Is it a book or is it fanfic?
You don’t have to answer that question. All you have to do is accept that some tropes are classic wherever they show up. Today, thanks to Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads making it the Top 5 Tuesday topic of the week, I’m sharing a few of the tropes I can’t get enough of, no matter what shape they come in!
The “We Have Titles or Only Use Last Names Until You’re in Danger and I Use Your First Name in a Moment of Tender Desperation” Trope
I know I’m leading with something incredibly specific, but listen. It happens often enough to be justified, and I am completely in love with it. There’s sooooo much power in a name, and anyone who uses this trope successfully has my entire heart. Give me all the tender pining and dedication, condensed into one desperate, pleading word!
Shoutout to Seraphina by Rachel Hartman for using this one to delightful, maddening effect!
The Rivals to Lovers Trope
Sure, enemies to lovers is all well and good, especially when it takes a tumbling route through Maybe We’re Friends Now? and I Think This is Called a Feeling but it Sure is Weird. But rivals to lovers is exquisite. You have the established relationship that friends to lovers relies on, with a sharp and lively spark of antagonism that makes up enemies to lovers. It’s basically the best of both worlds!
Plus, you can happily sprinkle this one with a heaping pile of mutual admiration, even if the characters in question will die before admitting they admire the other’s skill (at first).
What can I say? I like my fictional couples to be able to keep each other on their toes. I like them to be equals, or as close to it as possible.
The Found Family Trope
I know you’ve all seen me yammer on about Leverage at some point, in some form. It’s literally about a bunch of criminals spending their days making horrible capitalists regret every greedy decision they’ve ever made. And also, it’s about said criminals ending the very first episode saying “this will be our only job ever” before launching directly into being mistaken for family by characters who don’t know better. And then, you know, getting a five season original run and then a highly anticipated, largely praised revival almost ten years later.
The point here is that they found each other! They’re family now, for better or for worse, and whatever lies ahead, they’ll face it together!
Just give me characters who feel they had no one realizing that they have someone. Multiple someones, even. A family who loves them and cares about them.
(Then hand me every hurt/comfort fic you’ve got, because I love to chase this trope with a heavy shot of angst. Always served best with tears.)
The Trapped Together Trope
I don’t care if this means the characters are stuck in a small space together, or they’re handcuffed together, or whatever. As long as they’re stuck together and have to grudgingly become allies, I eat this trope up. Bonus points for mixing with rivals to lovers that leads to a newfound respect.
Double bonus points for not even bothering with lovers and just forcing these characters to work together while also annoying the daylights out of one another. Mix it up, folks. Make it messy. Better yet, make me laugh!
The Beach Episode Trope
Fine, fine, this is more TV than books, but can you blame me? Beach episodes are the best, because it lets us see the cast at their most relaxed (until the problem of the day arises). It’s such a fun, slightly ridiculous way to learn about the characters and who they are when they’re not trying to make major decisions. Are they just trying to have a quiet day? Is this their chance to cut loose and ride a jet ski? Or is winning the pick up beach volleyball tournament even more important than saving the world, if only for the next few hours?
Yes, I feel this way in large part because Avatar: The Last Airbender got beach episodes right. And also because I’m a homebody who doesn’t like being on the beach, but likes the aesthetics of the beach. I’m a picky creature, I know, I know.
There’s so many tropes I could go on about, to be honest. The Split Up For Interrogation and Telling Wildly Different Versions of the Same Story Trope? Or how about I Hate You and You Hate Me but We Both Hate That Third Guy So Let’s Team Up for a Hot Minute?
As you can see, I don’t name my favorite tropes precisely sometimes, but is that so bad? At least you can tell exactly what trope I mean!
Anyways, do we share any favorite tropes? Did I miss one you think I’m absolutely bonkers for leaving out? Let’s chat!