Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday – I have been patiently waiting for today’s topic!
Literary tropes are one of my favorite things to ponder when reading and writing. I could probably list off twenty favorites pretty quick and another twenty that annoy me to the point of closing a book for good.
Here are some of my favorites in no particular order:
- Non-linear timelines – fine, this one actually is my favorite. The Handmaid’s Tale, Infinite Jest, Bangkok Wakes to Rain, and most recently Recursion are all excellent examples of this trope.
- Loneliness/seclusion – I identify with this trope personally so I am drawn to books that illustrate this well. A Woman is No Man, Where the Crawdads Sing, and The Stranger in The Woods all capture utter isolation, even in the midst of human contact.
- Allegory – What does the author really mean to say in this story? Or is it left up to the reader? The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis was my first and still my favorite exposure to the use of an allegory to tell a story.
- Coming of age – This trope borders on overdone but when done well, it can open a reader’s eyes to a new culture, religion or struggle. There There by Tommy Orange and A Place for Us are both excellent examples that take the reader beyond an angsty teen experiencing the usual unfairness of life.
- Books about writing books – I love a good tortured author. This trope can take you so many different directions. The Nix is one of my favorite examples of an unraveling author.
- The orphan – Another trope almost overdone but because it’s timeless, it will always be one of my favorites. A Little Life, The Goldfinch, and The Heart’s Invisible Furies are all fantastic examples.
- Second chances – Character transformation is important to me because it typically equals well-developed characters. Good examples include: City of Girls, The Friends We Keep, and Evvie Drake Starts Over.
- The female villian – Done well, it’s a twist that is hard to forget. Behind Her Eyes is a great example.
- Irony – When written around current events, this one can be subjective and tricky. But if done well, it can present the other side in way that the reader may not be able arrive at on their own. Afternoon of a Faun by James Lasdun was a recent read for me and confirmed my theory – good irony will make you cringe.
- The marginialized – When done respectfully, this story will become equal parts education and a slap in the face. I am currently reading Speaking of Summer and highly recommend it for both the writing and a discussion we should all be having.
What is your favorite trope?