How to Use Common Tropes in Fiction and Reimagine Them
Tropes are a fundamental element of most stories. Unfortunately, writers have been conditioned to believe the use of tropes translates into poor story writing and they must be avoided as much as possible. Did you ever think, though, that with the right dose of creativity, you can also reinvent these old and hackneyed tropes?
Let’s look at some of the most common fiction tropes and how they can be reimagined.
A trope is a theme that reoccurs throughout literature. Most writers believe that tropes can reduce the weight of their writing and make the story more predictable. As a result, they decide not to use them.
Nice Guys Finish Last
Since the beginning of time, we have been made to believe that one needs to be an alpha/macho personality to be successful with the ladies. Harrison Ford, Chuck Norris, and Pierce Brosnan have all played the Alpha male who ends up getting the girl.
Such tropes have led us to believe that women are wired to fall for strong and powerful men, who can both provide and protect. However, that isn’t everything they look for in a man.
If we reimagine this trope, the best example that comes to our mind is that of Peter Parker from Spiderman. Peter is a nerdy yet kind, responsible, and respectful person. He doesn’t drink, nor does he cheat in relationships, except for that one time when he was possessed by an alien entity.
Even though he doesn’t have the stereotypical alpha traits, he is one of the most well-loved superheroes adored by women and children alike.
The One and Only
This is one of the most popular tropes that has been used repeatedly. In most cases, the protagonist has the weight of the world on his shoulders and the capacity to save the world.
Indiana Jones, Mission Impossible, and The Matrix are some examples of movies that revolve around a single character that must save the world.
The Harry Potter series reimagines this trope in a very interesting way. While the series establishes Harry as The Boy Who Lived, it also explores how in an alternate universe, it could have been Neville Longbottom. In doing so, Rowling presents several interesting arguments on the burden of destiny and how it’s our choices that make us who we are.
The Dark and Morbid Antagonists
A lot of antagonists are written as dark and morbid with a poor sense of humor and a complete lack of fashion sense. However, you’ll find that the most interesting antagonists can be loud and eccentric while still being just as dark and morbid.
The Joker and Moriarty from the Sherlock series that aired on BBC are great examples of this. They have a psychotic sense of humor and are often scarier and more fascinating than their dull, overtly serious counterparts.
As far as attire goes, we also have the example of Saruman from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Unlike most villains that wear black, Saruman wears white and is known as the White Wizard. He is the embodiment of all things evil, but his character obliterated the age-old stereotype of associating the color white with all things good and pure.
The Strong and Tough Female
When we talk about the tough female protagonist, the first thing that comes to our mind is a fearless warrior woman that can ride a horse, engage in combat, and can handle weapons as well as men. The Black Widow and Trinity from The Matrix are the perfect examples of the tough female. However, it is not necessary for a strong female to be in a tactical role all the time.
If we reimagine this, the best example that comes to our mind is that of Katarina Stratford from the 1999 coming-of-age film 10 Things I Hate About You. Kat is a high school senior who flaunts her attitude wherever she goes and doesn’t let anyone cross her boundaries. More importantly, she does this without having to carry a firearm or wearing a superheroine costume.
The Final Word
These were some of the most common tropes that we see every day. If you are in the middle of a novel, and it is inevitable for you to use a trope, get in touch with Edit911. We are a team of professional editors and proofreaders, specializing in novel editing services. As far as fiction goes, we can help you find flaws in your plot while enabling you to develop characters. If you want to benefit from our services, feel free to contact us today.