One of the biggest issues I’ve come across as a young adult author—I mean, aside from trigger warnings and diversity inclusion—is the dreaded trope.
A trope doesn’t become a trope by not being useful and relatable. But it’s a trope, so everyone uses it. You want to be unique and write something that’s never been seen before. But the risk of becoming overly bizarre and alienating your audience looms overhead.
It’s enough to make you wish you lived closer to the wine store.
There are a few things that I wanted to push for that are in the current fashion. Having a female protagonist who works in science, dealing with issues of inclusion, seeking to shed light on the state of the world—all of those have meaning to me and give depth to Girl of Glass.
There are some unique aspects in the use of a privileged heroine in a decaying world. Looking at the end of the world from the top rather than from the bottom. The humans becoming monsters to survive, monsters being more human than those who seek to destroy them.
But then come the tropes. The dreaded tropes.
Vampires. I love vampires. Lots of people love vampires. But how to make them different? And not in a “sparkle in the sunlight” sort of way. I wanted vampires that fit into a mid-apocalyptic world. Vampires that have nothing to do with magic or mythology. Where science and immortality combine—that’s where the vampires of Girl of Glass come from.
And a love triangle. One love dark, the other light. One true, the other daring. One home, the other adventure. It’s literally a tale as old as time. Two pull at your heart, but you’re only allowed to choose one. They both have something to offer and something to love. They both represent a larger choice. But you have to pick. And that’s the beauty of the love triangle. I know how the story ends. I know where it’s going. But my editor, my husband, and my readers don’t. They don’t know which way our heroine’s heart will fall in the end. Instead of fighting the trope, I invested in it.
Figuring out which would touch her waist and which would hold her hand. Who would brush the hair from her face, and who would kiss her hand. Taking on the love triangle and using it to build depth within the characters was one of the hardest challenges and greatest joys in writing Girl of Glass. And I’m so excited for the debate to begin. Will she choose light or darkness, trust or truth?
Let the triangle trope begin.