Tropes in Writing: To include or not to include?

September 08, 2022 21 min read

 

By author Rebecca F. Kenney, @rebeccafkenney1

Is there a TV show you watch whenever you’re feeling anxious? A food you like to eat when you’ve had a bad day? A certain song that always puts you in a better mood?

Sure there is. We’re all familiar with comfort shows, comfort food, comfort music. They’re familiar things we enjoy. 

For a lot of people, that’s what a beloved trope is. It’s a recognized pattern, scenario, or character within a story. It’s familiar. It feels good. 

There might be tropes you hate, too, just as there are foods that make your stomach churn or TV shows you just can’t stand. 

Examples of Common Tropes

Let’s look at some well-known tropes. Keep in mind these are examples, not an exhaustive list. There are plenty more besides what I’m including here. 

In fantasy and science fiction, you’ll often find the “Chosen One” trope: one character who is destined to save the kingdom, the world, or the universe. One person with the power, skill, or some other quality necessary to take down the Big Evil. 

In such stories you might also find the “wise old mentor” trope, or the “disillusioned, grouchy, retired-hero” trope. These characters often serve as a foil and a teacher to prepare the young “Chosen One” for their task.

As a writer of spicy romance, I’m particularly fond of certain tropes that appear in my genre; tropes like “only one bed” or “forced proximity,” where the couple have to share space and it leads to an admission of their true feelings—or something steamier. I love “only one horse,” too, and if you have recs for that I will gladly take them. 

Another tried-and-true romance trope is “royalty and commoner,” “princess and stable boy/farm boy,” or however you want to phrase it. There’s also the “oh no, someone’s coming, let’s kiss so we don’t get caught but then oops it turns real and we have FEELINGS” trope—another favorite of mine. 

“Enemies to lovers'' is my all-time favorite trope. It’s all about two people from wildly different backgrounds or points-of-view unlearning their prejudices about each other, listening, seeing things from a new perspective. Definitely something we could use more of in this world. Plus the whole “I like you but I shouldn’t” struggle the characters go through makes for some really delicious sexual and emotional tension.

A beloved trope you’ll see across all genres is “found family,” where a character who has been abused, abandoned, traumatized, or lonely finds a group of other damaged, messy characters—and eventually they all form a collective bond that’s deep, touching, and mutually supportive.

This particular trope has been especially dear to the hearts of queer writers and readers, who sometimes face rejection from blood relatives but find acceptance with close friends and the LGBTQA community. But the concept of a “found family” resonates with readers of all kinds, especially those with family-related trauma. 

Some tropes are specific to genre, like horror, thriller, or mystery. How many other tropes can you name?

The Trope Dilemma

There’s been a lot of hate for tropes lately, countered by a wave of love for them by avid fans of fantasy and romance. But tropes aren’t limited to those two categories—they show up in every genre, in every work of fiction, sometimes without the author even realizing it.

Tropes aren’t good or bad. They’re simply tools in a storyteller’s hands. They aren’t the entire plot, but they can inspire a plot, or provide key turning points or atmospheric moments within the story. 

You’ll hear some people say, “Tropes are fine, when they’re well-executed.”

There’s a problem with that statement—we don’t all agree on what “well-executed” means. Some of us love an easy-to-read story that hits all our favorite tropes, and we don’t mind if it’s not a high-brow piece of book-club-worthy fiction.

Some of us find literary, book-club fiction to be very, very dull and we’d rather not waste our precious spare minutes slogging through something we don’t enjoy. (By now you may have picked up on the fact that I’m very pro-trope.) 

Other people only like tropes when they’re deeply subverted. I’ll be the first to say I love a good “twisted trope;” subversion of tropes is one way to make an overdone idea feel fresh and exciting. However, the very definition of “trope” assumes something familiar and recognizable.

Writers have to be careful not to upend too many “comfort tropes” so drastically that the reader comes away feeling unhappy and unsettled by the outcome. If a writer is going to market their book using beloved tropes, they should hint to readers that they plan to subvert those tropes—otherwise reader expectations won’t be met and bad reviews will follow.

