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As an avid reader, I have come across many different types of tropes that I have either absolutely loved or completely hated. In fiction, tropes are significant recurring themes/concepts within a storyline. They can be a plot device, a character role, etc. When a trope is executed poorly, that’s when it turns into a cliché and the story no longer holds the readers’ interest. Here is a list of my favorite tropes, that when used successfully, always capture my attention.

Grumpy + Sunshine

This is by far my favorite trope to read about or watch on tv. I don’t know why, but I just adore it! The concept of opposites attract never gets old. Usually, the grumpy one is a guy with a tough exterior who acts cold or sarcastic toward everyone but has a soft spot for the bubbly, sunshiney girl character. What’s even better is when the sunshine character seems entirely oblivious and unaffected by the grumpy guy’s standoffish attitude. I just love the idea of how there’s that one person with a totally opposite personality who can bring out a different side of the grumpy character.

Enemies to Lovers

Even though this is kind of similar to the grumpy and sunshine trope, I still think it’s worthy to include because there are some slight differences. Basically, it involves two people who are always in conflict and engaging in witty banter full of insults. They seem to be opposites but tend to be more similar to each other than they think. There are moments when they see one another through new eyes, but suppress their newfound, growing feelings due to their history of conflict, until the end of the story when they finally push aside their differences and unite. I just love the sense of tension this trope creates throughout the story! A classic example of enemies to lovers is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Found Family

The found family trope is when a group of people who are unrelated find a family amongst each other. The people in this group typically have very different personalities from one another. They form close relationships, share experiences and grow together. Like with any family, there’s a lot of bickering, conflict, and drama. They all go through so much together, and in the end their bond is unbreakable. In my opinion, this is the most relatable trope, or at least one that resonates with audiences the most because everyone has some sort of idea of what family relationships are like, whether it be good or bad, traditional or unconventional.

Old, Wise Mentor Character

This is the person that always supports the main character and someone the main character can rely on and receive advice from. The mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be old, but I have found that that is usually the case. Oftentimes we are urging the main character to listen to the sound, worldly advice that the old, wise mentor character is giving, but they hardly ever do. Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender is a great example of a mentor. He is wise, funny, and just an overall very lovable character.

Fake Relationship

This trope occurs when two people pretend to be in a relationship for some reason, such as making an ex jealous or getting someone off their backs, and then they eventually fall for each other. By the end, their relationship becomes real. Both people have to be aware of this arrangement and benefit from it. There also needs to be a list of rules for them to follow. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is the perfect example of a well-executed fake relationship trope. If there’s ever a time when you need to enter into a fake relationship in real life, you’ll have something to refer back to and guide you along the way!

There are countless tropes in fiction that just seemingly pop up out of nowhere once you’re aware of them. What are your favorites?

Emily is a junior and majoring in English at Michigan State University.
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