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Break the Tropes: Fantasy Edition

Back in April, I did a more general Break the Tropes post. This time around, I wanted to focus more on tropes that are found more in fantasy novels. Feel free to comment what you’d add to the list!

  • Instead of the Legendary Artifact being found safe and sound, have it be a dud.
  • You know that magical sword that will cleave through the darkness? Have it break on the first swing.
  • Have the wise old wizard be a laid-back young necromancer.
  • Heck, instead of having the necromancer be an intimidating character shrouded in darkness and death, have them use their powers to bring back to life their old pets.
  • Seriously, have the “Cat Lady” of the story be the “Cat Necromancer.”
  • Mistake who is actually the Long Lost Heir to the Throne.
  • Make the Chosen One actually be the antagonist of the story.
  • Make the elves buff instead of lean and limber. If they’re still in their natural forest habitat wielding bows, they should be some of the most muscular characters in the book. Climbing trees and using bows takes much more strength than swinging around a sword!
  • Imagine underground elves.
  • Imagine forest-dwelling or even seafaring dwarves. Get the bearded guys out of their caves and mines to see how they react.
  • Have the kingdom of the Dark Lord or Bad Guy be the place with the happiest citizens or the area of the land that gets the most sunlight.
  • Instead of having mages use elemental magic compatible with their personalities, give them magic that goes against their nature. Have the calmest mage use Fire abilities, making it difficult to stir up enough passion to start a flame, or the energetic Earth mage having a hard time settling down enough to persuade a plant to grow.
  • Those stories about characters being the Descendant One of a powerful, magical being that lived eons ago? Yeah, genetically speaking, there’s probably a good couple of dozen Descendant Ones now.
  • Let a princess rescue the prince.
  • Let a princess rescue the princess.
  • Or a prince rescue a prince.
  • Have the dragon rescue whoever is trapped in the tower.
  • Have the dragon be whoever was supposedly trapped in the tower after learning magic from the witch that had trapped them in the first place.
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3 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2017 in Home

 

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Miscommunication

You know what trope is not my favorite? Miscommunication.

To be fair, miscommunication usually gives way to conflict which in turn gives way to a story. Conflict is obviously needed for a story to happen, but I feel as if miscommunication is used far too often to help the conflict along.

Seeing opportunities in stories where the characters could solve so many problems by just talking to each other — rather than keeping quiet to “protect the others” or to “not burden anyone else” — just really bothers me.

Honestly, I’m probably guilty of this too, but I try to subvert the trope as well. Instead of having characters hide information for the good of the rest of the group, writers could have the forgetful characters have the information, or have the character always get interrupted when they’re trying to share the info. I’ve also had a character who just had different ways of prioritizing information and, thus, thought that the information didn’t need sharing.

What overused, or not, tropes do you dislike in stories? How do you avoid or twist them around?

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 7, 2017 in Home

 

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Break the Tropes

  • A healer in a fantasy world that doesn’t have a calming bedside manner, one who has no qualms about smashing his/her/their healing staff over an enemy’s heads.
  • A wise old mentor who has forgotten the last couple of lines of the ancient prophecy.
  • The hero who hears the prophecy and nopes the heck outta there instead of “embracing their destiny.”
  • The princess who decides she doesn’t want to be locked in a tower anymore and breaks out on her own, taming the dragon and riding it off to freedom.
  • Perhaps the princess enjoys the solitude and kicks her would-be hero out once he “invades.”
  • Have the redhead be calm and collected rather than have a personality described “as fiery as their hair.”
  • Let’s have buff nerds and jocks wearing glasses.
  • Small cheerful characters kicking the ass out of bullies.
  • Characters that are open about their romantic and sexual attractions, no matter what they are.
  • Rather than dragons hoarding gold, having small domestic dragons that breathe water to help grow gardens.
  • Teenagers focused more on passing their classes than being caught in a love triangle.
  • Teenagers prophesied to save the world focused more on actually saving the world than being caught in a love triangle.
  • Teenagers prophesied to save the world focused on finding capable adults to save the world, refusing to believe that they are the only hope the world has because they are only teenagers who are focused more on passing their classes.

What else can you add to the list?

 
8 Comments

Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Home

 

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Fantasy Cliches

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You know the story of the princess who gets locked in a tower, and the knight needs to slay a dragon to rescue her?

What if the dragon was the princess’s friend? What if the dragon was the princess herself? What if it’s the dragon that the knight needs to rescue?

What about the story of the young hero who is prophesied to save the world?

What if the prophesy got lost? What if the hero’s old, wise mentor wasn’t so old or so wise at all? What if the prophesy picked the villain as the world’s savior?

What of the tales of the nature-loving elves or the brooding and stubborn dwarves?

What if the elves lived in deserts rather than forests? What if dwarves were an aquatic race rather than cave-dwellers? What if elves weren’t nimble and immortal, and dwarves weren’t short and strong? What if elves fought with poison instead of arrows and dwarves with spears instead of axes?

What if these fantasy tropes and cliches were turned on their heads?

 
2 Comments

Posted by on January 11, 2017 in Home

 

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