What the Heck is a Trope?

Guest blog by Kirsten Blacketer

I’m Kirsten. I’m also Mom, Wife, Den Leader, and TSgt Blacketer’s spouse. I’m addicted to romance and Tom Hiddleston. There’s no hope for me, save yourself. *grins* When I’m not writing or reading, I’m outside or crafting jewelry in my office. I write medieval romance and I love it. My second book in the Shadow Guardian Series,  A Shadow’s Kiss,  releases July 4th from Breathless Press.

What the heck is a Trope?

Until I signed up for National Novel Writing Month Entangled Smackdown on Savvy Authors in 2012, I had no idea what a trope was. It sounds like a cousin to a troll.

A trope is a common or overused theme or device. Gosh, that doesn’t sound like a good thing. I’ve heard of a cliché but not a trope. I’m still lost. Then they gave me a list of common tropes used in romance. Then the light bulb went off in my brain.

Why did they not teach these things to me in college? I was an English major. Why does that term not ring any bells?  I might have dumped all that information as soon as the class ended, but I think the term trope would have stuck out to me.

Now that I know what it is, I love it. It’s a simple way for me to identify what KINDS of stories I like.

When I see a story with even a hint of these tropes in the blurb or synopsis, I’m hooked immediately. I’ll read it. Here’s the list:

  • Bait & Switch (hero or heroine thinks the other is someone else)
  • Beauty & the Beast
  • Enemies to lovers (Kiss or kill)
  • Forbidden romance
  • Friend’s big brother / little sister (OR known to me as “Brother’s best friend” )
  • Friends to lovers
  • Guardian / Ward
  • Masquerade (one of the characters in disguise) / Becoming the Mask
  • Mistaken identity
  • Office affairs
  • Opposites Attract
  • Reformed rake / Bad boy reformed
  • Twins (secret twins / impersonation)

I have used some of these tropes in my own writing. Several of them in fact. They help me narrow down the theme of my story and the basic dynamic between the characters.

To be honest, Masquerade is my absolute favorite of all time. I’m a sucker for hidden identities and the mystery surrounding the man or woman in the mask. I have yet to write one like that, but when I do, you can guarantee I’ll put my heart and soul into it.

What’s your favorite trope?

You can find me HERE:

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Blogs: thesarcasticmuse.com, KirstenSBlacketer.com

A Shadows Kiss_200x300A Shadow’s Kiss Blurb:

Torn between duty and desire, a knight and his lady must decide if their love is worth the price of treason.

Madeline Campbell has been whisked away from her uncle’s barony to be reunited with her family in the Scottish Highlands. Her happy reunion quickly sours when she realizes her father intends to present her as a bride to the winner of the Highland Tournament. With no one to turn to for comfort or guidance, Madeline chooses to do her duty to her clan as well as her father and marry the winner.

An English knight has no place on Scottish soil, but Alexander must complete the mission with which he was tasked. Find Madeline and ensure her safety. When he finds her, he must decide between his honorable duty and his love for Madeline.

No one can deny their attraction and their desire for one another, but when it sparks jealousy in the other clansmen, they have no alternative but to run. Secrets emerge from the shadows of the past and threaten to tear their happiness apart. How can one choose between their duty and their heart?

A Cowboy Sunrise 200x300A Cowboy Sunrise Blurb:

Katie never expected her impromptu vacation at her best friend’s dude ranch to have such glorious scenery…or tight wrangler clad cowboys.

Frustrated over losing her job, Katie accepts her best friend’s invitation to spend a few weeks at their dude ranch in Wyoming. She never expected the stampede of desire when she caught a glimpse of her first authentic cowboy. Her mind immediately wondered what the handsome cowboy hid beneath his dusty wranglers. Katie never expected to find a man, let alone one whose kisses turned her limbs into jello. Can she return to her life in the city and leave the charming cowboy behind?

Author Bio: Stick her in the middle of a chaotic home with two children, a hyperactive dog, and a camouflage wearing husband, and she can cook and clean with the best of them. But when the sun goes down and the children are nestled in bed fast asleep, she tucks away her pots and broom and like Cinderella she transforms.

Her characters creep forth from the dark recesses of her mind taking their places in the castles and forests built from her words. No simpering heroines linger there with forlorn gazes turned to the horizon, waiting for their Prince Charming. They straighten their spine, arming themselves with blade and bow, prepared to do their part in defense of their honor and destiny. She breathes life into the women she believes our ancestors to be, showing how they lived and loved with passion and grace.

Never bored by the tales still left to tell, she battles the ever sarcastic muse in her quest for romance.

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