Hello friends and welcome back to another trope-tastic day at Just Another Struggling Writer.
You know the drill by now. Every Tuesday we highlight a different fantasy trope in an effort to destigmatize the way people think about tropes in writing. In my mind, tropes are the building blocks of all forms of writing. As with all writing conventions, it’s how the author uses them that determines their effectiveness.
We’ve had a couple of character-centric tropes lately. Today we’re going in a different direction with something plot related.
Gods making an appearance in a fantasy story is a well-loved trope that traces its roots back to Greek mythology. Many of us who attended high school in the US are likely familiar with the tale of Odysseus. The Odyssey is rife with all manner of divine intervention, both helpful and harmful, as are many tales across time that are based on Greek myth, such as the Percy Jackson series.
While it might sound similar to the Deus Ex Machina device, Divine Assistance is distinct from it with a narrower focus. The titular Assistance isn’t necessarily benevolent, or even outright helpful to the hero. Oftentimes, it comes because the god or goddess perceives some benefit to themselves in extending a helping hand.
This is definitely a trope that can be misused. No one wants a character to finish their quest without any struggles along the way. However, applied cautiously, Divine Assistance can serve as an intriguing spanner in the works for your protagonist.
What tropes will we discover next week? Tune in next time to find out.
Listen to me, I’ve become the Dragon Ball Z narrator. Ah, well. Take care my friends and, as always, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
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