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My Love and Hate With Book Tropes

Alina Dewindt | Writer Ethan Antalosky | Editor

I know a lot of readers may come at me with pitchforks and knives, please but hear me out. I have a love-hate relationship with book tropes. Tropes, by definition, can be referred to as any figure of speech, theme, image, character, or plot element. They're often used as shortcuts that the storyteller assumes the readers will recognize. For example, in the enemies-to-lovers dynamic two characters start the story hating each other before becoming lovers near the end. My distaste for book tropes stems from the fact that social media users, mainly on TikTok, have a deep obsession with them. There is the idea that if your book doesn’t market its fan-favorite tropes, then it won’t sell as well, or be as interesting to readers. I’ve seen a lot of videos of people talking about how their favorite book has all of these tropes in it, and I’m left wondering. "Okay, but what’s the book about, and what’s the main conflict?" I’ve also seen a lot of authors write their plots to accommodate these tropes, instead of letting them happen naturally (cough, cough, After by Anna Todd). Now, I’ll admit that I enjoy reading stories with tropes in them, but only if they are well-written. For example, Lancali’s I Fell in Love With Hope naturally uses the trope of the found family to show the interpersonal connection with the characters' goal of wanting to cheat death. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller uses the trope of star-crossed lovers with the main characters during the most iconic war in Greek mythology. Readers and authors should start advertising a book just for the summary of the plot and the characters. But not just by advertising the tropes that are written in the story.


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