Themes and tropes

Man Reading Book and Sitting on Bookshelf in LibraryWhat do you think of themes and tropes? As someone who spent the better part of her childhood distancing herself from assumptions and judgments, to me they smacked of prejudice. In college, I successfully ignored them; meanings and implications arose in my prof’s head, elevating my third-rate term paper to an A on the unlikely merit of too few words.

Now that I’m trying, my writing has suffered. Clumsy, thumb-fingered attempts to inject good trumps evil and smart uncles keep a close eye on naïve nieces wink back from the page at me in tacky neon; forcing meaning into my story has killed the leavening, reducing 3-D adventures into a cautionary fable told by a well-meaning Aunt.

So I’ve rifled through my manuscript snagging pithy comments and hard-won paragraphs and shooting the delete key, clearing implications and leaving the readers to infer meaning for themselves.

Until today. I’ve been struggling (as with an 840lb bear, not a jar of pickles). My story is stalled and all I get when I pump the gas is an ominous series of clicks. But this morning dawned to reveal a trope that applied to my main character as well as the first guy you see in the story, whom I only created for colorful background.

They’re both the struggling kids of outrageously successful, notorious parents. Subtle tweaking will reveal parallels. I can’t wait to tackle the story again - let’s see if it works!

Maybe I need to draw and integrate characters into the story before I look for patterns. Is seek and destroy a legitimate way (for a newbie) to write?

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