How to Make Me Read Your Book | 6 Story Tropes I Live For

Let’s saw we go to an ice cream parlor. My treat. I order my sundae, which is chocolate ice cream with peanut butter sauce, cookie dough chunks, whipped topping and rainbow sprinkles (no cherry). You open your mouth to order yours, but I cut you off and say, “We’ll both have the same thing.”

“But Maggie,” you protest. “I don’t like chocolate ice cream. And I’m allergic to peanuts! I’d much rather have vanilla ice cream with fudge and oreos on top!”

“Well, you’re wrong. My sundae is the best kind of sundae, so you’ll just have to learn to like it,” I say.

Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Aside from the fact that my sundae would probably lead to me having a heart attack someday soon, it’s not gross or detestable. Neither is yours. Neither sundae is right or wrong, we just have different tastes in ice cream and its toppings, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes though, I think we get a certain idea about stories – we think that they have to be a certain way, and anything that doesn’t fit that mold is morally reprehensible. Granted, there are a few things that any story should have: your characters should be well-rounded and the plot should be coherent. Just as you wouldn’t put pickles on your strawberry ice cream, you wouldn’t write a story without those important elements.

But from there, who’s to say what the rules are? All audiences have different tastes when it comes to character and story tropes, so it’s just a matter of figuring out which ones work and hoping that the right person finds your story.

I try to keep an open mind when it comes to stories, but if I’m being honest, there are a few tropes that just get me, you know? Like, if I see one of those tropes in a story, and it’s being done well, it’s safe to say I’m hooked. I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorites today – maybe you’ll agree, maybe you’ll disagree, but hey, that’s the fun of it!

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Sunshine Blogger Award: The Sequel

Approximately a million years ago (actually, more like three years ago), I was tagged in the Sunshine Blogger Award by my dear book blogger friend Paige Turner. More recently, I’ve been tagged again by The Story Sponge! I figured we were due for another round of random questions, and they had some pretty great ones, so that’s what I’ll be participating in today.

Since it’s been quite a while since the last time I did this, here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them. (Did that above, but in case you missed it – thanks to The Story Sponge for nominating me!)
  2. List the rules and display an award logo on your blog post.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  4. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and notify them by commenting on any of their posts.
  5. Ask the nominees 11 new questions.

Like I said, i got asked some pretty interesting questions, so without further ado, here we go!

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May & June 2019 Month in Review

May & June 2019 Month In Review

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Between two different trips, finishing the academic year, and beginning my summer job, I’ve missed not one, but TWO Month in Review posts! I know, I know, I’m the worst. It’s okay, you can say it.

But as atonement for my wrongs, today I bring you a MIR double-header, covering May and June of 2019. That’s twice the stuff to go through, so I’ll do my best just to hit the highlights and keep it brief. But if you missed any of my other blog posts from the past two months, check those out first:

And you can check out my 1 Second Everyday videos from May:

And June!

Without further ado, here’s what I’ve been up to the past two months.

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Seven siblings from stories

Seven Siblings from Stories

Siblings. Love them or hate them, you’re pretty much stuck with them. They’re always there for you in when you’re knocked down… sometimes to give you a hand, sometimes because they pushed you. Such is life.

In case you don’t know, I have a younger brother (just one – the header image is of me with my brother and my cousin). So as someone who’s experienced having a sibling, I feel like I can be a pretty good judge of when someone writes sibling relationships well… and most of the time, they don’t. They usually fall into one of two extremes: always getting along 24/7, or hating each other’s guts. Going off of my own experience and what I’ve learned from others, sibling relationships usually fall more in the middle.

But anyway, just because most people can’t write siblings to save their life doesn’t mean there aren’t good, well-written sibling relationships in stories. I’ve compiled a list of seven of them, just to prove it. So here we go.