Tropes in Marketing

That leads us right into the idea of tropes in marketing. Authors, whether indie/self-published or traditionally published, have to market their books. They have to talk about the books to readers who might be interested, and one of the primary ways to do that is through social media

I have a brief background in marketing, so I look at tropes as firstly something I love and enjoy, but also as selling points. Tropes are a quick, easy way to tell someone what’s in the book and what they might like about it.

They’re particularly useful for grabbing reader attention on platforms like Twitter and TikTok, where the space or time to catch someone’s attention is extremely limited—280 characters or a handful of seconds.

Let’s say I’m promoting my fantasy romance “Healer to the Ash King.” Some tropes I typically use to catch readers’ attention are:

  • Bride competition for the king’s hand
  • Fire vs water magic
  • Forced proximity
  • Undercover spy for the resistance
  • King and commoner
  • Enemies with benefits

Those six tropes take just a few words each, but they tell you a lot about the book. None of them are unique within themselves, but put all together, with my own twist on each one, they create a story that feels fresh.

And the last one, “enemies with benefits,” is a twist on the usual “enemies to lovers” trope, indicating that the pair become intimate while they’re still antagonistic toward each other. And that element might pique the interest of some readers. 

Trope Controversies

In the online book world, there have been two recent controversies regarding the use of tropes for marketing and writing. 

The first involved an author who marketed their book using specific tropes, scenes, and bits of dialogue, and achieved dramatic success as a result. However, when the book came out, some readers were disappointed, not finding those same snippets and trope-y scenes they had expected.

Another author claimed that their agent gave them a handful of tropes, and they created a book from those. This led to some backlash by other writers who disliked the idea of the agent having such a strong influence. Some authors also disapproved of the author’s self-deprecating comments about their writing abilities. 

There’s nuance in both these situations, but for the purposes of this article, let’s just look at these scenarios as they relate to tropes. 

What we can learn from the first situation is this:

If you’re going to market your book as containing specific tropes, those tropes had better be present in the final text in some recognizable form, and they should give the reader the same vibes you used in your marketing materials (videos, reels, tweets, etc.)

The second situation is a bit more complex. As an agented author, I can tell you that authors definitely discuss plot ideas, tropes, and concepts with their agent or editor.

The agent or editor doesn’t give orders about what the author must write, but they definitely offer advice and strong suggestions.They know what’s marketable to the target audience, what fits with the vision for the series, and what works best for the author’s career and their position in the market. 

Some writers hate that. They don’t like to conform to market trends; they want to be free to write anything. That’s fine—but if you want to make some money from your writing, it’s not necessarily the best approach.

Ideally, you’ll take the things you love to write and blend in the things your target audience is looking for. There’s a balance between creative autonomy and the awareness of what people actually want to read and will buy. 

An agent suggesting tropes to an author isn’t a bad thing. It’s a conversation, after which the author is still responsible for writing the book on their own. 

Can you create an entire book based on a handful of tropes? Yes and no. 

If you stitch together a bunch of tropes with a flimsy thread of plot, you might still make some good money (more power to you), but you may also get some very unsatisfied readers. 

It’s best to think of tropes as pieces of the overall framework of your plot. If you’re thinking, “I really love this trope and I want to write it,” then you can absolutely craft a plot to work with that trope or allow that scenario. But it has to feel natural and cohesive. And you need to be honing your craft assiduously even while you squeal about certain tropes. 

Tropes and Marginalized Authors

If you’re a member of a marginalized community, you may face additional pushback about your use of tropes. That is absolutely wrong, on every level, but it happens.

Publishing isn’t generally kind to marginalized authors, and you might be told, directly or subtly, that there’s no more room for your book, even as white/cis/abled authors keep churning out trope-filled works.

