q: I recently brainstormed with an author who is submitting to Entangled. We had a blast, and the good news is Entangled loves her synopsis but she said Entangled adjusted one of her "tropes." I'm a little lost on the meaning of tropes. Could anyone clarify, please? ~ Belinda
Hi, Belinda, you've come to the right place. Here are responses from Entangled Editors KL Grady and Ann Kopchik:
At Entangled, we use tropes in our short romance lines to define the central romantic conflicts (and because trope-heavy romances sell better). Here, you'd have things like marriage of convenience, fling, star-crossed lovers, across the tracks, reunion, relationship in trouble, jilted bride, etc. Each of these, as you can see, will have an inherent romantic conflict riding along with it. When you combine these tropes or play with different combinations of archetypes and external conflicts, you get a fresh story that will appeal to romance readers.
Think of how the Harlequin Presents titles used to be. The Sheikh and His Secretary Have a Fling and Then She Gets Pregnant. The titles were goofy as hell, but they used them because the readers knew right away what the tropes were in the story, and they sold books. In this one, you'd have a sheikh, fling, boss/employee, and either sekrit baby/accidental pregnancy tropes.
Tropes are often confused with cliches. But when you're talking genre, there's a point where the reader contract declares certain things are necessary, and tropes are the most common ways authors deliver on those reader contract promises.
Ann Kopchik: KL pretty much answered the trope question, with regard to Entangled. The category line is especially trope-based, to the point where the reader must know what kind of book it will be by page 50 or so (So, a marriage of convenience, reunited lovers, enemies to friends, etc.) and if the author can stick in more than one trope, that's even better.
READERS, Do you have a question you’d like to ask an editor? Send it to me at BELLSON@COMCAST.NET AND IT COULD BE USED IN AN UPCOMING COLUMN.