I wanted to take a little break from writing Shattered (meaning that I need to outline everything so that it doesn’t turn out to be a big disgusting mess) and I wanted to talk about some of my favorite tropes that I love to see when I read.
So for those who do not know what I trope is, a trope is simply a storytelling device that is easy to spot. Kind of like a story stereotype. You probably know some of them, the Girl Next Door trope or the Cool New Guy trope are some examples. We see tropes all the time in storytelling, it’s just that we never really think of them. Though sometimes we do if the story fails to immerse us.
But I have a few favorite tropes that I always love seeing and I wanted to share them!
Hero with Bad Publicity: This read exactly as it does. It is when our protagonist is seen as a villain or is constantly demonized by people or the media. I really like it when the hero has to not only constantly fight against the villain, but they also have to struggle with everyday people generally resenting or being overly wary of them. Usually, we see this trope come out when the protagonist is an Anti-Hero or a villain turned hero, but this trope also comes out into play when we have the villain in a political position of power. Good places to see this example is Batman and Spiderman. Neither one was really loved by the press when they first appeared on the scene. For all my fellow manga readers out there a great example of this is Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari. I won’t spoil anything but I will say that the protagonist gets a bad reputation because of his weapon.
Alternate Universe: Now this could mean a lot of things, but I like this trope in a very specific sense. I like it when the protagonist is transported to a completely difference universe. Kind of like in the Chronicles of Narnia when the kids went to a new world and had to adjust. I enjoy reading about the struggle and the culture clash and seeing them reconcile what their morals with the new world that they find themselves in. If anyone has ever seen Outlander than that is kind of a good example, but that deals more with Time Travel instead of Alternate Universe. A better example could be Helena Wayne who is originally from Earth-2 where Batman and Catwoman are together and then ending up on Earth-Prime (the original timeline that we’re used to) and dealing with the conflict of her parents being there, but not together. Another manga that does something like this called Isekai de “Kuro no Iyashi Te” tte Yobareteimasu,
WHICH HASN’T UPDATED IN LIKE FOREVER. But I like this trope a lot.
Anyone Can Die: I like this trope a lot despite the death of several of my favorite characters. I don’t know why exactly maybe because it always keeps me sitting on the edge of my seat and wondering who will be the next person to get the ax, but it keeps the suspense going for me at least. Obvious examples are everyone’s favorites Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are excellent examples of this. Literally, every one of your favorites dies. I am still rooting for Jon Snow and Dany to not die this season because I love them and they deserve the fucking world. Another example of this for my anime buddies Akame ga Kill. All your faves die so keep that in mind.
Break the Cutie/Corrupt the Cutie: Now these two are sort of similar, so I lumped them together but I think I should explain what each of them is first. So essentially the Break the Cutie trope is where the character that you love is just systematically decimated. You know what I mean, the writer’s completely destroyed that character by taking everything they love and enjoy, and basically, strip them of everything pure and good in the world. The Corrupt the Cutie trope is similar, but the writers don’t try to psychologically ruin this character, they simply just try to turn them to the dark side by slowly changing their personality as a result of going through certain experiences that don’t involve a massive amount of abuse. I like both tropes because I like seeing seemingly pure and good characters… not be pure and good. I’m a psych student it’s interesting for me to see power plays and internalized struggles and how people deal with that. Examples: The Vampire Diaries is a good example of Corrupt the Cutie. The older vampires are trying to indoctrinate the younger ones to embrace being a murderer being that is what’s common place. Once Upon a Time is also a good example of this with the relationship between Rumplestiltskin/Mr. Gold and Regina/the Evil Queen. Break the Cutie examples can mostly be found in Game of Thrones. Sansa Stark is the prime example of this. And one of my favorite animes, Tokyo Ghoul does the Break the Cutie trope to a T. The main story is just Kaneki’s downward spiral into a murderous rampage.
Pay Evil Unto Evil: When Good Guy says it’s all fine and good to essentially abuse Bad Guy, because, well they’re the Bad Guy. So this trope is seen a lot with Anti-Heroes and such because they don’t run with a typical sense of justice. This trope is just saying that if you want to beat the bad guy you need to get on their level. I personally like this trope because I’m always conflicted when this trope is used. Like do I support this? It gets the job done but at what cost? It makes me question the world and my own morality which is fun. A classic example of this is Jason Todd’s Red Hood in the Batman comics. Jason is not above killing the villain because he thinks they deserve it and while it gets the job done… Like is it the correct way to do things? Death Note is also a good example of this. Light kills people because they are criminals and he believes that all evil should die. It’s clear he’s crazy but there are moments you wonder “Is he wrong?”
Last, but not least we have my last two favorite tropes. Anti-Villain/Anti-Hero. For those of you who need a refresher, I’ll dive right in. The Anti-Hero is essentially the hero but doesn’t have all the attribute of the traditional hero. They are not selfless, kind, or an all around good person, but they go about getting the justice that they want on regular terms. The character themselves are simply not what you’d expect the hero to be, tends to be a Lawful Neutral. On the hand, we have the Anti-Villain who want generally good things and have good traits, but their goal is evil. Though when their goals tend to be moral, but more on the Lawful Evil side of things. Anti-Hero examples, Prince Zuko from Avatar: the Last Airbender is a shoe-in for this trope, seeing as he changed sides in Book 3 and his stint as the Blue Bandit (was that the alias?). Anti-Villain examples, Magneto is a great example of this. He wants to stop the persecution and discrimination of mutants around the world, but he goes about it through kind of genocidal and hostile means, but he actually simply wants the best for all mutants everywhere.
So there are some of my favorite tropes. There are thousands of more tropes and such that I like but haven’t discussed on here. If I did then this post would be the longest ever and even just talk about these eight tropes has put this post at my longest post yet. There are probably tropes that you like but can’t put a name to so I suggest you go explore TV Tropes it’s a fun website that explains the tropes in hilarious ways. They list all the tropes that could be found in a TV show, movie, book, comic, anime, etc. It’s a fun website to explore and I linked all the tropes I discussed to their proper TV trope page. Explore the website and then share the tropes that you like. These are just some tropes that I see myself continually finding myself with. I think in one of my later posts I’ll talk more about tropes that I like or some of the tropes that I like to use in my writing.