What is a Trope?
In literature, a trope is a theme that recurs across a genre, like the ‘mad scientist’ of horror movies or ‘once upon a time’ as an introduction to fairy tales. It’s similar to archetypes and clichés, although not necessarily negative in aspect. Tropes are often considered shorthand by writers. Readers expect heroes or villains to react in certain ways. Writers can alter those expectations by having the characters act in different manners, or by give the characteristics of a hero to the villain, and vice versa. There are thousands of tropes.
Here’s how Heady Velvet fits within the tropes on this chart. We’ll read the elements in the molecule below from top to bottom. I’ll explain each item and show you how it fits within the tale, without giving away the ending. You can click the element name to visit the page for that trope on the TV Tropes site.
Introducing the Tropes of Heady Velvet
Series – The Club
Date Published: July 15, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Alice Plume is a carefree spirit. She doesn’t get worked up about much—how could she when her son-in-law owns a secret sex club?
While she’s fine with the fact that her daughter lives a life surrounded by kink, she’s never had any desire to venture further into the lifestyle—or even the club itself—other than catering a party or two. But then, she meets Knoll Seaton.
Knoll is the sexy personification of the silver fox—a real estate mogul with a voice that makes her insides melt, and touch that makes her want to beg. He’s also very much into the club lifestyle.
Alice isn’t sure that she can change her perception of sex to meet Knoll halfway…but Knoll isn’t one to walk away from something he wants. And he wants Alice.
The journey of two characters from strangers to lovers.
One of the perennial herbs and spices in the cauldron of storytelling old and new. It’s been around a while, it’s a major driving force of fiction and it’s not going anywhere. A surefire crowd pleaser; probably the only way to really, really screw it up is to overdo it. Induces emotional stakes in an audience like nothing else.
My two main characters are on a journey to be together. Alice and Knoll are older, and both very sure of what they enjoy in life, and want in a partner. They have to meet in the middle because they both have different views when it comes to their sexuality.
The setting, the geography, etc. should somewhat resemble the viewer’s. The newspapers will have the same headlines, the cities will look the same on the surface, etc. But… hidden below it all, what’s really going on is far different. This trope is a tool of the writers to engage Willing Suspension of Disbelief and ensure Plausible Deniability.
I kind of stretched this one just a bit.
The sex club looks like a regular restaurant. There are also encounters Alice has with people in town that are members, but live different lives outside the club. The club is exclusive and private. All members and the people who work there must sign NDAs.
When you think about it, the vast majority of things we do in our everyday life are incredibly boring. Sports games? A bunch of people throw a ball around. Lunch? You put food in your mouth and chew it. Talk about dull.
In the world of fiction, however, this kind of mundanity simply will not do (unless you’re such a good writer that you can pull it off). This is especially noticeable when plot-relevant events of huge import are going on! Looks like we need some editing work from Doctor Fabulous if this is gonna get anywhere. To an otherwise mundane scene, we will thus add
- Gripping orchestral music (bonus points for ominous Latin chanting)
- Dramatic lighting
- Repeat cuts abound
- Extreme close-ups
- Exaggerated expressions and gestures
- Excessive intonation in speech
- Slow motion, often Slow Motion Drop or Slow Motion Fall
…And all of a sudden, we’ve got something exciting. Well, in theory anyway. Simply by reading this page, you’ve made it substantially more obvious to yourself when the film editor is just using these disclaimers to screw with your emotions, and indeed, overuse of these tone-changers will be obvious to nearly anyone. Of course, effective use of this trope will blind the viewer with sheer awesome to the point that they won’t notice.
Alice is basically a food taster, but the amazing chef and the company of the sexy Knoll make eating less than mundane.
Plucky means ‘brave and optimistic’.
You might be able to pile life complications onto this young woman/girl, to the point where the audience would forgive her if she just refused to go on. She might even have an episode or so where she does throw in the towel, because human beings can only take so much of what the universe is handing out for her. But the Plucky Girl always comes back. That’s the bravery part.
Alice is a free spirit and brave to have her own business and raise a daughter alone.
People change; it’s a fact of life if not nature. However, change can be gradual, and people may keep the core of their character intact for much if not all of their life, just as a traumatic experience may well abruptly change someone completely. Characters reflect that. When a character finishes a story with a different outlook or personality than when they started, they are called a Dynamic Character. It doesn’t matter whether they had a Deep and Nuanced personality or started life as a cardboard cutout, the character changes in either a subtle or overt way.
Knoll changes through the story softening to Alice and willing to change the way he lives for her.
Excerpt from Heady Velvet
Alice arrived precisely on time Thursday morning and Abigail showed her to the table she’d shared with Tally yesterday. Only instead of Tally, seated across from her was one Knoll Seaton. He was just as handsome as he had been the day before and just as smartly dressed. She was glad she was wearing a simple yellow dress that was comfortable but didn’t make her stand out like a sore thumb next to him.
“Where’s Tally?” Alice wasn’t unhappy to see him, but surprised he was sitting at her tasting table.
“She thought I could watch your reactions to the food today. There was a client she had to tend to and I graciously offered to sit in her place.”
“You just want to eat the delicious food.” She teased.
“I could watch that wonderful mouth of yours and listen to the sounds you make all day without taking a bite.”
She blushed and was surprised she had been able to make such an impression on him in one short day of conversation. Not knowing what to say, she stumbled over her words a bit.
“Well, he makes way too much for just me, and I like to watch people enjoy food just as much. That’s especially true when I like the company.” Oh man, she was flirting, wasn’t she? This was not something she did. Tally set her up. She knew it when she saw her trying to be nonchalant behind the bar. Client my ass.
Author Bio and Links
Emily Walker loves creating worlds and stumbling around in them. She is constantly losing her chap-stick, and has an obsession with the color pink. Currently a resident of the mountains and loving the view she writes mostly paranormal fiction, and horror. Her small family consists of her red bearded other half, a rat terrier named Rebel, and a cat called Mr. Creepy.
You can find all of her work here – http://www.authoremilywalker.com
Facebook Fan Page – http://www.facebook.com/emilywalkerfans
Review Site http://www.reviewsfrombeyondthebook.blogspot.com