That’s an important conversation that I, as a white, cisgender author, am not qualified to unpack. It’s an unjust reality that I hope is changing, and it’s the responsibility of authors like me to uplift marginalized writers and work toward that change. 

I will say that the indie publishing space has become a welcome refuge for many authors who have felt excluded from traditional publishing for one reason or another. Even there, there’s work to be done; but indie books and self-published authors are gaining more respect among readers and more clout in the market.

They’re giving us the variety that we don’t always get from traditionally published books, and readers are saying “yes” with their dollars. Self-publishing is hard work, and it’s not the right solution for everyone, but as a self-published author myself, I can say that it’s a fun, rewarding space to be in. (Yes, I am both self-published and agented, but that’s a whole other post.)

Final thoughts: Is there a best practice when it comes to tropes?

No matter who you are, even if you do everything “right,” you’re still going to have naysayers who turn up their noses at your work. The elements some people rave about, others will hate. Some will think you handled the tropes perfectly, and they will be gloriously satisfied, while others sneer and call your work lazy or derivative.

Ultimately, if you’re taking your craft seriously, writing what you love, and keeping a weather eye on the market, you’re doing great. Keep those trope-filled stories coming, because to some of us, they’re like delicious, cheesy nachos—it’s impossible to devour just one. 

“The Truth About Tropes” by Rebecca F. Kenney

Is there a TV show you watch whenever you’re feeling anxious? A food you like to eat when you’ve had a bad day? A certain song that always puts you in a better mood?

Sure there is. We’re all familiar with comfort shows, comfort food, comfort music. They’re familiar things we enjoy. 

For a lot of people, that’s what a beloved trope is. It’s a recognized pattern, scenario, or character within a story. It’s familiar. It feels good. 

There might be tropes you hate, too, just as there are foods that make your stomach churn or TV shows you just can’t stand. 

Examples of Common Tropes

Let’s look at some well-known tropes. Keep in mind these are examples, not an exhaustive list. There are plenty more besides what I’m including here. 

In fantasy and science fiction, you’ll often find the “Chosen One” trope: one character who is destined to save the kingdom, the world, or the universe. One person with the power, skill, or some other quality necessary to take down the Big Evil. 

In such stories you might also find the “wise old mentor” trope, or the “disillusioned, grouchy, retired-hero” trope. These characters often serve as a foil and a teacher to prepare the young “Chosen One” for their task.

As a writer of spicy romance, I’m particularly fond of certain tropes that appear in my genre; tropes like “only one bed” or “forced proximity,” where the couple have to share space and it leads to an admission of their true feelings—or something steamier. I love “only one horse,” too, and if you have recs for that I will gladly take them. 

Another tried-and-true romance trope is “royalty and commoner,” “princess and stable boy/farm boy,” or however you want to phrase it. There’s also the “oh no, someone’s coming, let’s kiss so we don’t get caught but then oops it turns real and we have FEELINGS” trope—another favorite of mine. 

“Enemies to lovers'' is my all-time favorite trope. It’s all about two people from wildly different backgrounds or points-of-view unlearning their prejudices about each other, listening, seeing things from a new perspective. Definitely something we could use more of in this world. Plus the whole “I like you but I shouldn’t” struggle the characters go through makes for some really delicious sexual and emotional tension.

A beloved trope you’ll see across all genres is “found family,” where a character who has been abused, abandoned, traumatized, or lonely finds a group of other damaged, messy characters—and eventually they all form a collective bond that’s deep, touching, and mutually supportive. This particular trope has been especially dear to the hearts of queer writers and readers, who sometimes face rejection from blood relatives but find acceptance with close friends and the LGBTQA community. But the concept of a “found family” resonates with readers of all kinds, especially those with family-related trauma. 

Some tropes are specific to genre, like horror, thriller, or mystery. How many other tropes can you name?

The Trope Dilemma

There’s been a lot of hate for tropes lately, countered by a wave of love for them by avid fans of fantasy and romance. But tropes aren’t limited to those two categories—they show up in every genre, in every work of fiction, sometimes without the author even realizing it.

