So I’m back today with the second part of my twenty favourite tropes! Let’s get into it!
11. Creepy/Mysterious Houses
I am fascinated by old and supposedly haunted houses. The other day I watched a video on the Winchester House in California and I was absolutely hooked fifty seconds in. I remember being a kid and visiting an old pub near my house where a gang of bushrangers (the Ben Hall gang) killed a police officer, who was then said to haunt the area. Which also fascinated me. There’s the Farina ruins, which I visited four years ago and which have a distinctly haunted, sad feeling to them. And finally, my best friend’s grandparents, who have owned several 19th century manors which I absolutely love staying in.
Anyway, all that to say that I love when movies and books are set in old, derelict towns or beautiful stately manors that may or may not be haunted. Moonacre Manor, in The Little White Horse was, and still is, a particular favourite of mine.
12. At Least One Living Parent
Look, dead parents is convenient, and dead or absent parents are a part of life, but its fun when there’s at least one living parent who can provide emotional encouragement and support to the main characters.
Like parents, siblings are something the majority of us have. And yet, they are chronically underrepresented in fiction, though I am happy to report that siblings have increased in more recent books. There’s nothing more fun than the witty banter, teasing and deep seated
hatred affection between siblings. Obviously, the best siblings in fiction include the Pevensies, the Weasleys, the Bennets, the Marches, the Conneallys and the Everdeens. So many good siblings, but we really need more!
14. Found Family
Tying directly into the previous trope is the Found Family Trope. This one is a favourite because it shows that even if your biological family is dead, abusive or absent, that you can still create a group of people around you who care about you, and who you care about in return. It’s such a beautiful trope and I could sob every time a splendidly done version of this trope turns up in a book I’m reading. And of course, it’s in every single book I’ve ever written.
15. Soft, Emotional Men
I love men who don’t feel the need to be loud and aggressively masculine, especially if they’re in fantasy or historical fiction, or another type of book where hyper-masculine stereotypes are the norm. I’m rereading The Scorpio Races currently and I’d forgotten how much I like characters like Sean–men who just want to mind their own business, who aren’t afraid to show affection and do “unmanly” things like play in the surf with a killer horse.
16. Men Who Are Cocky and Handsome Without Being Womanisers
The trope that if a man is a bit full of himself and is good looking means that he must be a womaniser is frankly annoying. I would really like it if more men would be able to be handsome and cocky without being creepily obsessed with every woman they meet. However, in this trope I do have a few favourites already. Cassian Andor from Rogue One is a good example. As is Poe Dameron, until they made him suddenly obsessed with random women in The Rise of Skywalker. Super weird. Loki is another good example, as well. Look, just because a guy is handsome, does not mean he has to be a creepy stalker.
17. Disabled Characters Being Heroes
By this I’m not referring to the long-suffering, angelic disabled character that usually dies to prove how heroic they are, I’m simply referring to when disabled or otherwise ill characters are allowed to simply be heroes, with all the flaws that heroes usually possess. Unfortunately, there’s not many examples of this one yet, especially in my favoured genres of fantasy and historical fiction, but more recently there’s been a number of improvements in this area and I look forward to picking them up.
18. Characters With Dodgy Pasts Becoming Good
I’m picky with this one, because it can turn into “pardoning Snape, Loki and Kylo Ren, just because they’re all cool guys dressed completely in black”, but I love it when a character with a bad past is genuinely regretful and works to make the world a better place after having spent so much time devoted to evil. Jean Valjean is the classic example of this trope, but I also really like Sydney Carton, Edmund Pevensie and Eustace Scrub (child versions of this trope), and Howl Pendragon. For some reason, women in fiction don’t get second chances like this (they either stay innocent or die evil), so I definitely think I need to remedy that.
19. Morally Grey Rebellions
In fiction, rebellions are either black or white. It’s either the good guys doing it or the bad guys doing it, and it either needs to succeed or be crushed, depending on who’s doing it. However, in real life, rebellions and revolutions are not clearly cut good or evil. They’re full of grey areas, moral and ethical issues and rarely do they fix all the problems they aim to, and usually add a new string of issues to society. Which is not to say that they don’t often do good, eventually, just that they can’t be portrayed as being purely good. I enjoy when revolutions are treated like the complex societal shifts they are, such as in A Tale of Two Cities, The Hunger Games, and Les Miserables.
20. Healthy Romances
A strong trope to end on, I love healthy romances. When two characters love each other deeply, respect each other, listen to each other, are kind and gentle to each other, and would die for each other, I–a cold hearted amphibian–melt a little inside. Of course, I could not just leave this trope here without mentioning a few favourites. For example, Sean and Puck in The Scorpio Races, pretty much all the romances in The Lunar Chronicles, Percy and Marguerite in The Scarlet Pimpernel (once they sort their issues out), Lucie and Charles Darnay in A Tale of Two Cities, Sophie and Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle, Peeta and Katniss and a host of others who I don’t have time to mention right now.
And that’s it for me! What are your favourite tropes? Do you like living parents? What about haunted houses? How are you guys doing?