Thursday, October 25, 2012

Kicking the Tropes to the Curb

I talked a little bit about how I came to write Necromancing Nim in my last post (or the one before that—I don’t remember. You really expect me to keep track of my own blog? C’mon, people, that’s hard!). Now’s the part of the show where I admit that part of my motivation for writing this book involved me reacting to urban fantasy tropes.

It seems like urban fantasy has brought two major tropes into its fold over time. These are the Extremely Broken Protagonist and the Whiney Moany Love Triangle. Now, the EBP is pretty common in fiction across the board. This bugs me. Why does everybody in a book have to have a horrible past with parental abuse and tragic circumstances and a great-aunt who turned out to be a demon who put magically noxious chocolate chips in her Christmas cookies? It gets a bit tiresome, in my opinion, and after a while it stops being a character development tool and turns into a cliché. So Nim isn’t Horribly Broken. She’s actually a fairly functional adult (well, maybe not entirely functional since she’s a lot like your dear author-person) with a mostly normal family life. I think the worst thing her parents ever did to her was decide not to pay for braces.

Which brings us to the Whiney Moany Love Triangle (tangentially, I guess, but since a triangle is a geometric concept why not have tangents, too?). Nearly every urban fantasy heroine these days has to have two hot guys (sometimes more—see Sookie Stackhouse) who want in her pants. And then she’s all… omg I love them both whatever shall I do? At which point I yell at the book, “Bang them both and quit whining, for the love of everything!”

So Nim, being the practical, straightforward and flexible gal that she is, bangs them both. And they bang each other. And everybody’s happy! Perfect world, right?

Now if they could just figure out how to deal with that whole turning people into mindless vampire zombies thing...