I am YA author B A Binns , writer of contemporary and realistic fiction for teens. My tagline says it all - Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men - and the people who love them. This month I join the other Genre-Istas in talking about romance tropes.
Last month I conducted a class for writer's seeking to add the Spice of Diversity to their writing. One of the big lessons was on problem tropes. Of course, there is always the Too Stupid To Live blonde, or the Red-head who Just Isn't Like The Other Girls. The ones most romance writer's know to keep away from. If they don't know it, their readers, or lack of readers, will clue them in fast.
Our class looked at a few others that sometimes creep in when writers try to add characters that aren't like themselves. The results of these tropes can be stereotypical characters that may be considered caricatures of a group.
It's one of the reasons I'm looking forward to Selfie. Instead of your typical Asian Nerd Who Can't Get A Girl trope, this new romantic comedy will follow the trope embodied by My Fair Lady where a girl who wants to belong (via social media) engages the help of an expert (marketing guru) and the interracial couple end up falling for each other. So far it looks smart, it looks sexy, romantic, and oh, so funny.
There's nothing wrong with tropes. They make a wonderful background to use when taking readers (or viewers) along for a ride. No matter what trope you use, it's only as good as the writing. When we writers use them, we need to stay alert. Use all tropes wisely and remember to jazz up that trope up for the modern world and modern reader. Then we succeed in both pleasing our current audiences AND bringing in new ones.