So, I commented the other day that I really like prison escapes.
Honestly, I love prison escapes.
I was thinking of the prison escape in Ann Maxwell’s Fire Dancer, which, by the way, was released as an ebook last year under the name Elizabeth Lowell, and thanks to @Sandstone on Twitter for that information.
The Honor Harrington series has its flaws, sure, but it’s still a fun series and of course my favorite book is this one, where Honor and others wind up on and escape from the prison planet Hell.
There’s a fantastic prison escape in the 4th book of Tanya Huff’s Valor series. What a great story that is! Practically the whole thing is an extended prison escape. It’s probably my favorite book in the series, and I enjoy all the books. I’m pretty sure this is my favorite military SF series.
There are innumerable prison escapes in SFF. If you’ve got a favorite, by all means let me know because I’m always up for this trope! I’m amazed I’ve never put a prison escape in any novel, except I guess this trope is actually a bit intimidating. You have to work out a clever escape in the same way that you’d work out a clever murder in a murder mystery. I don’t have a knack for that, so this sounds difficult to me.
The prison escape isn’t the only trope I have unaccountably never managed to hit myself.
A second trope I particularly enjoy but have never once used myself is The Bodyguard. I love bodyguard characters! I’m thinking here of trustworthy, competent bodyguards who, at least eventually, like or love the person they’re guarding. That’s the relationship I like and that’s how I would write a bodyguard myself. Several of you pointed out great bodyguards in this relatively recent post. I’m particularly planning to find Daughter of Mystery, which Irina pointed out and which I’m certain I have on my Kindle even at this moment. Every book that was recommended there is one I truly want to look at.
A third trope I’m very fond of is The Thief, particularly a character who is perhaps somewhat ambiguous, but when it comes down to it, on the right side. If you stretch the definition of “thief,” then Nicolas Valiarde might count. But I’m really thinking of more specifically thief characters. One reason Scott Lynch’s books work pretty well for me, despite being on the edge of too gritty, is that the protagonists and important secondary characters are thieves.
Oh, also Vlad, even though he’s an assassin as well as a thief. I like assassins a lot too, as long as they’re not embedded in a grimdark narrative. Assassins who aren’t evil. Vlad might have been pretty amoral for some time, but right from the first was willing to go amazingly far to support and protect people he cared about, which is why he works fine for me as a character. I think Vallista is the most recent book in the series, right? I don’t think I’ve missed any. Wow, fifteen books total so far. Fourteen if you pretend Brust never wrote Teckla, about which the less said, the better.
Anyway, amazingly enough, I’ve never put an important thief (or assassin) into any of my books. Or nothing that has been published. The original trilogy which I cannibalized to write both The White Road of the Moon and Winter of Ice and Iron actually did include thieves, and a thieves’ guild (more or less) and a king of thieves (again, more or less). I had to remove all that because there was just no room for any of it in the final versions of the books. I’m still sad about that. Who knows, maybe eventually I’ll find a place to put those thieves.
Granted, Oressa pretty much acts like a thief. In a way, writing her is a lot like writing a thief character. All the rooftops one could wish! She’s a smooth liar, and she’d steal something without a moment’s hesitation if she thought she needed to. I don’t think she actually does steal anything during the course of this story, but she certainly would.
One more: I’m very fond of kitsune. Not sure how I’ve never managed to work even one kitsune into one of my own books. The Black Dog series is already so cluttered, I don’t suppose it’s possible to cram a kitsune or two into that. Probably. Though it would be neat!
Of course, I have managed to write some tropes I particularly like. I’ve managed The Girl Who Disguises Herself As A Boy. I’ve always liked that one. But it’s amazing how many great tropes I have unaccountably never happened to put anywhere. Yet.