April 1, 2015 by KWills
As I said yesterday, tropes are not bad. However, they do create a level of reader expectation, to the point where a savvy reader can often tell where your story is going. So how do you keep the reader interested? Why not throw in a clever twist? Appear to be following the trope, then… WHAM! Trope averted!
And this can be very effective, especially in stories where suspense is key. However, unless you have genre-savvy characters, you will have to be careful to build a logical, in-story reason for averting the trope. Doing it just to be different is not enough, it has to fit the story.
The same principle applies to inverting or subverting tropes. Basically, all -versions should be handled with care. Done right, they can enhance the story wonderfully; done wrong, they break the narrative completely with a cry of, “Look at this writer being so clever!”
Ironically, an overused trope aversion becomes a trope in its own right – sometimes even a cliché. However, that’s a topic for another day.