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Popular Story Tropes That Will Never Die

They never really get old, do they? It doesn’t matter how many times we see them in movies and books, who plays the characters or where the story is set – a popular trope is popular for a reason. We don’t care if it’s been done a million times – the only thing that’s important is that you do it right! We love seeing our favourite story tropes play out across pages or screens, so here’s 5 popular tropes you probably already have a soft spot for:


1. Enemies to lovers – You definitely know this one. The story begins with two characters who are clearly enemies/rivals and have a strong dislike towards each other. Over the course of the plot, they appear to overcome the hatred they have for each other and climb over the obstacles that created an emotional and physical distance between them. As time passes, the two enemies eventually fall in love. You know what they say: There’s a thin line between love and hate, and we hate that we love this trope so much!


2. Unwilling heroes – They’re definitely going to save the day, only problem is that they clearly don’t want to! We’ve seen the chosen one, the character fated to save the world, protect the people and change everything for the better. The protagonist who is clearly the “good guy”, the only one who can stop the villain from their evil plan. However, our hero hates their power – all they want is to relax at home and go about their normal life, but the universe has other ideas. Kind of like John McClane – we all know he just wanted to spend Christmas with his family in Die Hard! Hilarious and heartwarming; by the end, our hero chooses the right path. We think.


3. And they were roommates – There’s a romantic in all of us, and we all adore a good-old-fashioned begrudging romance. You’re well aware of the type – the reader/audience knows that the characters are perfect for each other and should end up together in the end, but they don’t seem to come to this realisation by themselves. Funniest thing – they end up living together (Remember Chandler and Monica, or Ted and Robin?) and we get to watch as grumpy mornings slowly turn into endearing moments between two lovers.


4. Secret identity – Oh, the thrill of the mystery! We’re here for it. We read about the character acting in a suspicious manner, always seeming to disappear for hours at a time (We’re looking at you, Clark Kent!), having questionable answers to very basic questions about career paths, family, friends and identity. They always have some kind of dark past, too. Could they be a secret billionaire? A member of the mafia? A con artist? An undercover police officer? You’re going to have to keep reading to find out!


5. It’s a survival sitch – Stranded on a desert island, no food, no water and no warmth. Stuck in an elevator for hours with a ticking time bomb and a useless companion. In an escape room where failure means doom, gloom and death. The survival situation trope is usually filled with suspense, interesting obstacles and a diverse set of characters with different sets of skills. The new Jumanji made us want to be stuck in the jungle with them!

Sometimes, doing the same thing over and over again in books and movies is worth the experience, for writer and reader, as long as you put time and effort into ensuring that it’s not too cliché. Now there’s the trick.


If you’re thinking about using a popular trope in your next project, hit Room206 up


for ideas on how to make sure that your story is original!

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