Writing Magazine

A load of old trope

Every genre has its tropes, and fantasy is no different. We’ve explored archetypes in these pages before, which refer much more to recurring characters and character types. Tropes are more general themes and motifs that occur within an area of fiction – they might be particular story beats, common concepts, even settings or locations. Rest assured that when you go delving, you’ll find any number of these out there – and it can be argued that these are what make a genre distinct. The tropes within romance, crime, literary fiction, SF, horror, western etc are liable to be very different, although there may sometimes be crossing-over points. Whatever genre you like, you will have seen them, and it’s possible that you either love them as they are or have maybe grown a little tired of them and are looking for something new.

This article is the first in an extended look at tropes within the fantastic genres – fantasy, horror and science-fiction – and how

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