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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Hallbach Paciorek

Tips for Tropes

Updated: May 6



Hello, fellow authors! We've been talking about the behind the scenes marketing tips and tracks but we haven’t talked about crafting captivating characters and weaving intricate worlds, or the plotlines that hold it all together. Enter tropes, those narrative cornerstones that resonate with readers. Used strategically, tropes can be the launchpad for a story that feels fresh yet familiar.


Let's dive into some popular tropes and how you can turn them into your own literary magic:


Romance:

  • Enemies to Lovers: Think Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. This fiery friction heats up the pages before blossoming into something deeper. Pro Tip: Don't just focus on the bickering – show the grudging respect that underlies it.

  • Fake Relationship: A contract for convenience that blossoms into something real. Pro Tip: Make the characters genuinely connect despite their initial charade.

  • Closed-Door Romance: A love story that focuses on emotional connection and intimacy without graphic sexual content. Pro Tip: Let the simmering tension and meaningful gestures speak volumes.

  • Reverse Harem: A female protagonist finds herself drawn to and loved by multiple men. Pro Tip: Develop each love interest as a distinct character, showcasing their unique bond with the heroine.


Intrigue:

  • Slow Burn: The romance builds gradually, with emotional tension simmering before igniting. Pro Tip: Focus on character development and emotional intimacy to create a deeply satisfying payoff.

  • Forbidden Love: Two star-crossed lovers from opposing worlds defy societal boundaries. Pro Tip: Highlight the emotional toll and societal pressures that fuel the characters' desires.

Mystery/Thriller:

  • The Amnesiac Hero: Our protagonist wakes up with no memory, thrust into a dangerous situation. Pro Tip: Dole out clues slowly, building suspense as the hero rediscovers themself.

  • The Locked Room Mystery: A seemingly impossible crime scene sparks a frantic investigation. Pro Tip: Plant subtle clues that lead to a satisfying "aha!" moment for the reader.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi:

  • Chosen One: An ordinary person discovers hidden potential and a destiny that will change the world. Pro Tip: Give your "Chosen One" relatable flaws and struggles.

  • Hidden World: Our world holds a secret society or fantastical realm. Pro Tip: Weave the fantastical elements seamlessly into the existing world.

  • Grimdark: A gritty, cynical world with morally ambiguous characters. Pro Tip: Don't shy away from exploring the harsh realities of your world, but offer glimmers of hope or resilience.

  • Dystopian Future: A cautionary tale of a future society gone wrong. Pro Tip: Balance the bleakness with a relatable protagonist who fights for a better tomorrow.

General Fiction:

  • Coming-of-Age: A young protagonist navigates self-discovery, love, and loss. Pro Tip: Capture the bittersweet nostalgia of youth and the universal challenges of growing up.

  • The Underdog: A character with the odds stacked against them fights for victory. Pro Tip: Make the underdog's journey relatable and their determination inspiring.

  • Second Chance Romance: Former flames reunite and must decide if their love can rekindle. Pro Tip: Explore the emotional baggage and growth each character has experienced since their first encounter.

  • Slice of Life: A heartwarming portrayal of everyday experiences. Pro Tip: Focus on the beauty and significance of seemingly mundane moments to create a relatable and touching story.

Pair contrasting tropes together!  Enemies to Lovers with a dash of Amnesia? A Chosen One in a Hidden World who's also an Underdog?  The possibilities are endless!

Remember, tropes are tools, not blueprints. Use them as a foundation, then change up expectations, add your own unique twist, and watch your story soar and grow.


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Rebecca Paciorek is an Online Business Manager specializing in assisting authors, coaches, and speakers in their business growth through traditional and digital means.



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