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  • Writer's pictureKrista Jain

My Favorite Story Tropes

Tropes are repetitive and cliche, and they are often disputed in varying discussions. While many people have talked about the uses and importance of returning themes, characters, and the like, cliches are often met with disapproving frowns. All over, writers scream out to "avoid cliches like the plague!" While too many cliches lead to unoriginality, we ignore the fact that we would not have stories without some kind of trope.

In reality, while every situation is unique, there is always a situation that is somewhat relational with each other. And really, in response to peoples' rush away from cliches, stories can become too original. That makes things too difficult to invest time in, and too difficult to keep up with the bizarre alien worlds that result from these thoughts.

As you can tell, I can get carried away with these thoughts rather easily. But before I go on a further tangent, let's get down to some of my favorite tropes. These are cliche ideas that I would honestly miss if they were ever deemed as overused.

1. Classic Fantasy Races

Even if you're not a fan of fantastical settings and quests, you would know what I'm talking about here. Dwarves, halflings, elves, and even monsters like orcs or giants are pasted all over the fantasy genre. And honestly, I don't mind it at all. I'm sure people already know how much I love folklore, especially when it comes to the obscure and underrated. Many of these also started from myths all over the world.

I do think there are some amazing monsters in folklore that are too obscure for their own good, and I would like to see them in more media. Some of these I have used in A Rokian's Curse, like selkies and kelpies, but the book is very focused on elves especially. Elvish characters were always my most favorite race even as a young child. They're so mysterious and graceful, and I always preferred forests over flat plains.

Recently, I have heard a few people complaining about the use of the classic races, but I really hope people will keep bringing them back along with other figures of folklore.

2. Opposing Forces Working for the Same Goal

I don't know why I love this one the way I do, but it's pretty great, even when it's used so much in media. I think it has to do with the amount of character development from either side in these cases. This particular trope is what made me want to read Wars of Light and Shadow in the first place. (See my review on Janny Wurts series on this blog for more information.) I already knew the book was about two opposing half-brothers who get caught in a cursed world together where they must use both of their powers to save it, though the series went further beyond this trope than I expected. This isn't just about Wars of Light and Shadow though.

Character development is my greatest passion in storytelling, and this trope leans heavily on the hero and the villain putting aside their differences and working alongside each other. A bit of comedy about it on the side is usually a plus for me as well.

Usually in this case, the hero and villain start their quest hating each other, but later begin opening up to the other's situation and understanding, which makes them better people in the end. There can also be a cliche scene that involves one of their lives hanging on a thread, and the enemy saves them and they become best buddies or something. This is most certainly a trope, but it gets me every time.

In a similar trope, I like how the villain changes his ways and joins the heroes as they fight the true menace.

3. It's the character's fault this happened, and now he/she must face their fears

This has always been a pretty strong one in my eyes. While this is also a cliche like the others, people don't seem to complain much about this one. That's because this trope plays on something that's crucial to a good story; character development.

Think of it this way; a story can have an amazing plot line, but it'll fail without good characters. Likewise, a boring plot can be very interesting with good characters. The character is what makes the story, not the other way around. The story should affect the character, and the character should be a good fit, but they are the ones that drive the plot. And there is no better way to make a good character than show an internal journey through their soul throughout the story. Making them face their fears, change, and ultimately making them into better people is the best way to do this.

Everyone makes mistakes, no matter who or where we are. Characters in stories are no exemption. Not only are flaws realistic, but they also make them stand out to us. If we can relate to the struggles of the hero, then they become more likable to us.

Not just that, but the story can be disliked overall if the world is against a flawless angel. There are amazing conflict types, but if the main hero did nothing wrong to deserve his fight, then he tends to look too perfect. If it's his fault from the beginning, we can witness a change of heart.

4. Treasure

I love the hunt for treasure and magical artifacts! There are two types of aesthetics I love the most, stories about fantasy worlds and pirate adventures. Not all stories involving treasure are pirate stories, but who doesn't like treasure hunts?!

5. Fluffy, Light Romance

I almost did not add this one because I don't really care about romance too much, but I can be drawn to it sometimes... If I had a favorite romance trope, the shy, sweet fluff between a pair would be it. It has to be done right though or it's the bad kind of cliche.

That concludes this list of my favorite tropes! Please leave me some of yours below. I would love to see your favorite aspects of storytelling, and if it's interesting, I would like to discuss your favorites in a future post!

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