This post is a little bit different from my usual ones given that I haven’t previously used my blog to discuss matters pertaining to popular culture. But I would actually like to expand the topics I write about beyond my own books and publishing journey, while still remaining within the realms of speculative fiction, and recent developments in Hollywood has given me the perfect opportunity to do so.
This is a slightly revised update of a post I originally submitted back in 2014.
* * * * *
The term tropes has a number of definitions, but for the purposes of this post, it refers to those themes, conventions and plot devices that readers have come to expect in works of fiction. In this context, tropes are very much like clichés, and any literary genre you can think of has its well known tropes. Many works of fantasy utilise the trope of the young orphan who (according to prophecy) is destined to save the day, for example. And, in science fiction, how many times have we read tales of scientists whose creations turn on their creators, and wreak havoc upon the world?
There are certain questions every fiction writer will ask themselves, sooner or later, about their craft. One such question will be a variation of, should you plan your story before writing it, or forgo the plan and just make up a story as go? It is a question I thought I had definitively answered for myself years ago. In fact, until last year, if you had asked me whether it is better to write to a plan or make it up as you go I wouldn’t have hesitated in stating unequivocally that planning is an indispensable part of writing a story. However, I’ve recently realised that maybe the answer isn’t quite so cut-and-dry as I once believed.