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Showing posts by: Shelly Stratton click to see Shelly Stratton's profile
Aug 8 2017 9:30am

Why the Fish-Out-of-Water Story Will Always Be a Favorite

What is it about the fish-out-water trope that readers love so much?

Today we're thrilled to have Shelly Stratton (Between Lost and Found) on Heroes and Heartbreakers. One time or another we've all felt like a fish out of water in a give situation, so it's a trope many of us find relatable in fiction too. Shelly is here today to talk a little bit about why we love it so much. Thanks, Shelly!

Perhaps, on some level, it appeals to the schadenfreude in all of us. I bet, like me, many of you enjoy watching the city-slicker bumble around the small town, lamenting about the lack of quality espresso and cell phone reception, drawing eye rolls from the townsfolk. Or maybe you have a good laugh at the silly American tourist in the Italian village who doesn’t speak the language, can’t figure out the road signs, and is all thumbs when it comes to cultural nuance.

Or maybe your reasons for liking this trope is less cynical than that. You love seeing someone struggle in the unknown, but cheer for them when they triumph in the end: the astronaut stranded on the alien planet who figures out how to survive before she is rescued, or the immigrant who travels to America with nothing but the money in his pocket and the clothes on his back and finds a new community, new friends, and a new sense of belonging. These are stories that reinforce the message that fish may not survive out of water, but humans are much more adaptable on new terrain—if they’re willing to give it a chance.

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