It’s the end of a month again and that means we’re having another tea party! Grab your favorite beverage and snacks, have a seat, and talk about genres and tropes with us!
What are your favorite genres to read and write?
My favorite genre to write is probably fantasy. I love being able to create worlds and rules for that world. (Control issues maybe?) Magic is so fun to write once I’ve figured out how it works. I have CatCS, which is more of a “fantasy world smashed into our world.” I love writing high fantasy and reading fantasy. I also really love historical fiction. That genre is a little more dangerous because there’s a fine line between “wow, that’s an interesting take” and “IT’S TOO HISTORICALLY INACCURATE.” Lately, I’ve been reading (and also writing) more romance. I love tropey things but throw in some POC/LGBTQ+ representation and I will consume that book so fast!
I really like horror in general, obviously! I’m learning more and more that I like reading and writing hard sci-fi. This feels like a lesson I’m constantly learning. I also just like things with mystery and thriller vibes. I really enjoy writing the drama and the emotional scenes, but I think sometimes it’s tricky to pull off.
I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to certain things, but aside from that, I love to read just about all genres of fiction! My top four (in no particular order) are probably sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and romance. I tend to write in that same vein, too, although, I don’t think my romance writing is as strong as the others. Still, I love that I’m getting some practice in while I write The Faery Bargain!
Is there a genre you love to read but would never write? Or vice versa?
I wouldn’t say there’s a genre that I would never write because part of the fun of writing is not limiting yourself. There are some genres I think I couldn’t write well currently, like horror (luckily we have Pineapple the pro for those stories), but that doesn’t mean I won’t try writing it in the future. I think there’s more of a type of story I wouldn’t want to write. I know my limitations in experience, so there are certain characters I couldn’t make MCs of and do them justice. But also, I think there are already too many authors trying to be ‘woke’ and write characters with a background they don’t have experience in, which silences the authentic voices of that community. (Men who keep writing about women characters who are always noticing the bounce in their breasts, I’m looking at you.)
Sometimes I like reading a fluffy romance but when I’m writing, romance is almost always a subplot. Every once in a while, I enjoy a good middle grade book, but I don’t think I could ever write one. Young adult, sure, but middle grade might be a bit too young for the subject matter I want to write.
In general, I believe you need to read what you want to write. That being said, I want to write a western story at some point, and I therefore have a list of Western-genre books and movies on a to-read and to-watch list but I keep putting it off.
Okay, so, I can write sad stuff no problem, but reading it leaves me in my feelings. I usually read for the escapism, so if a story seems like it isn’t going to end in happily ever after, I’m a bit less likely to pick it up. On the other hand, historical fiction can be a lot of fun for me to read, but I get so stuck in the research phase and the accuracy of it all while I’m writing it that it’s hard for me to complete projects in that genre. That’s kind of what happened with my old JAAM project before I switched to The Faery Bargain. But you never know; maybe I’ll go back to it someday.
What are your favorite tropes to see? Are they different from the ones that you like to write?
OMG if it’s not obvious, I’m a sucker for tropes. I’m pretty sure Tied to You is like 90% trope because it’s my comfort project. I love a lot of romance tropes when done right. Enemies to lovers only applies when the characters are respectful. Sis can end up with an assassin she fights a lot in the beginning, but if he’s a misogynist then just get out of there, hon. Best friends to lovers is also top tier. Add in some found family, and congratulations on making the greatest story ever. I also really love the “I’m never doing X and that’s final” immediately cutting to characters doing X, but I think that’s a harder one to do in my writing. One day…
That said, most of Hollywood’s tropes surrounding LGBTQ+ need to go. Please stop burying the gays, having the violent mean jock in the closet, and having a gay best friend who supports MC with a few “yas, queen”s and gets zero development.
I love seeing a plot where a team gets broken up and has to team up with others, just to see something fresh and a new dynamic. Bonus points if it was a forced break up and they’re crawling their way back to each other. Extra bonus points if jealousy. Basically every plot about best friends to lovers? Or like, best friend sacrificing themselves for the other? I live for that.
We also love a costume change. Gold star if it’s the hero/ine at a fancy party and has to fight in heels and a dress or a tux.
If given the opportunity, and if the story allows without it being too cliche, I like to write a tropey scene every once in a while. Sometimes it’s fun to be sappy and write that romance trope you keep reading over and over again!
Found family, found family, found family! I love to see it; I love to write it; I will gush about my favorite fictional families to anyone who will listen. I’m sure Raspberry and Pineapple could name at least ten of them right now—I talk about them that much. It’s probably my favorite trope of all time. This next one might be more of a ship dynamic than a trope, but battle couples make me so happy, too—especially when there’s banter. I shouldn’t get into ship dynamics, though, or this answer will get way too long.
How do you feel about subverting tropes?
Okay, so as much as I love tropes, I love subverting them. If you do it right. It doesn’t count if you throw a curveball at the very last moment. That’s just a betrayal of my trust as a reader. I know I’m not good at that, so I haven’t really tried writing it yet. I think it’d be really fun to try doing that with an LGBTQ+ twist, especially in a romance story. If anyone has any recs about good subverted trope stories, let me know!
Oh, I LOVE subverting tropes if it’s done well. Watching The Cabin in the Woods was such a delight for me as a horror fan and a writer. It’s like taking a trope and asking “why is it like this, why is it popular, why does it have to be like this?” It’s great and it’s clever. I’ve seen things about fractured fairy tales that create spaces for minorities in traditionally white narratives. It’s great how things can completely change the scope of a story by just twisting the trope a little bit.
I love it! Especially when it’s a trope that normally leads to drama or sadness in a story, but everything works out instead. I always feel so relieved! (Forgive me, angst fans! I am weak!) In general, though, I think subverting tropes is a great way to keep readers on their toes without throwing them for a loop. It’s like eating a box of chocolate without looking at the paper that tells you what types there are. You mostly know what to expect—chocolate—but the inside is a surprise.
Are there any tropes we need to talk about? Do you have OPINIONS about the newest book you read or show you watched that you need to get off your chest? Find us in twitter @jaamwriting or let us know in the comments!