Plot Device: What the Heck is a Trope?

What is a Trope? 

A trope is a literary device to convey a simple set of rules that some authors follow when writing their story. For instance a romantic trope would be, “Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back”. This is a story line that states one of the rules for a romance story. Another word to substitute is a plot device, or a cliched way to get the story moving. If it is too unbelievable or obvious, it can ruin what a person believes or their enjoyment of the movie.

However, some tropes can be overused in today’s entertainment culture. For instance a popular trope is the “Superhero Science Fiction Trope.” Every movie that comes out lately is about superheroes and the plots look the same. Dystopian Environment Trope is also a popular plot device as shown by the Hunger Games and the Divergent Series. Chick Lit is another example of a trope where emotional and complicated relationships are on view.

Whatever is trending in pop culture influences what books, TV Shows, and Movies get made. Often what sells great in one movie seems like overkill in the next seven movies that Hollywood seems to think the public is hungering to see. Rarely does a continuation of trope work, for example the Harry Potter movies spawned a host of “wizard” content. Wizards of Waverly Place was one of the shows that spawned from Harry Potter. It used the “wizard trope” it was original and didn’t suffer from overkill.

Some examples of tropes that never get old are Anime and Kung-Fu.  Cultural stories, mythology, and historical references are stories/tropes that never go out of style. The tropes are significant, have symbolic meaning and doesn’t seem worn out. Some examples of Anime tropes include Cosplay Café, Karaoke Box, and Schoolgirl Series.

Tropes can be useful if the genre has a strict set of rules like Steampunk or Hard Science Fiction. Not using tropes here can be termed as cross genre stories and might cause a suspension of disbelief. A better scenario would be that the Crossed Genre Story would cause a new trope that is original and innovative.

-From the Mind of GiaTomcat

@redmipaw – Twitter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.