S32E6 – How Tropes and Clichés Play Into Reader Psychology

Readers have come to expect certain things from books, including certain tropes and clichés that help establish pieces of the story within a line or two. We’ve talked before about how you can use cookie-cutter representations of tertiary characters so you don’t spend a lot of time describing someone who never reappears. The same thing can work in small ways with your main characters.

You don’t have to spend a lot of time establishing an archetypal character. If you say barmaid and you’ve already established you’re in a medieval tavern setting, most readers will picture the same kind of person. A single line that says a character can crush a skull with one hand gives readers a mental image of a burly warrior type. However, if you are going to use this on your main and secondary characters, it’s best if you also include a twist. We discuss how to do that in this episode.

First aired May 19, 2022.

About the Author
I'm an editor and cover designer for AspenHouse Publishing. I am also a host for AspenHouse's poscast, Writing Roots.

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