These days, some critics use the word “tropish” to pan books, shows, and movies. It’s meant to suggest that the creators were less creative than the reviewer would like, that they rely more on common conventions of fiction and genre than on “genuine” flexing of storytelling muscles.
That’s one point of view, and it’s not entirely wrong. Fiction that relies entirely on tropes can be fun, but is rarely truly satisfying for the same reasons that a speech consisting entirely of cliches is uninspiring.
But (also like cliches) tropes are common because they’re true. In this case, they’re true because they hold an essential place in the genre they call home. Fantasy isn’t fantasy without swords and/or magic. A detective story is incomplete without a mystery to solve. Romance without the question of will they/won’t they doesn’t hold reader attention.
Readers love certain tropes. Some are trending in the past few years. Others are evergreen: staples of the genre that brings eyes to the page generation after generation. Here are some of the most beloved, for you to consider including in your next book.
Ignore them at your peril.
- Missing Persons (Crime & Thriller)