Troping Around with Romance

Here in the office, we live and breathe romance. It’s not our only focus but it’s one of the more popular ones we work with. And romance is woven into most, if not all, stories in some way, shape, or form.

Today, we want to highlight some tropes in romance. Some common, some not.

Do you have a favorite trope?


 

  • Redemption

    One character has wronged another. This can include wronging not just another character but something else (ex. a group of individuals, a law, etc.) This character must redeem themselves in the story…or try to. Will it succeed? That’s up to you, the writer!
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  • Forbidden Love

    Obstacles such as culture, family, social class or friendships keep the pairing apart. But nothing ever does keep two true lovers apart! The real question becomes: does it end on a good note? Do we smell an HEA or a tear-jerker?

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  • Amnesia

    A near-tragic event forces one character to forget their past and who they are. Don’t forget to research the type of head injury and amnesia you want your character to cope with to avoid generalizing your story. The story itself revolves around how they move forward and adapt to their “new” life. Will they remember who they were? Or…not?
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  • Secret/Lost Heir

    One of the two main characters is heir to a fortune. If they know about it or not is entirely up to you.
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  • Orphan

    Someone is an orphan. The situation matters, too. Did they grow up in the foster system? Or did the parents pass and distant family take them in? It all affects the story and how it unfolds!

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Not Your Average Bee Hive

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Nest Of Bees

  • This was a rocket battery used by the early Chinese Ming Warrior, warriors in existence during the Ming Dynasty (1368).
  • It’s a long range weapon. It cast 32 arrows in one shot, which were tipped with rockets. The arrow tips themselves were tipped in poison or something flammable – to increase enemy kills. They traveled up to 5 football fields away.
  • The nest itself was a hexagonal tube, equipped with a shoulder strap so warriors wore them like backpacks. It protected them from flying debris.
  • If this weapon sounds familiar, that’s because as time continued on…the nest of bees evolved into rockets/missiles of our modern era – which continue to evolve as we speak.

Breaking Down Sci-Fi

Note: Although we are focusing primarily on the genre of science fiction, most, if not all, points mentioned in this post can be applied to other genres in writing!


  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
  • Octavia Butler
  • George Orwell

These are only a few names known in the realm of science fiction (sci-fi from here on out.) Our own worlds have broadened because someone took the time to travel to the futuristic unknown rather than entering a fantasy world. But what are some key components to writing sci-fi? Let’s get talking!

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Like any other creative writing project, planning and mapping out your story is crucial and necessarily before you dive into your tale. Not only for plot purposes but you always need to question: “how will this affect that?” You know, the usual. Depending on your sci-fi story, you’ll get the opportunity to create even further. For example, settings are new, language is different than what we know on our planet, races vary even more so than skin color…there are so many details to account for! We always recommend doing research into other novels within your genre range. Take it a step further and watch shows and movies. It’ll help further stimulate your creativity.

Something to help you indulge in your research is looking into scientific journals, new discoveries by labs or space teams, etc. This can influence your story in any way you want it to. Shaping your universe with new discoveries and current-world situations. Not only that but you’re expanding your own knowledge. what a way to kill two birds with one stone!

Our last point we’d like to highlight pertains to another question you can ask yourself. What if…? Utilizing the knowledge in the journals you find and articles you read, you can mix this with the creative details you’ve mapped out thus far. Apply your ‘what if’ question and add more depth to your story, add a new element, or a new plot line. Whatever the case may be, you’re adding something to the story by asking what if.

So what if…you start writing now?

Unique Weaponry

We’ve wrapped up our list of mythological creatures, but that doesn’t mean the Wednesday Wisdom is going to stop…

Instead, we’re taking on a new task: unique weaponry. It’s important to know the differences between your dirks and daggers, swords and scimitars. Even more so, about other styles of weapons used in battle…like this week. Let’s take you through history and inspire your fantasy, your historical plots…with what your characters should bring to the war table.


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Hellburners

The picture doesn’t show much, but if you look close enough, you can make out a dozen ships. Well, that’s exactly what a hellburner was: a ship. Not a regular ship with a cool name, though; a ship used to cause a massive explosion, similar to what we would consider a nuclear weapon of our time.

Essentially, they were disguised as fire ships – ships set aflame and were set to drift using wind and tide. These have existed since the Greeks implemented its use in battle…around 400 BC. Hellburners came afterward…much fartherHellburners were taken to the next level. They were set on fire, as mentioned to appear like fire ships, and were filled with gunpowder. Not just a few jugs. A massive amount of gunpowder. This is what would cause the destruction where there would be little to no survivors!

According to recorded history, hellburners were only used once. It was during the Siege of Antwerp in the 16th century. You read that right…16th century. In this situation, one of the hellburners had a mechanical timer which was set to run out and force the explosion once it was near the enemy. And it helped the users win the battle.

The main reason why this tactic was never used again was due to how much it cost to finance the hellburners. As it was mentioned earlier, a lot of gunpowder was used. Enough to protect an army or a full fleet. It was too much financially so this one explosion was the only one needed to make history.

Language 101

We can all agree: languages are fun to write, sometimes. Other times, they’re difficult to work with. There are a variety of languages, accents, dialects, and so on we have to keep track of while writing our dialogue. There is a way to write them effectively, so let’s talk about it!

The readers of this day and age don’t typically take a liking to phonetic spelling. It may not be the route to take if you want to build an audience. These readers may not want the challenge in reading non-standard English. The real downfall is how much time they’re going to spend deciphering what the characters are trying to say without diving into the deeper meaning.

