Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

In Which I Smash Some Tropes

I had a productive day of writing on this month's short story, which may come close to being a novella at this rate. As I mentioned to erastes yesterday, one thing that I'm finding particularly fun right now is being able to get away from the reader expectations that go with romance (and other genres for that matter). I'd already considered posting a snippet today, then I saw this trope analysis via a comment to jimhines.

Onwards to the excerpt, in which Cynthia has been tending someone else's garden, and Matthew has just left after delivering free jars of honey...


"Matt's taken quite a shine to you," Mr Darwent said over the rim of his mug of tea.

"You think so?" The mugs were stained and chipped, the tea of builder's strength and sweet enough that the spoon stood up in it, but Cynthia appreciated the gesture after a long morning in the garden.

"It's obvious enough, all right." Mr Darwent had accepted Cynthia's offer of help with barely a complaint, though he'd been happy to point out that he'd be able to manage perfectly well himself. Once all the heavy lifting was done, and his cough was completely better, that was.

"Why do you say that?"

"Stands to reason. You don't really think he came all the way up here, just to bring me the honey? He needed an excuse, didn't he?"

"If it was going spare..." Cynthia took a sip of tea, trying not to wince as the over-sweetened liquid met her back fillings. If Matt liked her, then he'd be more prepared to lend her his truck – or at least give her lifts in it. She might well need that help, but on the other hand she didn't want him – or anyone in Mr Darwent's large network of friends – to get the wrong idea. Not when she was just starting to make friends with the locals.

"Going spare my arse." Mr Darwent took a slurp of tea to stifle his threatening coughing fit. "Matt's never had honey going spare in his life. Nor his father afore him. Take it from me, lass, he's got quite a fancy for you. About time, mind. I never did approve of all his gallivanting about with the summer visitors."

"Which summer visitors?" Cynthia suspected a combination of hyperbole and jealousy, based on the fact that Matthew's job necessitated he help visitors to the area with their enquiries. Visitors might be more likely to book places on the summer walks he led, as well. Obviously he had to be friendly towards them.

"The pretty ones." Mr Darwent gave his pronouncement with an air of triumph. "Not that I'm one to gossip, but ever since his son went away, there's been a different lady warming his bed every summer. Sometimes more than one, I don't mind betting, though never at the same time, you understand."

Good for Matt, Cynthia thought. She'd noticed that men generally took early bereavement much harder than women did, and if Matthew wanted regular no-strings relationships with no aggrieved exes hanging around the valley, then why shouldn't he seek them out with passing tourists. Come to think of it, wasn't part of her reason for refurbishing the house to meet new people? People with whom she might consider having a fling? None of them would replace Sophie, of course, but she and Sophie had known that Cynthia might be alone one day, and discussed what she ought to do in that case.

"Well, I won't be one of his conquests." Cynthia decided it was best to squash the rumour before it went beyond Mr Darwent's garden.

"One of them, are you? Well, there's plenty of friends for your sort round here. Not that I'm judging, mind."

Cynthia was puzzled, but decided to avoid the long explanation. She though everyone knew how she'd come to own her house, and she was sure she'd introduced herself as Sophie's partner when she knocked on Mr Darwent's door earlier. Then again, it wasn't as if she'd never been attracted to men – before the change or after – but she'd never done much about that side of things for one reason or another. She finished her tea, and pushed her chair back.

"Shall I wash up before I go back outside?"


Having read about the trope, of course, I have thought up a stunning (and in character) reason why Matt will be at a loose end over the long summer evenings.
Tags: for reference, on writing, story extract
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