10 Common Tropes in My Writing

8:00 AM

For today's post, I decided to be truly spontaneous. I know that I really should be working on the several million draft posts that are hanging around, but I haven't done a "real" post about my writing in such a long time. And I believe it has been even longer since I did a "list" sort of post - and I have missed doing them tremendously!

So when I saw a few posts dealing with common tropes, my curiosity monster got the better of me. I spent a few hours combing though my WIPs to see what my own author trademarks were. Hours that probably should have been devoted to putting my room to rights, but too late now...

Anyway, my 10 common tropes are:

1. Catholicism

I cannot deny, my Faith is interwoven into my very being. Therefore, it's impossible for me to subtract it from anything that I create. That, and there are not enough stories that are based around faithful Catholics, in my opinion.

In all of my stories, there is some element of Catholicism. My historical and contemporary works feature Catholic characters. My historical fictions feature some elements of Church history. Verden's religion has it's basis in Catholic doctrines and rituals. Ancora Spei is about a futuristic Catholic society.

The hardest part for me is trying to keep it subtle. I'm too intense of a person for my own good sometimes. Which leads me to my next trope.....

2. At Least One Intense Female Character

By intense, I mean like almost a shieldmaiden-like character. One that is passionate, has interest in weaponry or outdoors, one who has lots of inner strength, a sassy streak, and maybe a bit of a temper.

A character like....Danielle du Barbarac from Ever After.

Unfortunately, I think this stems from that old rookie writer's habit of basing characters off of one's self. While I've been trying to make each of these characters unique in their own way, I fear that a lot of them are repeats of each other.

3. Unusual names


I admit, I spend wayyyyy too much time naming characters and scanning BehindTheName.com. Part of it is because I really like names. Part of it is that there are so many cool names out there, that it would be a crime NOT to use them. And, I think having an unusual name makes the character stand out a bit more, don't you?

4. Banter between Characters - Bordering on Sarcastic

I should reveal that my muse has a thorough sense of humor. Every third daydream or so (and believe me, I get at least 20 of them every day), there is some element of humor in it. They can range from slapstick craziness to one-line zingers.

I love a good zinger, actually. So I guess it shouldn't surprise me that there is no work that without at least some sarcasm in it....

5. At Least One Romantic Storyline

*sigh* I tell you, I'm a hopeless romantic. I have romantic plotlines that take center stage (i.e. The White Rose, Shattered Chandelier, Rose of Culmore, Plain and Simple Truth), to subplots (Fair Winds, Hidden Seeds), to small romantic snippets (Ancora Spei) to the barest hints (From the Cave) 

Is there any way that I can keep romance out of my stories??? Probably not. I promise that all will be clean though!

6. At Least One Chivalrous Male Character

Isn't this the reason why we girls read books? To meet several charming princes that we wished existed in real life?

Well, I'm happy to oblige and give several of my male characters to be stuff of a girl's fancy.

7. Anne-esque scrapes

By that, I mean the crazy, everyday shenanigans that could happen to anyone. There are so many opportunities for humor in those scenes, and I enjoy them the most when I'm writing. There are times when I have to stop typing in order to let the giggles out :)

8. Absent/Adoptive Mothers

I'm not totally sure why I seem to be following the Disney syndrome - it certainly was not my intention as a writer. I cannot deny that there is a pattern though - for several WIPs, a mother will be mentioned and will simply drop out of the picture. Maybe this is because most of my MCs are young adults and have spread their wings.

I do counter this by having a supportive female friend or another mother come into the character's lives. Upon reflection, it's kind of a subtle way to show how spiritual motherhood really works. All women are called to it, whether they end up being physical mothers or not. 

9. Friendships

Looking back through my WIPs, I suddenly realized that almost all of my MCs have best friends. In fact, I seem to have more fun with the friends scenes than I do with the story....because I have a lot of friends scenes and almost no plot scenes.

I must be getting too lonely in my cave....LOL.

10. Sibling Relationships

Nearly all of my characters have siblings. Each character has a different relationship with each of their siblings - ranging from pleasant, to annoying, to BFFs and mortal enemies. It's really fun to play with those relationships - probably because I have several siblings of my own that I can draw from.

And that's it! What "tropes" do you find in your own writing? Who else laughs at little everyday things? Any cures for this hopeless romantic to try? Feel free to drop a comment below! 

Scribbingly yours,


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  1. J+M+J
    Hmm, lets see....
    All my stories seem to entail some great disaster, mission, or journey... (I can't seem to make one in which the characters are normal people living in one place... ugh!)
    All of my stories seem to have some kind of Captain-ish character or leader who is too good for a real person.
    I have a slight obsession with killing off most of a character's family... and I noticed (with shame) that in one book in particular ALL the main characters are orphans, or close to being orphaned. (It's a REALLY bad habit quite honestly....)
    And yes, I completely agree with you on the name thing... most my characters have some strange name or other, except maybe the ones in The Last Letter.

    And nope, I have no advice how to fix the romance problem, sorry... I personally don't struggle with it that much. In fact, as might be expected, I struggle more making calm places to describe/build characters where it isn't all just adventure!

    The Doorman.

  2. Friendships is the best trope to have in one's writing, so sweet! <33

  3. Aahhhh these are all so great! This kind of post is so fun, I'm glad you decided to be spontaneous instead of responsible, ha. :)

    "Anne-esque scrapes" is golden. As is banter... Laughter is just so darn crucial, it makes me very happy when writers prioritize it!

    And YES indeed. Chivalrous male heroes is the primary reason we young women read fiction. There is much truth to that statement, much indeed. *sage nod*

    As for advice for a hopeless romantic: keep on keepin' on, we need good clean romance!!

  4. I love the spontaneous posts. :)

    Haha! This is so great!! I can definitely relate to writing characters that are just like me and #6. *coughcough*

    1. I agree with you there!

      I have decided to add to you pile of tags. Only do it if you want to!

  5. Haha! I've wanted to do a post like this, and you beat me to it!

    Siblings relationships are the best, though. We need more good ones in fiction!

  6. Banter is one of mine too! It's gotta have banter.

  7. (Sorry about not commenting here for so long, but finally I am commenting here again)
    These are all so very awesome tropes, Catherine. :) The unusal names one is also a thing I tend to do in my stories. ;) I never have a character with a simple name like John or Beth. It's usually a very complex name that I found or made up. XD


    1. Thank goodness, I'm glad I am not the only one.



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