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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Trope-Tastic Tuesdays: Act of True Love

Trope: Act of True Love

Description: So our characters are madly, hopelessly in love, but the universe is often cruel and refuses to let them be happy together for more than five minutes. (Fucking universe, man.) One of the pair—or sometimes even both!—is so very much in love, they will make a great personal sacrifice for the other person, whether for their relationship in general or even to save their partner's life. This doesn't necessarily have to be a romance trope, as it can be for a platonic or familiar relationship; it's also possible for this one to be a death trope. Hmm. Ominous.

Examples: Anna blocking Elsa from that asshole Hans's sword in Frozen; both Rapunzel and Flynn try to sacrifice their happiness/lives for each other at the end of Tangled (Disney really is a fan of this one); depending on your choices in Dragon Age: Origins, the ending can play out this way if you've romanced Alistair

Pros: The power of love is always compelling. And this isn't just everyday, garden-variety love...this is true love! Done well in a romance, an Act of True Love can make readers all fluttery and swoon-y.

Cons: For me personally, you've got to *really* develop your characters and plot well to stick the landing here and make it convincing. Like, I don't know if I'd risk using this trope in, say, a short story. Not to say it can't be done, of course, but it takes skill. Also, if you're writing a romance, if you're using a death trope version of this, some readers might hate you forever. Then again, some might love you even more. Blah blah art is subjective blah.

Would/Did I Use It?: Hahaha, so, funny story: Timeline-wise, I wrote most of Fire Beyond the Frost first, shelved it for a while, and wrote Out of Orbit before coming back to it. I think it was while I was editing FBtF that I realized—if you whittle both of those books down to their basic elements, they essentially have the same plot. And both of them end with an Act of True Love. Granted, the stakes are higher for Jasmine in OoO than they are for Catalina in FBtF, but the striking similarities are there regardless. So, like Disney, I guess I'm a fan of this trope!

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