Tropes aren’t good or bad. They’re simply tools in a storyteller’s hands. They aren’t the entire plot, but they can inspire a plot, or provide key turning points or atmospheric moments within the story. 

You’ll hear some people say, “Tropes are fine, when they’re well-executed.”

There’s a problem with that statement—we don’t all agree on what “well-executed” means. Some of us love an easy-to-read story that hits all our favorite tropes, and we don’t mind if it’s not a high-brow piece of book-club-worthy fiction. Some of us find literary, book-club fiction to be very, very dull and we’d rather not waste our precious spare minutes slogging through something we don’t enjoy. (By now you may have picked up on the fact that I’m very pro-trope.) 

Other people only like tropes when they’re deeply subverted. I’ll be the first to say I love a good “twisted trope;” subversion of tropes is one way to make an overdone idea feel fresh and exciting. However, the very definition of “trope” assumes something familiar and recognizable. Writers have to be careful not to upend too many “comfort tropes” so drastically that the reader comes away feeling unhappy and unsettled by the outcome. If a writer is going to market their book using beloved tropes, they should hint to readers that they plan to subvert those tropes—otherwise reader expectations won’t be met and bad reviews will follow.

Tropes in Marketing

That leads us right into the idea of tropes in marketing. Authors, whether indie/self-published or traditionally published, have to market their books. They have to talk about the books to readers who might be interested, and one of the primary ways to do that is through social media. 

I have a brief background in marketing, so I look at tropes as firstly something I love and enjoy, but also as selling points. Tropes are a quick, easy way to tell someone what’s in the book and what they might like about it. They’re particularly useful for grabbing reader attention on platforms like Twitter and TikTok, where the space or time to catch someone’s attention is extremely limited—280 characters or a handful of seconds.

Let’s say I’m promoting my fantasy romance “Healer to the Ash King.” Some tropes I typically use to catch readers’ attention are:

-bride competition for the king’s hand

-fire vs water magic

-forced proximity

-undercover spy for the resistance

-king and commoner

-enemies with benefits

Those six tropes take just a few words each, but they tell you a lot about the book. None of them are unique within themselves, but put all together, with my own twist on each one, they create a story that feels fresh. And the last one, “enemies with benefits,” is a twist on the usual “enemies to lovers” trope, indicating that the pair become intimate while they’re still antagonistic toward each other. And that element might pique the interest of some readers. 

Trope Controversies

In the online book world, there have been two recent controversies regarding the use of tropes for marketing and writing. 

The first involved an author who marketed their book using specific tropes, scenes, and bits of dialogue, and achieved dramatic success as a result. However, when the book came out, some readers were disappointed, not finding those same snippets and trope-y scenes they had expected.

Another author claimed that their agent gave them a handful of tropes, and they created a book from those. This led to some backlash by other writers who disliked the idea of the agent having such a strong influence. Some authors also disapproved of the author’s self-deprecating comments about their writing abilities. 

There’s nuance in both these situations, but for the purposes of this article, let’s just look at these scenarios as they relate to tropes. 

What we can learn from the first situation is this: If you’re going to market your book as containing specific tropes, those tropes had better be present in the final text in some recognizable form, and they should give the reader the same vibes you used in your marketing materials (videos, reels, tweets, etc.)

The second situation is a bit more complex. As an agented author, I can tell you that authors definitely discuss plot ideas, tropes, and concepts with their agent or editor. The agent or editor doesn’t give orders about what the author must write, but they definitely offer advice and strong suggestions. They know what’s marketable to the target audience, what fits with the vision for the series, and what works best for the author’s career and their position in the market. 

Some writers hate that. They don’t like to conform to market trends; they want to be free to write anything. That’s fine—but if you want to make some money from your writing, it’s not necessarily the best approach. Ideally, you’ll take the things you love to write and blend in the things your target audience is looking for. There’s a balance between creative autonomy and the awareness of what people actually want to read and will buy. 

