Martyr | Tropes in Books

via Daily Prompt: Martyr

Sometimes people like tropes. And then, there are people who really, really hate tropes. But I think that the general consensus is that if a book is full of common tropes, they are less likely to enjoy. After all, what’s the point if you’re essentially reading something you’ve already read but with different characters, right?

The most hated tropes are probably Insta-love and Love Triangles. Personally, I don’t mind either as long as they make sense and push the story forward. I just recently (this summer) read a book that had the most obnoxious love triangle in the world. And personally, I think that it was the constant “Oh, maybe I’ll choose this guy” or “Never mind, I like this guy better” and then, “Wait-.”. You get it. It was obnoxious and that was literally the whole book.

How people define Insta-love varies. Some people think it’s when two people get into a relationship right off the bat. Other people say that it’s when two characters immediately fall in love. Either way, a lot of people dislike this trope. And it’s easy to understand why. It’s not realistic. Are there ways to make it work? Yes. Should you be cautious? Probably.

But what I really wanted to talk about was the Martyr-Complex. Which is, essentially, a character who feels like they have to die for what they believe in and there is no other way for them to achieve their goals. This oftentimes goes hand-in-hand with a Death Wish. Both of these are character tropes that people have varying opinions on. On one hand, the martyr-complex can be endearing… on some characters. The death wish can be seen as a devil-may-care or daredevilish trait and then, on the other hand it can be a character who, for no reason, except for the fact that the author writes them to do so, do impulsive–quite frankly crazy–things. Do you see the difference there?

With the martyr-complex, you have to find a healthy middle-ground. With the death wish you have to make sure that you’re writing it completely right for the characters and that they’re not just doing some random things because you think it’d be cool.

Essentially, what I’m trying to say is that tropes aren’t bad things. In fact, some of my favorite books of all time are full of tropes. But it really, really depends on how you write the tropes. With Insta-love, maybe you should show the downsides to getting into a relationship with someone you barely know and how it can be tough. With a love triangle, make it so that it’s not obnoxious and that the whole story doesn’t revolve around “Who should I choose?”. In fact, that shouldn’t even be a prevalent theme. If anything, it should be a sub-plot. Really, it just depends on how you’re writing things. Write it just the right way and who knows? Maybe the “trope-iness” won’t be so bad; maybe it’ll even be a good thing!

What are some of your least favorite tropes?


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