Call me crazy but I love literary tropes. Most tropes are the common building blocks for certain genres in fiction, and in general, they work as trusty old standbys. A lot has been discussed about romance tropes and young-adult tropes, but what about fantasy?
Fantasy is a genre of seemingly limitless possibilities. I enjoy writing fantasy fiction because it allows me to stray outside of the box. Just recently, I attempted to pull off a young-adult romance — A Diamond In The Rough — which turned into a dark fantasy before my very eyes.
Fantasy, for me, is more enjoyable to write. I also enjoy reading fantasy both to familiarize myself with the genre I write and because I enjoy escaping into fantasy worlds. Having read so many fantasy novels for pleasure and review, I’ve picked up on a few cliches/tropes.
So what about those tropes?
The most common tropes I have seen in fantasy are the following:
The Chosen One
The protagonist’s destiny in the story is to save the world from something bad. They may have been born for this sole purpose — a prophecy. Or, they have chosen to take upon The Big Bad on their own. In young-adult novels, The Chosen One, is usually female.
The Secret Existence trope is common in urban fantasy novels where the humans, or whoever, cannot discover the protagonists true identity – or maybe they are a secret fairy/witch/alien and cannot be discovered at all because that would be very bad and maybe the humans would kill the fairy/witch/alien race, or *insert major crisis here if the true identity is discovered!*
Coming of Age Special Powers
Think Stephen King’s Firestarter, when little Charlie comes of a certain age and develops these amazing pyrokinetic abilities.
The protagonist is a Prince or Princess, or of some Royal blood, but doesn’t know it… yet. Or, they are an illegitimate child to a King and are kept hidden away for various reasons.
Good versus Evil
Where the ultimate personification of good battles the ultimate personification of evil.
Whether it’s a quest of self-realization, or a quest to locate a sword — most fantasy novels feature quests.
Whether it’s a witch/wizard/mage performing the magic, or if a talisman/amulet/book contains magic, you can bet to find a little magic in most fantasy novels.
What are your favorite fantasy novel tropes? Can you think of any to add to my list? Please leave your comments, below!