An agent suggesting tropes to an author isn’t a bad thing. It’s a conversation, after which the author is still responsible for writing the book on their own. 

Can you create an entire book based on a handful of tropes? Yes and no. 

If you stitch together a bunch of tropes with a flimsy thread of plot, you might still make some good money (more power to you), but you may also get some very unsatisfied readers. 

It’s best to think of tropes as pieces of the overall framework of your plot. If you’re thinking, “I really love this trope and I want to write it,” then you can absolutely craft a plot to work with that trope or allow that scenario. But it has to feel natural and cohesive. And you need to be honing your craft assiduously even while you squeal about certain tropes. 

Tropes and Marginalized Authors

If you’re a member of a marginalized community, you may face additional pushback about your use of tropes. That is absolutely wrong, on every level, but it happens. Publishing isn’t generally kind to marginalized authors, and you might be told, directly or subtly, that there’s no more room for your book, even as white/cis/abled authors keep churning out trope-filled works. That’s an important conversation that I, as a white, cisgender author, am not qualified to unpack. It’s an unjust reality that I hope is changing, and it’s the responsibility of authors like me to uplift marginalized writers and work toward that change. 

I will say that the indie publishing space has become a welcome refuge for many authors who have felt excluded from traditional publishing for one reason or another. Even there, there’s work to be done; but indie books and self-published authors are gaining more respect among readers and more clout in the market. They’re giving us the variety that we don’t always get from traditionally published books, and readers are saying “yes” with their dollars. Self-publishing is hard work, and it’s not the right solution for everyone, but as a self-published author myself, I can say that it’s a fun, rewarding space to be in. (Yes, I am both self-published and agented, but that’s a whole other post.)

Final Thoughts: Is there a best practice when it comes to tropes?

No matter who you are, even if you do everything “right,” you’re still going to have naysayers who turn up their noses at your work. The elements some people rave about, others will hate. Some will think you handled the tropes perfectly, and they will be gloriously satisfied, while others sneer and call your work lazy or derivative.

Ultimately, if you’re taking your craft seriously, writing what you love, and keeping a weather eye on the market, you’re doing great. Keep those trope-filled stories coming, because to some of us, they’re like delicious, cheesy nachos—it’s impossible to devour just one. 

“The Truth About Tropes” by Rebecca F. Kenney

Is there a TV show you watch whenever you’re feeling anxious? A food you like to eat when you’ve had a bad day? A certain song that always puts you in a better mood?

Sure there is. We’re all familiar with comfort shows, comfort food, comfort music. They’re familiar things we enjoy. 

For a lot of people, that’s what a beloved trope is. It’s a recognized pattern, scenario, or character within a story. It’s familiar. It feels good. 

There might be tropes you hate, too, just as there are foods that make your stomach churn or TV shows you just can’t stand. 

Examples of Common Tropes

Let’s look at some well-known tropes. Keep in mind these are examples, not an exhaustive list. There are plenty more besides what I’m including here. 

In fantasy and science fiction, you’ll often find the “Chosen One” trope: one character who is destined to save the kingdom, the world, or the universe. One person with the power, skill, or some other quality necessary to take down the Big Evil. 

In such stories you might also find the “wise old mentor” trope, or the “disillusioned, grouchy, retired-hero” trope. These characters often serve as a foil and a teacher to prepare the young “Chosen One” for their task.

As a writer of spicy romance, I’m particularly fond of certain tropes that appear in my genre; tropes like “only one bed” or “forced proximity,” where the couple have to share space and it leads to an admission of their true feelings—or something steamier. I love “only one horse,” too, and if you have recs for that I will gladly take them. 

Another tried-and-true romance trope is “royalty and commoner,” “princess and stable boy/farm boy,” or however you want to phrase it. There’s also the “oh no, someone’s coming, let’s kiss so we don’t get caught but then oops it turns real and we have FEELINGS” trope—another favorite of mine. 

