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  • Writer's pictureKatie Knightley

A List of Tropes to Use in Your Book

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

A trope is a commonly recurring device to showcase your plot, characters, theme, etc.

Many of them have become cliches, many are now 'unpopular' or forever favorites.

Maybe you already have a list of things you love or hate reading in books.

Check out this list of tropes to steer clear of ones you hate, and use ones that aren't created as frequently:

Fantasy/SciFi Tropes:

Chosen One


Secret/Hidden Powers

Crazy Spelled Names

Noble Savages

Wise Elder

Fake Medieval Setting


Mythical Pet

Surprise Hero

Squad Goals

Action Sequence Banter

Deux Ex Machina

Default Hero

Tragic Genius

Good Guy is Bad/Bad Guy is Good

Everyone Couples Up

Diversity...or Not.

Female Doesn't Need No Man

Assassin/Capable Female

Time Loop


Space Battle

Sexy Robot/Alien

Robots/Aliens Hiding Among Humans

Landscape is Giant Animal

Mystery Tropes:

Red Herring

Surprise Ally

Man on the Inside

Psycho Killer

Femme Fatale

Dirty Politician/Figure

Surprise Turncoat

Incompetent Federal Agent

Mob Boss

Romance Tropes:

Enemies to Lovers

Friends to Lovers

Friends with Benefits

Slow Burn


Love Triangle


Misunderstanding/not communicating

Marriage of Convenience

Rags to Riches

Mistaken Identity

Secret Identity

Someone Makes a Bet

Warring Houses

Girl/Boy Next Door

Coming Out

First Kiss, etc

Opposites Attract


Dark Past

Dark Brooding Smoldering Male

Sinner with Heart of Gold

Damsel in Distress

Unrequited Love


Road Trip

Bad Decisions

Dysfunctional Family

Only One Friend

(Social) Anxiety



Flowery/Purple Prose

Survivor's Guilt

Death used as Catalyst


There are more, but here are a few to get you started.

Which ones do you tend to use the most? Or do you mix them up?

Which ones do you love or hate to read or write about?

Have fun writing with tropes! Don't miss out on the List of Themes and List of Subplots


For more helpful tips, check out my YouTube Channel. And get member access, freebies, and updates by signing up for my newsletter!

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