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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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?

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!

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.

Water Dog

This is the last creature of the Americas we are going to dive into. After this one, we will only have four mythological creatures left, all located in Oceania! Gah! Feels like just yesterday we were diving into the world of mythology.

What should we cover next?!


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Ahuizoti | Mexico

Aquatic canine creature with a tail-hand.

  • The fur on this hound clumps together to create spikes. Its hands are capable of manipulation, similar to humanoids.
  • It likes humans, particularly nails, eyes and teeth. Shield yourself!
  • You’ll find this creature near water. Any bodies of water. Caves near water. All of the above. As long as it’s near water.
  • If prey is spotted, it’ll use its unique tail to swipe them up and drown them.
  • Whoever is taken, their sacrificed to the rain god, supposedly.

The Jungle Dwarf

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Curupira Brazil

Jungle genie with bright red hair and backwards feet.

  • Curupira is a blend of West African and European fairies, and was once considered a demon.
  • The name comes from the Tupi language, which translates to covered in blisters.
  • You’ll be able to spot this creature from a mile away. He has bright red/orange hair, usually resembles a man or dwarf, and has feet turned backward.
  • How can this little guy be threatening? He creates illusions and produces sounds to drive their victim to go crazy.
  • Don’t worry…they only go after poachers and hunters; those who take from the jungle they live in.

La Chupacabra

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Chupacabra Puerto Rico

Bear-sized, spiky creature that drinks livestock blood.

  • Breaking down the word, chupacabra can be translated to “goat-sucker” (chupar means ‘to suck’ while cabra means ‘goat’.)
  • It’s primarily found in Puerto Rico but it’s been reportedly seen as far north as Maine, and as far south as Chile. Occasionally, you’ll hear of the creature popping up in Europe.
  • The chupacabra’s first reported attack happened in 1995. This myth is still very young!
  • Appearance varies on the place; it can be the size of a small bear, can have scales (making it more reptilian), a sharp spine, or may have quills. But guess what? It’s only supposedly 3 feet tall (can be up to four feet) and hops like a kangaroo. It’s sometimes described like a dog.
  • They’re motive is similar to a vampire; their victims are always found drained of blood – not slaughtered.

Out Of Control

Relinquishing creative control can feel like the end of the world. One cannot simply do everything and have a successful book launch.

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  • Let your editor edit. You’re paying them to do so. Give them space. Let them work. And if they don’t meet their deadline, let ’em have it. All hell will break loose. Be easy on your editor who’s focusing on the substantive editing. They need to pick apart your story and ask questions. Don’t flip out on them. Take a chill pill.
  • Unless you’re designing your own cover, you’ll also need to take a step back and tell yourself: “I’m not the expert.” Give the designer what they need, info-wise. Maybe a little more. Be realistic in your feedback and don’t get irrationally angry if they don’t follow your original request. They may have a marketing tactic or two behind their reasons why. Just ask.
  • If you’ve hired PR to help with your marketing, then you need to lay out your terms and conditions to a degree. Once again, you’re paying this person to do a job for you. They’re the expert. Not you! They will treat your upcoming work with TLC and sketch out a marketing plan tailored to a genre and audience. If they don’t, something isn’t being done right. Ensue virtual yelling.

Think of this time away from your work as a vacation. Go to the beach, go for a hike. Drink a nice, cold pina colada. And when you’re notified from any of the people you’ve hired about your book…

Panic.

The Cannibal Monster

This is one of the last two areas of the world we are traveling too. So, let’s venture into the deep woods of the Americas to start the beginning of the final countdown!


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WendigoAlgonquian Tribes

Cannibalistic beastly humanoid, possibly once human.

  • This creature is aligned with murder, insatiable, and cultural taboos against “normal” behavior. They’re also associated with the winter, the north, coldness, famine, and starvation.
  • The Wendigo is bigger than a human, and whenever it feeds on human flesh, it grows! It never gains weight and will always appear thin. They’re always hungry so watch out!!
  • There’s also an explanation as to why they may have been human once before turning into the Wendigo. When they were human, they may have been incredibly greedy. Or if the human was in contact with Wendigos for too long, they would become one.
  • Powers include: mimicking human voices, possession, controlling weather, manipulation of darkness (sunset), control of forest creatures, healing, and incredible strength and speed.
  • Believe it or not, there is a psychological disorder called the Wendigo Psychosis. People diagnosed crave human flesh even though they have access to normal food sources.

The One, The Only: Sphinx

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Androsphinx Egypt

Living statue with a lion body and human head, tells riddles.

  • Although labeled from Egypt, the sphinx as a whole can be found in many other countries, one being Greece. Since we’re so accustomed to the Great Sphinx of Giza, we tend to forget there are others out there.
  • This particular interpretation is symbolized as the incarnation of the Sun God, Ra.
  • More commonly seen with a lion’s body, it can be found to have a ram or even a hawk’s head. They each have different names and different origin tales!
  • The sphinx is seen as the protector of the land it watches. The body of the sphinx never changes but each head resembles that of what it protects. So, the androsphinx, compared to that of a Pharaoh…watched over the people.
  • Depending on where you are or which one you’re researching, the sphinx can be seen as a monster or keeper of knowledge. You choose which interpretation you decide to pursue