“Enemies to lovers'' is my all-time favorite trope. It’s all about two people from wildly different backgrounds or points-of-view unlearning their prejudices about each other, listening, seeing things from a new perspective. Definitely something we could use more of in this world. Plus the whole “I like you but I shouldn’t” struggle the characters go through makes for some really delicious sexual and emotional tension.

A beloved trope you’ll see across all genres is “found family,” where a character who has been abused, abandoned, traumatized, or lonely finds a group of other damaged, messy characters—and eventually they all form a collective bond that’s deep, touching, and mutually supportive. This particular trope has been especially dear to the hearts of queer writers and readers, who sometimes face rejection from blood relatives but find acceptance with close friends and the LGBTQA community. But the concept of a “found family” resonates with readers of all kinds, especially those with family-related trauma. 

Some tropes are specific to genre, like horror, thriller, or mystery. How many other tropes can you name?

The Trope Dilemma

There’s been a lot of hate for tropes lately, countered by a wave of love for them by avid fans of fantasy and romance. But tropes aren’t limited to those two categories—they show up in every genre, in every work of fiction, sometimes without the author even realizing it.

Tropes aren’t good or bad. They’re simply tools in a storyteller’s hands. They aren’t the entire plot, but they can inspire a plot, or provide key turning points or atmospheric moments within the story. 

You’ll hear some people say, “Tropes are fine, when they’re well-executed.”

There’s a problem with that statement—we don’t all agree on what “well-executed” means. Some of us love an easy-to-read story that hits all our favorite tropes, and we don’t mind if it’s not a high-brow piece of book-club-worthy fiction. Some of us find literary, book-club fiction to be very, very dull and we’d rather not waste our precious spare minutes slogging through something we don’t enjoy. (By now you may have picked up on the fact that I’m very pro-trope.) 

Other people only like tropes when they’re deeply subverted. I’ll be the first to say I love a good “twisted trope;” subversion of tropes is one way to make an overdone idea feel fresh and exciting. However, the very definition of “trope” assumes something familiar and recognizable. Writers have to be careful not to upend too many “comfort tropes” so drastically that the reader comes away feeling unhappy and unsettled by the outcome. If a writer is going to market their book using beloved tropes, they should hint to readers that they plan to subvert those tropes—otherwise reader expectations won’t be met and bad reviews will follow.

Tropes in Marketing

That leads us right into the idea of tropes in marketing. Authors, whether indie/self-published or traditionally published, have to market their books. They have to talk about the books to readers who might be interested, and one of the primary ways to do that is through social media. 

I have a brief background in marketing, so I look at tropes as firstly something I love and enjoy, but also as selling points. Tropes are a quick, easy way to tell someone what’s in the book and what they might like about it. They’re particularly useful for grabbing reader attention on platforms like Twitter and TikTok, where the space or time to catch someone’s attention is extremely limited—280 characters or a handful of seconds.

Let’s say I’m promoting my fantasy romance “Healer to the Ash King.” Some tropes I typically use to catch readers’ attention are:

-bride competition for the king’s hand

-fire vs water magic

-forced proximity

-undercover spy for the resistance

-king and commoner

-enemies with benefits

Those six tropes take just a few words each, but they tell you a lot about the book. None of them are unique within themselves, but put all together, with my own twist on each one, they create a story that feels fresh. And the last one, “enemies with benefits,” is a twist on the usual “enemies to lovers” trope, indicating that the pair become intimate while they’re still antagonistic toward each other. And that element might pique the interest of some readers. 

Trope Controversies

In the online book world, there have been two recent controversies regarding the use of tropes for marketing and writing. 

The first involved an author who marketed their book using specific tropes, scenes, and bits of dialogue, and achieved dramatic success as a result. However, when the book came out, some readers were disappointed, not finding those same snippets and trope-y scenes they had expected.

Another author claimed that their agent gave them a handful of tropes, and they created a book from those. This led to some backlash by other writers who disliked the idea of the agent having such a strong influence. Some authors also disapproved of the author’s self-deprecating comments about their writing abilities. 

