Tag Archives: tropes

be an original

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There’s a common saying that there are no original stories anymore. There’s books about it “20 Master Plots (and how to write them)” and websites (TropesTV.org) where you can find millions of “reused” and reusable ideas.

I’ve even been to these sites to get ideas for what to write when I’m in need of a prompt or a different angle on something I’m struggling with.

The key though is to use these as guides. You may have started with a trope-laden idea = bad boy meets good girl crossed with “forced marriage/fake dating.” But you need to be as original with the execution of the plot as possible to stand out in a saturated market.

The best way to stand out is with original characterizations. You might have a “bad boy” by if you make him a her, or make the backstory of why/how he’s “bad” something that really makes him good (turning him into an anti-hero), you’ve elevated above the trope and made something more original.

If you’re writing a modern story with the trope that someone is forced into marriage or engagement in order to inherit or get something, you should have the characters point out the medieval-ness of the demand and make the conflict realistic. Write their voices like your characters are contemporary adults not 12 years old living out a naive fantasy.

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I think readers deserve our original stories, not all copies of the same one. This is why one of my first writing guidelines when I have an idea is to check what’s already out there. Has the story I’m considering been done before? I analyze the plot for it. What are its inherent tropes? What are the expectations of each trope? How can I twist them, change them around, and make them something original that reflects me not a million other writers?

So, yep, I’ve got lots of ideas in my brain, but only a handful have ever come out, because I haven’t yet found that way that will make the story an original extension of me.

~ Lara