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Tropes and Their Purpose

You may have heard of tropes before, but what are they?

They are storytelling tools that help authors create a specific kind of story. Tropes are common beats and themes that are seen across stories. They don't create a boring story, rather, they're a guide for both creators and consumers of these stories.

They also help us creators mix things up.

Common tropes are The Hero's Journey, Forbidden Love, and The Chosen One.

One example of the Hero's Journey is Kaladin, from The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson. You see him struggle, refuse the call to adventure, finally accept it, rise, climb to new heights, fall, and rise again, brighter than before.

There are so many variations within a single trope that, when combined with different characters and their specific reactions, keep these tropes fresh.

The Chosen One trope is very popular with Young Adult books. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson are the ones that come first to mind. The Chosen One is usually chosen by prophecy or bloodline, marking them out as special in some way.

Once chosen, they have to fulfill their quest, achieve that end goal. For Percy, his primary prophecy took 5 books to reach, in bringing about either destruction or salvation by dint of his blood, being a son of Poseidon.

Forbidden Love is incredibly popular for the romance genre. It is absolutely Romeo and Juliet, but Netflix's Bridgerton, Season 2 is one of my favorites. That one is interesting because it starts as an Enemies to Lovers, then turns into a Forbidden Love.

So, why are tropes used?

Because they give a story form. There are no new stories, but there are new ways to combine them. And, as I said, the help creator, screenwriters, and authors to mix it up.

Take the Hero's Journey, then throw in a subplot of Forbidden Love. If I dug through my books, I could probably find one that is exactly that. But each version would be different simply because of the author and the characters they've created, keeping things fresh.

Now that you know what a trope is, what's your favorite?

One of mine is The Chosen One Who Chose Themself. This particular one describes Hope/Captain to a T. I also adore Forbidden Love, though I don't have that one in this series. Perhaps a later one...


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