Tropes so often get a bad rap, dismissed by some as “formulaic” or a thing writers should avoid. And if you write to a trope, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of giving the reader something they’ve read time and again. This can be good, but doesn’t help if that reader is looking for a fresh take.
On the other hand, tropes are a good place to start any story. Visit TV Tropes, pick a trope at random, and you will be amazed at the variations. I also strongly advise setting a timer, because that place is a deep, deep rabbit hole. I’ve gotten all sorts of inspiration and plot bunnies from that site.
Funnily enough, I don’t write my favorite trope to reading, which is weddings and wedding preparations. Rather, the drama that can go with the same. Back in the ’90s, I avidly hunted down each volume of a year-long Harlequin or continuity series because it revolved around a large wedding salon. A couple of the books didn’t catch my interest, and they had one thing in common: they weren’t directly connected to the wedding salon. (I cannot, for the life of me, remember the name of the series and I’m afraid the books were lost in my move seven years ago. If anyone has a guess was the series name was, please comment.)
Why is wedding drama a favorite trope for me? Possibly because I’ve been interested in the business of weddings for years. (I once sabotaged myself in an interview at a wedding-related business because I was a little too knowledgeable and cynical about costs and upsells.) Consider this: a wedding dress will quite possibly be the most expensive outfit a woman will ever buy, and she isn’t buying it to please only herself. There are parents, grandparents, sibling, future in-laws, and friends who all feel they can weigh in. The ceremony itself is about two people making promises to stand by one another “for better or worse,” but there is always someone who aren’t the bride and groom who thinks it’s all about them. You’ve got long-simmering family feuds, old grudges, unrealistic expectations about the day, and the possibility for so many things which be a mere speedbump in daily life to grow into a mountain.
As long as I’m watching from a safe distance, I love a good fictional trainwreck, especially if things turn out well for our chief couple in the end. Why don’t I write in the wedding trope? Because in the Regency, weddings were much smaller and didn’t have quite the build up more modern weddings do. Though, there may be some wedding in the drama in To Lure a Lord, the next book in my Just a Touch of Scandal series. And, in the future, there’s a story I want to write about the American “Buccaneers” who snagged titled husbands which could have quite a bit of wedding drama. So perhaps I’m not quite so immune to telling those stories.
What about you? What are your favorite tropes to read? Let me know in the comments, then visit Brenda Margriet to find out what tropes she loves.
Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy.