A trope is a plot device, characterization, element of backstory, item or setting that is used by multiple authors. Tropes are what define genres and they're often used as a shorthand to ensure we can get to the point quicker by cutting out all the long detailed explanations.
Back when TV Tropes launched, quite a few years ago now, everyone thought a trope was a bad thing, and aspiring writers with hopes of writing the next Great American Novel (you guys are so lucky to have such a great literary tradition) would seek to point out all tropes in other people's work and eliminate them from their own. For a while, tropes were embarrassing.
Nowadays, most people are agreed that tropes are neither a good thing nor a bad thing, they have their uses but they can be overused, it's down to the writer to make a trope work.
Here's my 10 favorite tropes in spanking romance and spanking erotica (most of these are character tropes):
10. The resistant heroine. I love fiesty (not bratty) young ladies who refuse to be cowed, who fight the male heroes, who try to do things their own way. They always get the most satisfying spankings.
9. The innocent, virginal heroine. As a contrast to the fiesty heroine, the innocent, virginal one tends to go through life with wide eyes as she drinks in all the new things she sees and does. I like stories that use this trope because sex has a danger of becoming perfunctory, almost tedious, through the eyes of older, more experienced characters (there's a very well-known author who barely writes 2 lines for most of her sex scenes these days, and I just don't find it very hot), whereas the innocent, virginal character is experiencing everything for the first time - so she takes us on a journey with her.
8. The strong, silent hero who barely speaks two words. This is a great character type when done right, and when he says his well-chosen, concise words, I'm all of a quiver. I have a major weakness for fictional guys like this, especially if he knows how to use his body language. Bring it on!
7. The older man. When I was at university I realized I liked older men because I started to get feelings for a mature student in his fifties. I struggle to take heroes seriously in spanking fiction if they're either under 25 or younger than the heroine, I love a good age difference. I guess it's the result of watching so much original Doctor Who - I'm over here, Jon Pertwee and/or Tom Baker and/or Sylvester McCoy (especially you, Sylvester, you pronounce "look" properly and it makes my Scottish heart happy)!!
6. The older man who swoops in and takes the heroine away, fixing her entire life in the process. I never really liked this as a life plan, in real life I always work very hard to solve my own problems, take responsibility for my actions and pay my own way. At some point during my mid-20's I got tired of that, tired of reading about it, seeing it everywhere, and doing it, and it's just so nice to dream about the alternative. I think most people get tired of fighting their corner on their own.
5. The idea of casually meeting someone whose fetishes will perfectly align with your own with no horribly awkward discussions (avoiding the "hey, society tells you it's wrong, but I really need you to spank me lots m'kay?" conversation) is a particular favorite trope of mine. I love the idea that this existence is so normal that there's just millions of hunky athletic slightly older and well endowed men out there just waiting to make contact with my derriere.
4. The school for adult women who are really incorrigible... if I thought I could remotely do this scenario any justice, I'd write this till the cows came home (maybe one day I'll try). I love reading stories with this premise. I wish there were more of them.
3. The vulnerable adult little girl who just needs a daddy to love her. Just so freaking adorable. Especially when she is strong enough to let that vulnerable inner child out to play.
2. The dominant man who seems to be psychic. Because he just knows, man, he just knows. Need a sip of water? Lost your collar? About to come? Wondering about the interdimensional fabric of the universe? He knows before you do, because he's just that perfect.
1. The stern headteacher who knows everything the heroine has ever done, and is going to cane her for all of it in due course.
Tropes were made to be broken, though, and of course a story with all of these tropes in at the same time would probably strangle itself - but it would certainly be the perfect recipe for a parody.
Lots of Love,
Copyright: 2016, Katie Douglas. Web Design: Katie Douglas.
Background image credit: Shashi Rupapara (image licensed under creative commons).