There’s nuance in both these situations, but for the purposes of this article, let’s just look at these scenarios as they relate to tropes. 

What we can learn from the first situation is this: If you’re going to market your book as containing specific tropes, those tropes had better be present in the final text in some recognizable form, and they should give the reader the same vibes you used in your marketing materials (videos, reels, tweets, etc.)

The second situation is a bit more complex. As an agented author, I can tell you that authors definitely discuss plot ideas, tropes, and concepts with their agent or editor. The agent or editor doesn’t give orders about what the author must write, but they definitely offer advice and strong suggestions. They know what’s marketable to the target audience, what fits with the vision for the series, and what works best for the author’s career and their position in the market. 

Some writers hate that. They don’t like to conform to market trends; they want to be free to write anything. That’s fine—but if you want to make some money from your writing, it’s not necessarily the best approach. Ideally, you’ll take the things you love to write and blend in the things your target audience is looking for. There’s a balance between creative autonomy and the awareness of what people actually want to read and will buy. 

An agent suggesting tropes to an author isn’t a bad thing. It’s a conversation, after which the author is still responsible for writing the book on their own. 

Can you create an entire book based on a handful of tropes? Yes and no. 

If you stitch together a bunch of tropes with a flimsy thread of plot, you might still make some good money (more power to you), but you may also get some very unsatisfied readers. 

It’s best to think of tropes as pieces of the overall framework of your plot. If you’re thinking, “I really love this trope and I want to write it,” then you can absolutely craft a plot to work with that trope or allow that scenario. But it has to feel natural and cohesive. And you need to be honing your craft assiduously even while you squeal about certain tropes. 

Tropes and Marginalized Authors

If you’re a member of a marginalized community, you may face additional pushback about your use of tropes. That is absolutely wrong, on every level, but it happens. Publishing isn’t generally kind to marginalized authors, and you might be told, directly or subtly, that there’s no more room for your book, even as white/cis/abled authors keep churning out trope-filled works. That’s an important conversation that I, as a white, cisgender author, am not qualified to unpack. It’s an unjust reality that I hope is changing, and it’s the responsibility of authors like me to uplift marginalized writers and work toward that change. 

I will say that the indie publishing space has become a welcome refuge for many authors who have felt excluded from traditional publishing for one reason or another. Even there, there’s work to be done; but indie books and self-published authors are gaining more respect among readers and more clout in the market. They’re giving us the variety that we don’t always get from traditionally published books, and readers are saying “yes” with their dollars. Self-publishing is hard work, and it’s not the right solution for everyone, but as a self-published author myself, I can say that it’s a fun, rewarding space to be in. (Yes, I am both self-published and agented, but that’s a whole other post.)

Final Thoughts: Is there a best practice when it comes to tropes?

No matter who you are, even if you do everything “right,” you’re still going to have naysayers who turn up their noses at your work. The elements some people rave about, others will hate. Some will think you handled the tropes perfectly, and they will be gloriously satisfied, while others sneer and call your work lazy or derivative.

Ultimately, if you’re taking your craft seriously, writing what you love, and keeping a weather eye on the market, you’re doing great. Keep those trope-filled stories coming, because to some of us, they’re like delicious, cheesy nachos—it’s impossible to devour just one.

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How to Write a Book While You're in College

September 26, 2022 4 min read

Bogged down in class assignments and side-gigs and unsure of how to make space for your writing? Read these 5 tips.
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6 Tips for a Best-Selling Book Cover
6 Tips for a Best-Selling Book Cover

August 29, 2022 3 min read

Publishing can be tough work—the competition is fierce. Here's how to design your book cover to maximize sales potential.

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32 Tips for Improving Your Writing, Revising, and Querying
32 Tips for Improving Your Writing, Revising, and Querying

August 09, 2022 8 min read

There may be no cut and dry formula toward writerly success, but this is solid advice that will make your journey smoother.
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