’t even begin to say how much I ADORE background shenanigans. It’s my favourite thing to write too 😍The main scene is being driven forward by plot and agency…but in the background someone dropped honeyed toast in their lap or another character is trying to catch a feral cat or two characters are placing bets on whether the arguing protagonists will kiss. 😌
characters saying “i’m fine” when they’re not
I don’t even care if this is slightly cliche!!!! It is my favourite!!! That one character who’s too scared to be vulnerable or show weakness and is literally trying to think themselves through, like, a bullet wound. Or they’re so used to no one caring that they say “I’m fine” automatically, not realising that they have people to lean on now. I jUST 😫
(SHRIEKS IN NEIL JOSTEN)
terribly powerful child who is also super cute
I love the contrast of this. I don’t remember a lot of The Girl With All The Gifts (um 2014 was a long time ago ok) but one scene that stood out so incredibly to me was how there’s this KID, this little girl who is a zombie and a horrifying monster…and she’s wearing pink sparkly shoes and a unicorn sweater. It’s that “innocence meets monster” that’s fascinating and terrifying.
the moment the enemies-to-lovers trope breaks and they show vulnerability and that they care
Like they’ve been bickering nonstop and threatening to murder each other…but then there’s that climax, that unravelling, where one character maybe gets hurt and the other realises “o h n o i care very severely right now” and they absolutely freak out. Bonus if after the terror moment is over, they go back to pretending they hate each other. 😌
grumpy character + talkative character
Ok here’s a pairing I cannot resist. The sunshiney character who won’t shut up or stop flirting vs the serious and dedicated character who is focused on the mission. Little bit o’ enemies-to-lovers here, but it’s more lowkey. They can be friends too! Again with me with adoring juxtapositions. I am not sorry.
boys made into monsters and weapons…but secretly they are soft and lovely
Oh hello to the burnt marshmallows, the brainwashed, and the controlled. The ones who fight because they’ve been taught to and are used even though it’s against their nature and they can feel themselves being warped into someone they’re not. They lose themselves to being a weapon. 😭💛 They just need someone to see who they truly are. sAVE THESE LITTLE BURNT MARSHMALLOW IDIOTS AND I–
eccentric character doing something completely bizarre but acting like it’s normal
I have a deep love of eccentric characters and will forever be mad at how quickly they’re shunted off into the “oh that’s a manic pixie dream girl cue eyeroll” box. But???? Girls who like doing clever and quirky things aren’t necessarily MPDGs?! Argh. Boy characters are way more likely to be eccentric and accepted than girls. But that’s a rant for another day.
I just love the characters who are bizarre. Who carry a telescope in their backpack. The nice kid who can pick locks. The one drinking tea before the end of the world. The one wearing odd clothes and talking about obscure books.
the i-didn’t-realise-i-wasn’t-straight moment
There is a lot of dialogue about characters who knew they were straight from the time they were twelve. And like, bless you, that is amazing. But there are so so many people who get hit with the epiphany later. And I just love reading relatable content ok. It’s gets better when the character is having a shellshocked moment and a secondary character is eye rolling with “I could have told you this years ago.”
(am looOKING AT YOU, AleX fRom RED WHITE & ROYAL BLUE)
giving the grumpy character a nickname
I forgot how much I loved this until I was watching Stranger Things Season 3 and Dustin chirpily nicknames Hopper’s Russian-speaking-friend to “Bald Eagle” and he’s SO grumpy about it. 😂 It was also in With Fire On High and it’s just cuuuuute. Especially when eventually they grow to love their nickname.
kissing as a distraction from being caught
Basically when it’s two characters who wanted to kiss so much but refuse to admit feelings — and then they do it as a cover up. This happens a lot but I snorted at Aurora Rising and Obsidio when it happened. (I see u, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, with loving this trope.)
snuggling after a fearsome battle
Look I realised this, as I was writing the other day, that my romantic climax between two characters was…snuggling. 😑 fINE; I’m not super good at romance. But they just learned to trust each other and fell asleep in each others’ arms to stave off nightmares?! I mean clearly that is the pinnacle of romantic love. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
the mum friends
Basically all squad-dynamics are my favourites, particularly when they’re interacting together. I will fall over and die of feels while reading The Raven Cycle EVERY TIME because of Gansey flapping about being the mum-friend and taking care of everyone. Adam overthinking something angstily. Ronan being the troublesome emotionally explosive problem-child they all have to take turns fishing out of the muck.
But I particularly love the mum-friends. Aka Steve Harrington, in Stranger Things.
character saying they won’t do something…the next scene they are doing it
Full admission: this was my favourite thing to write into The Boy Who Steals Houses. 😂The moment Moxie severely tells Sam he’s got one night and then he has to go. Scene ends. Next chapter starts off with them being comfortably hanging out for 2 weeks. LOOK AT U SILLY CHILDREN.
saying one thing while thinking another
This is hilarious to me, because it’s also so so relatable. Especially if the character is inwardly freaking out, but on the outside they’re all, “Sure! Sounds great!” Usually communication-failures make irritating plots, but sometimes it can be done most adorably.
when the happy sunshine character just up and SNaPS
Breaking moments 😌🙌🏻Love it. Live for reading it and writing it. When it’s the bubbly happy character who normally plays peace-maker or smooths things out congenially…when they’ve just HAD ENOUGH. Pushed the edged. You know things just got real when even the chill one is freaking out.
I love reading the moment of raw vulnerability. When masks and walls come down and the character is just brutally honest.[happy sigh]
| what do you think? |
tell me oddly specific tropes you adore? and if you can’t think of one; just tell me an EPIC moment from your current read!!!