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Movies and books were foundations of my childhood, as much as they are in the present. After a while, I noticed that I tended to lean towards a few tropes, or common occurrences, in particular that are used throughout the movies, television shows and literature. 

People often say that since Shakespeare’s works, there is no such thing as original content because it has all been done before (if not Shakespeare, then the Simpsons). But I disagree, as someone who wants to be a writer, I think tropes are necessary, pivotal parts of every story. 

Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order.

Breaking The Fourth Wall:

Breaking The Fourth Wall is when a fictional character, whether it be in novels or movies, talks directly to the audience. It always felt like the fictional characters wanted to include you in their world. 

Movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, have characters looking into the camera and talking to the viewer which engages them more. As I watched the movie, it felt as if he was teaching me how to have the best day ever with my closest friends. 

If anyone knows where I can hijack a parade float, let me know.

person sitting in front bookshelf
Sam McGhee/Unsplash

Enemies to Lovers:

Enemies to Lovers is when two people start as enemies and then end up in love with each other. This is, to me, way more interesting than when they start as friends. Often when they unknowingly fall in love with the other, they accept their enemy for all of their faults as well as their positives.

This trope is common in romantic comedies but I enjoy it in novels as well (TikTok has given me so many recommendations for this trope alone). I probably think that this trope is better than others because of the dynamic and tension between the two leads. Honestly, enemies to lovers tropes are probably one of the reasons why I love banter and sarcasm.

Walking Away From An Explosion:

Who hasn’t, at one point, wanted to slow-motion walk away from an explosion and put on sunglasses? (No one? Just me?)

This always seemed like a pivotal part of an action movie. So much so that comedy-action movies started to make their characters have more realistic reactions to explosions behind them. 

colorful \"action\" sign being held up by the hand of a director in the center of a desert
Photo by Jakob Owens from Unsplash

My Least Favorite Trope:

This is an honorable mention to my least favorite trope, my favorite character dying, or gets hurt.

While this is not technically a trope, it happens so often where it might as well be. Do I get attached to fictional characters, far too easily? Yes, but that’s besides the point. When it’s the funny characters, at least I am bracing myself for the inevitable. It is so much worse when the death comes out of left field or before the character can redeem themself.

Do I still plan to do this as an author despite me hating it as a reader? Also yes.


I will say that although I do love tropes, I love when movies make fun of tropes by making it a point to use all of them. 

Like, Cabin in The Woods which is a scary movie filled with the most clichés: jump scares, crazy old man prophecy, etc. Not only did it work, but it also succeeded in being a scary movie. Or even, Isn’t it Romantic? which has the main character list out every single trope from romantic comedies that she despises, only to have her complete each one. It is such a good movie, even though it is not an enemies to lovers.

One can even turn a trope on it’s head which often leads to great movies or novels. That is why we have damsels who save the prince or villains who the viewer actively roots for more than the protagonist. 

While I do plan to write more original ideas, having tropes in mind means that I know what people want from a book.

Madison Carter

UC Irvine '22

Madison is a third year student, majoring in English at UC Irvine. Her love for books and romantic comedies made her want to be a writer. She spends most of her time with friends or behind a book.
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