Any language can relate…no one speaks their language the same way. This is where dialect plays a huge role into how language is spoken and can be portrayed in writing. When anyone learns a language in grade school, they aren’t learning the different dialects of the language…but one can learn through native speakers in certain areas. Depending on region and ethnicity, everyone speaks differently. Utilizing modern language with minor change to the dialect and phonetic spelling here and there will improve the quality of your story. This is only important if communication between your characters is a central point in your story. Most characters interact with others – but sometimes the language in which they speak…speaks volumes for the story.

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Some important bits to remember when writing in other languages or dialects are diction, syntax, and idioms. All of these key components help the conversations between your characters become unique to them. Even if things sound strange to you, it may be best to detach your experiences from that of your characters speech.

Always remember: you want your characters to come off as unique through dialogue, especially if you want your reader to be able to distinguish who’s speaking. We also want less boring and more relatable characters so you have to find the perfect balance!

Last, But Not Least

We’ve loved sharing these mythological creatures and the outline of their legends/stories. We hope you’ve been just as inspired as us to create your own legend – inspired by these creatures or recreating their legend in your own retelling. In a way, we’ve traveled around the world and have explored so many countries and their legends.

If you have any other creatures we missed and you want to share, comment down below and let us know what your favorite myth is!


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Rainbow SerpentAustralia

Rainbow snake that represents the cycle of the seasons.

  • A creator god who is a common motif in Aboriginal Australia, one of the groups of indigenous peoples of Australia.
  • The representation of the rainbow and the serpents are that of human life and need for water.
  • Although the god is angelic in a way, they can easily turn into a destructive force.
  • Most legends describe the serpent as being male but others have labeled it as female or androgynous and bisexual. It has a link to fertility and its association to gender and sexuality show that!
  • This godly snake is worshiped through rituals, usually in relation to female menstruation.

Australia’s Monsoon Deliverer

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Wondjina Australia

Cloud and rain spirits that deliver monsoons.

  • These spirits created the landscape and humans living on it. Talk about a God.
  • They painted their image on cave walls and entered a waterhole once they’ve found a place to die.
  • While the appearance of the Wondjina spirits vary, due to how they’ve painted themselves, they are more commonly known to have large upper bodies and heads. They have eyes and a nose…but no mouth.
  • A missing mouth is sometimes attributed to the fact of how powerful they may be. If they spoke, rain would never stop!
  • Their control of the weather only occurs when someone breaks the law. They’ll bring floods, lightning, and cyclone.

The Head Hopper: Narration 101

We’ve talked about multiple POVs and the importance of treating them with love; each character is a distinct person who has a unique personality worth sharing with the world. We’ve talked about having too many characters and working on who to cut from the cast; we know so many authors who have created beautiful narratives with more than two characters as their MCs…but sometimes it’s not done well.

Taking things in a different direction but still referring to multiple POVs, characters, and consistency…let’s talk about your choice in writing style (if you’re taking the route we are going to be starting a conversation for.)

Being a head hopper is fun! As the writer, you get to explore different minds and see your plot unfold in your tale through the lens of diverse brains. Sometimes, you explore a single mind for one chapter, then switch to a new persona in the next. You can even write from a completely unbiased point of view…

Okay, you already know what we’re seguing into: your narrator.

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It’s crucial to keep your narrating style consistent. Flopping between third omniscient to subjective/limited to objective to first person…all because it makes sense in the moment of the scene? No. Our brains hurt simply thinking about that. It’s a heavy example but it’s worth mentioning the most extreme of cases to get your editing eye trained on your work and how you’re choosing to narrate.

The question then becomes: Am I doing this?

If you are, you should further ask yourself which POV/narrator comes off the strongest of all. Whichever one it is: choose it. Stick with it. Rewrites are a pain but the goal, if this pertains to you, is to get the work recognized as worth for publication, so it’s worth the extra time…and love!

We believe in you!

Creature in the Waves

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TaniwhaNew Zealand

Beings that reside among dangerous currents, may be guardians or predators.

  • They live in deep pools, hiding out in rivers, dark caves or, the deepest of all pools…the sea! They like being in dangerous currents or giant waves!
  • Good? Bad? Both? They’re considered kaitiaki, or protective guardians, of people and places in some legends. However, if told through other legends, they’re depicted as monsters who steal/kidnap women to marry.
  • Taniwha loosely translates to shark species of the Proto-Oceanic word, “tanifa.”
  • So, shark species means it probably looks like a fish of some sort, right? Right! Depending on the body of water. It’s beensaid there are some taniwha that appear to be alligators. There are a few legends which describe the taniwha as a log.
  • If someone comes across a taniwha, they might turn into one after they pass.

Creature with the Flute

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PatupaiareheNew Zealand

Deep forest or mountain spirits that play enchanting flute music.

  • They’re sometimes hostile humans. Don’t worry, they won’t…harm you…? They use their flute to lure women into their hands to assault them and murder them.
  • Although the description above describes their homes to be in the forest or mountain, they can also exist in large guarded communities.
  • There isn’t just one…there is a society, based off of kinship. They don’t allow intruders to join their ranks. If anyone lingers amongst them, they won’t be very kind.
  • The spirits are hunters and gatherers and only go out during the twilight hours.
  • For their physical appearance, they have fair skin and light/red hair. Their size…varies on the legend.