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Winder scene with text "February 2019: Month in Review"

February 2019 Month in Review

I was going to make some kind of remark like “wow, the month went by really fast!” before I remembered that February is in fact the shortest month of the year so of course it went by fast. Anyway, even though it was short, February was a good month with a lot of cool stuff happening.

Before I get into that though, if you missed any of my blog posts this month, I blogged about…

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my 1 Second Everyday compilation for February!

 

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January 2019 - Month in Review

January 2019 Month in Review

Congratulations on making it through the first month of the year! I don’t know about you, but January seemed to go by fast for me… which I can’t say I’m feeling too upset about, since it’s been bitter cold here in Pennsylvania for most of the month. Despite the below-freezing temperatures though, I had a great month!

Before I share all of that though, here’s what I blogged about this month in case you missed it:

  • What I want to accomplish in 2019 (and what I did in 2018)
  • Cleaning a bunch of books off of my to-be-read list (in two parts!)
  • What we can learn about writing from Avatar: The Last Airbender

By the way, I’m also back to doing my 1 Second Everyday videos! You can watch January’s compilation below:

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September 2018 - Month In Review

Month In Review: September 2018

Happy October! Depending on where you are in the world, it might finally be starting to feel like autumn for you (yes, we had 80-degree days here in the middle of September). Midterm exams are coming up at my school, but I’ll be going home for Fall Break in less than a week! I’m looking forward to it.

And in case you missed anything on Maggie’s Musings this month, I blogged about:

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Month In Review: August 2018

It’s official – we’re in the fall months now! School had finally started back up for me, and things are starting to get busy in my life again – which explains why this post is going up a little later than usual. As always, thanks for being patient with me. It’s been a bit rough transitioning from the summer to the school year, but we’re getting there.

There was quite a bit happening this month, so if you’re interested in seeing a quick summary of what I did this month, check out my 1 Second Everyday video for August!

And in case you missed anything on Maggie’s Musings this month, I blogged about:

As a whole, August was a pretty crazy month with a lot of transitions. That doesn’t mean it was bad – on the contrary, I got to do a lot of exciting stuff this month in-between the busyness.

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Magnificent Mothers in Fiction

In the United States, yesterday was Mother’s Day, a celebration of the women who have impacted our lives. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of women as my role models throughout my life, but none more so than my own mom and my grandmothers on both sides of my family. Ever since I was a kid, they’ve inspired me and taught me so much, and I look up to all of them greatly.

In light of Mother’s Day, I decided it was a good time to celebrate the awesome mothers in fiction as well. Parents in fiction get a bad rap, mostly because they tend to be absent in one way or another (oh how we love the orphan protagonist cliche). However, there are plenty of great moms, grandmas, and other maternal figures in books, TV shows, and other works of fiction, and I think they deserve to be recognized.

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Rules for Spoilers

Spoiler (n.)

  1. Information about the plot of a movie, TV show, book, video game, or any other form of media that ruins the viewer/reader/gamer’s enjoyment of the media in question.
  2. The kind of person you don’t want to be.

Chances are, we’ve all been spoiled at some point in our lives – and no, it’s not the kind of spoiled that happens when your grandparents give you all the chocolate chip cookies you want. Perhaps someone once told you about how Harry Potter ends, or you know what happens in that particular episode of Sherlock, or maybe you know Sheik’s true identity despite having never played Ocarina of Time. Sometimes, spoilers are okay – you probably don’t care about how Harry Potter ends if you don’t plan on ever reading or watching it – but other times, they ruin things we would’ve otherwise enjoyed.

But that begs the question, what makes a spoiler spoil-y? When is it okay to discuss potential spoilers in public? How do I avoid them?

There isn’t a one-size-fits all formula for every single creative media ever made, but I have put together a few of my personal guidelines to give everyone a safe and spoiler-free existence (hopefully).

Because I need examples, there will be a few common spoilers mentioned below, but I’ll be blocking them out in white text and brackets [like this], so if you want to see them, highlight it with your cursor.

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