Updated: Sep 2, 2022
Welcome to Trope Challenge 2019!
My name is Emily; I’m the Director of Education for the Writer’s Workout, and I will be your plucky guide, your wise teacher, and (occasionally) your dreaded dungeon master as we traverse the wonderful world of tropes! (Would it be too much to say we will “traipse through tropes”?)
Oh, we’re gonna have fun, people.
But before I begin, we need to know: what is a “trope”?
I suppose, in order to figure out what a “trope” is, we need to first identify what a “genre” is, since all genres have specific tropes. A genre is essentially just a fancy name for a category. All literature falls into a specific category based on literary technique, tone, content, length, and tropes. However, these genre categories can blend together--like sci-fi/fantasy, or supernatural horror, or even gritty noir mystery. Keeping this in mind, we can see that a “trope” is a literary device that helps to define a genre; sometimes tropes are overused to such a degree that they border on stereotype, but even cliches can be tropes if utilized correctly. Many tropes can be used in many different genres, but there are still some that are specific enough to clue the reader into the fact that they are reading one genre rather than another.
Still confused? Think of it this way: “Enemies Become Friends” is a pretty common trope. It’s vague enough that you can use it in multiple genres, from YA, to Horror, to Mystery, to Romance, etc. But “Friends Become Lovers” is a trope that narrows the focus a bit. You could typically find this in Romance or YA, but it would be harder to fit this into another genre. “Lovers Become Serial Killers” is so weirdly specific, that it can only fit one genre. It’s a bit like a puzzle piece; it simply wouldn’t fit anywhere else.
So...why the Trope Challenge? We at the Writer’s Workout seek to help writers of all backgrounds and experience levels be better writers overall and will create prompts and contests to hone writing skills and provide a challenge for our authors. But above all...we just want to make writing--and learning--fun. It’s literally that simple.
In addition, we know that writers usually have a specific genre or genres that they tend to stick with. The Trope Challenge gives you a chance to break out of your comfort zone and try something new...and perhaps find out that these genres aren’t as terribly difficult as you may have thought. Anyway, the challenge runs seven days--more than twice what you have in The 500 or the Writer’s Games--so you can play with your work!
So, without further ado...let’s begin.
*Cue my evil laughter here*
For January, we want to focus on Goals. We are just starting to play with genre and trope so this month, we’re exploring common tropes that can easily cross genre lines. Therefore, January’s challenge is: just kidding, it starts this weekend. Good luck!
About the author: Emily is currently pursuing a degree in Writing. She lives in Michigan with her husband and three small children. In those rare moments where she is not writing, she can be found taking pictures of her family, going on adventures around the state, knitting, or reading with a hot cup of coffee in hand. She has recently embarked on a quest to read some of the greatest literature known to man. Emily has just finished Infinite Jest, and realizes that her TBR pile is now much larger than she would like to admit.