Sunday, September 23

Here a trope, there a trope, everywhere a...


          It’s been a while since we had a Topic of the Week here at the Wranglers and since I was clueless as to what to post today, I put out a whimper. Kristina Knight, fresh off a writer’s-soul-reviving retreat, suggested, “How about favorite tropes?”
          Great, we all agreed. What a good idea. While I was looking it up, rather than admit I had no idea what a trope is (even though I’ve been seeing the word everywhere), someone else asked. Before Kristi had a chance to answer, I found this definition: “Tropes are popular story lines, ones readers love” in this very cool blog post http://blog.juliealindsey.com/julie-anne-lindsey-writer/whats-a-trope-anyway/ by Julie Anne Lindsey.
          So now that I know what it is, I have to figure out my favorite. And, naturally, I have two—I just can’t do things the easy way, can I?
          In historical romance—including Regency—my favorite story line, hands down, is the Marriage of Convenience. For several reasons. (1) I believe it. In many times and places, women had few alternatives, and a loveless marriage was far from the worst of those. (2) I usually don’t have to learn to like the protagonists—I like them from the get-go and am cheering them both on as they find out—gasp!—they like each other, too. (3) The hero and heroine often become friends before they fall in love or even too deeply in lust, and I always like that.
          In contemporary, on the other hand, my favorite trope is reunion romance. I have to admit my reason for loving that plotline (and using it repeatedly) is goofy, but here goes. When you look around, you see a lot of long marriages hitting the skids. I understand how it happens, because every stage of life you enter, you have to learn all over again how to be married. I want to believe that if anything ever happened to my own marriage, Duane and I would eventually be able to fix it and that we would re-une and live Happily Ever After.
          I’m not going to ask what your favorite trope is—we’re going to work on this all week—but I am going to ask if you think all the familiar tropes work well with all the sub-genres. Or do you, like me, like different ones in different time periods or types of romance, such as zombie or vampire or whatever you like to read?











26 comments:

  1. What a fun post and you made some great choices. I'd have to agree with you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is funny how the concept of a trope has been turning up everywhere. Formula is a dirty word, apparently, but trope is okay, for the moment. lol I had to think about this but I'm currently hooked on nanny stories. I'm reading "Nanny for the Millionaire's Twins" by Susan Meier and writing one, too. It's likely my interest started way back when "The Sound of Music" captured my heart! There's nothing like a woman who adores children, especially the offspring of a gorgeous dad, capturing my heart. If he can sing and strum the guitar like Captain Von Trapp, so much the better! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you, Cathy. There's also something about a person (hero or heroine--either way) making someone else's child his or her own that attracts.

      Delete
  3. Some tropes work better than others in different settings. I'm with you that the marriage of convenience plot works well in Regency and other historical settings. But in a contemporary, it really takes a lot of doing to make a MOC story work. Nowadays, women just have too many ways to solve a problem to make this realistic. Whether the ranch is in danger of being foreclosed or a woman is unexpectedly pregnant, "I'll get married to a guy I don't know!" is not usually the way the difficulty gets resolved in real life! I'm not saying that it never works in a contemporary, but it's not easy to pull off.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree with you, Linda, though it's great when someone can pull it off. I can, in the not-so-distant past, truly imagine a young mother marrying to get health insurance for her child.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm like you, Liz, I think certain tropes work better in some settings - that isn't to say a secret baby, for example, *couldn't* work in a Regency...but I think it would be really, really hard to make that believable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it was done well, including the shame and sadness and terror that would surely have been part of such a thing, it would be great! However, like you said, really, really hard.

      Delete
  6. I think with some creativity and wrangling you can make most romance styled tropes work for all subgenres. When you take a theme or plot device and turn it upside down and sideways that makes for interesting reading and cranks up the conflict.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right, Karyn, and some people can pull it off. They have my respect when they do--not to mention my envy! Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  7. I agree with Karyn....if you work at it you can make any trope work for any type of romance or subgenres. Just thinking about it now is getting my creativity moving! (thank goodness...something needs to push me! lol)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol. We all need pushes sometimes, don't we? Glad this one worked for you, Christine!

      Delete
  8. I love it when a contemporary is able to make a "marriage of convenience" believable and satisfying. For me, when a sub-genre that can't normally pull a particular trope off... does--that's fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, isn't it? And wouldn't I love to be one of those who could do it! :-)

      Delete
  9. I didn't know what a trope was either, Liz. I agree in certain settings it would be hard to pull off, but interesting to see them when they are!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I did know what a trope was, but I'm so glad you said what you did about Regencies. I had a discussion with a friend yesterday about just that type of story line. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Ella. I think it gets forgotten sometimes that sometimes there were really good reasons for marriages of convenience.

      Delete
  11. Yay Liz, for tackling this subject first out of the gate! I'm so glad I have three days to come up with my Trope blog--

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol. There's something to be said for being first out of the gate--I didn't have time to obsess!

      Delete
  12. I had no idea what a trope was. Now, I've learned something new:)
    I have always love marriage of convience stories in historicals too. I couldn't get enough of them. I don't think I've ever read a secret baby story. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are many of them in category romance. I liked them, but it wore thin with me really quickly.

      Delete
  13. Very interesting and informative post! My first time learning what a "trope" is as well. I also love reunion romances, too. However, if the heroine has to leave the one that she loves, (and that's sad), I love it when she finds someone even better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good, too, Arsoleen. Thanks for coming!

      Delete
  14. Great post, Liz. I like reunion trope, happen to have just began a new one. I also don't like secret babies (usually). I feel that one is overdone in romance. People need to just step up and face it. You're knocked up by the jerk- tell him and get on with life and quit screwing with the innocent baby's! Should have kept your knees together, then you wouldn't have that little blessing to ruin! Maybe this perspective has something to do with my current position of legal guardian of my oldest granddaughter (7), and my frustrations at her parents' messing her life up because they don't have the pea brains to get theirs straight. lol

    Cowboys. Always and forever my favorite. Is that a trope? I'm making it one, if not, because it should be.

    ReplyDelete
  15. LOL, Calisa, D'Ann will agree with you about cowboys! And I agree about secret babies. There's been too much of it both in romance and--sort of--in real life. Good on you for taking care of your granddaughter.

    ReplyDelete