What is a trope?
[ trohp ]
- a recurring theme or motif, as in literature or art:
the trope of motherhood;
the heroic trope.
- a convention or device that establishes a predictable or stereotypical representation of a character, setting, or scenario in a creative work:
From her introduction in the movie, the character is nothing but a Damsel in Distress trope.
The author relies on our knowledge of the Haunted House trope to set the scene.
Is a trope a cliche?
On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means “stereotyped and trite.” In other words, dull and uninteresting. A trope is like a song in a familiar key; you may not know all the words, but you can probably sing along with the chorus. source
Some common tropes include:
The Chosen One
The Chosen One archetype is a trope used in writing where a single character is in charge of saving the world or society they live in. This trope is commonly seen in the Hero’s Journey, but can also be found in other types of stories.
The cause of all bad happenings in a story. A Big Bad could be a character with Evil Plans or it could be an omnipresent situation. There is often a crossover/dual-trope with the Chosen One group for example Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars or Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter Series.
Enemies to Lovers
This is when two characters start off as enemies and, over the course of a book or series, end up in a romantic relationship. These ‘enemies’ have to overcome their differences or misconceptions about each other, and in the process, they fall in love.
More Examples: 30 Best Enemies-to-Lovers Movies
Enemies To Lovers List on Goodreads
Friends to Lovers
This is a common romantic trope involving two people in an established friendship becoming romantic partners. It is not uncommon for the relationship to be unexpected, that the characters never intended for there to be anything but friendship, but something happens to make them see the possibility of a romantic relationship.
More Examples: 30 Best Friends-to-Lovers Movies
This is a group of (mostly) unrelated people form their own family based on shared experiences and understanding of each other rather than the blood ties that would dictate a biological family.
Found Family List on Goodreads
Classic Story Retold
My favorite tropes are (in order)
Found Family, Classic Story Retold, and Enemies to Lovers.
Which are your favorites?
For Fun: Top 12 Overused Story Tropes in Modern Literature
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