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The other day, I was working on a Supernatural Fiction genre and I was stuck in a dilemma. I had two choices, whether I could focus on one trope, that is, just the vampires and their conspiracies or I could introduce other tropes like, werewolves or maybe Satan. Also, more tropes meant more introduction of characters which risks my plot to become messier and if I remain stable on a single trope, I feel maybe it won't be enough.

And this is what I am not able to decide, well to me the former choice seems to be a cooler one, though I seriously fear that it would become a bit chaotic and confusing. And the latter one, well there, I think what if I am not able to do justice with my plot by focusing the whole story on the same frame?

What should I do?

  • Hey, welcome to Writing.SE :) This might be lack of understanding on my part, but it seems to me your question is way too vague and under-developed for anyone to answer. Try to explain a bit more and give more specific examples of the different aspects of the dilemma you're facing. – A. Kvåle Dec 28 '19 at 23:18
  • Is your work a comedy/spoof, or you want to stay dead serious? – Alexander Dec 30 '19 at 19:38
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I think adding more "tropes" will just make it confusing, unless you have a plan for how to use them to create conflict.

Certainly there have been many stories (and series) focusing on many tropes: Vampires vs. Werewolves vs Witches. But the authors of those stories have a coherent plot in mind; for example all of the factions are going after the same magical item, so they provide competition and conflict coming from multiple angles.

Your story needs some central problem for the MC to be struggling to overcome (or solve or understand). That is what the story is about. But it has to be complicated and difficult to be entertaining.

Many adversaries (or allies) are fine; too many story lines is not fine. Which is why, usually, stories with MANY magical elements tend to keep the story simple with a clear goal for everyone: In The Lord of the Rings, it is about the good guys (many magical species) trying to destroy the evil Ring, and the bad guys (many more magical species) thwarting those efforts, and causing complications and interference in their relatively simple march to the only place where the ring can be destroyed.

If you have ally or frenemy or villain roles for werewolves, witches, satan, elves, unicorns, dragons, leprechauns, ghosts, possessed birds, whatever -- Feel free. Just don't get the reader (and yourself) lost in a circus of different plotlines, subplots, and side plots. Pick a simple main plot, and one or two subplots (e.g. a romance arc, a redemption arc), and that's it. The more complicated you make your cast of characters, the LESS complicated you make the plot, because you need to keep them from flying apart with a bunch of different goals.

In The Wizard of Oz, we have four characters, with different motives but the same goal, visiting the Wizard of Oz to achieve their goal. The Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Dorothy all want different things (they have different motives), but they are bound together as allies by a common simple goal: Following the (sometimes dangerous) Yellow Brick Road to reach the Emerald City and get help from the Wizard.

If you have a wide cast of characters, then you need a similar simplicity in your story.

The advice works flipped on its head, as well: For writers with a relatively simple plot line, a wider cast of allies and adversaries can add enough interest to the story that readers will not mind the simplicity of the plot line.

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I feel you should focus on mapping out your plot, and doing so without tropes in mind. Tropes are not a bad thing, but equally, they are not good things. Just looking through TV Tropes, you can see how often tropes are replicated in all genres and media forms.

I know my novel does contain tropes. It's been argued, from an academic point of view, that in terms of stories, there are seven basic plots - which in of themselves, are tropes. But it is something you have to put out of your mind when you are working on your own work.

My novel series deals with the return of a vengeful goddess as it's over reaching arc. It's a done to death concept - it screams Elder Scrolls Online, Dragon Age: Origins just to name a few. But...... what I have to focus in that is how that becomes mine. Why is my goddess different? Why is the circumstances my main characters are in interesting? Working that all out, for me, comes after identifying tropes and directions that are similar.

So in conclusion - first, I'd highly recommend reading 'The Seven Basic Plots' to understand tropes (if you don't want to buy and read, because it's a huuugggeeeee book, then TV Tropes does have a sum up of the book), and then secondly, start mapping the plot you want to map, but try to forget the tropes.

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I think you should try completely avoiding tropes, but that's sort of hard to do in a vampire story. Tropes make books, movies and shows more predictable, but like I said, it's kinda hard to avoid in something about vampires. I think that if you are going to include tropes, make it a really interesting trope or one that isn't used often.

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