Monday, November 23, 2009

Common Tropes of a Carole McDonnell novel

Okay, I was gonna call this "So that's where that came from #2" But I didn't want to go into all that. Just felt like listing all the commonalities I find in most of my stories -- The McDonnellian obsessions, one might say.

Not that these are thematic crutches, or schematic crutches. More like blind spots. Ane mercifully, the stories are all pretty novel -- in spite of their similarities.

I mean... certainly no one could say that Lingua Franca is the same as Wind Follower. Or that Homecoming at the Borderlands Cafe is like Constant Tower or My Life as an Onion. But -- for better or worse-- these commonalities are there.

For your perusal -- my tropes.
1) Young couple involved living together in a courtship that requires some degree of celibacy.
2) Poor girl marrying a rich young man.
3) Both characters are usually of different castes, races, religions.
4) Young man is very spiritual to begin with but grows more committed to his religion as the story continues.
5) The girl's father is usually weak or absent. The boy's father is usually strong but indulgent (until some moment when he loses it.)
6) Characters wading through two or more languages.
7) Courting couple or young marrieds living together within a larger family complex.
8) Loyalty issues -- Friends have to be tossed, especially one close dangerous subtle friend.
9) Belongingness issues -- usually the girl has to the culture of the guy's family.
10) The guy and the girl both have woundedness issues.
11) The story tends to be an exploration of a specific kind of society within a society. Often the household doesn't completely follow the rules of the larger society to which they belong.
12) There are usually three households -- all showing diff
13) There are different circles of friendships. Sometimes concentric, sometimes subsets, sometimes intersecting. The characters have to navigate through these and often might have to leave one.
14) The world is hierarchical and younger folks -- especially the married or courting couple-- must obey the elders
15) There's often a representative of the religion or the society who is troublesome or just plain creepy.
16) Someone has a disability.
17) There's a problematical sibling relationship.
18) The main characters often have more than one nickname.
19) Male character is Asian or Asian-ish.
20) They have a desire to join up with the Called-put ones, exiles of society. They either form a little group of their own that becomes their true home....or they long for one.
21) An obsession with death, the afterlife, demons and of course GOD

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