Deals, steals, and news from author Michelle Isenhoff.

How do you follow genre tropes and still create a unique and exciting story? That was the challenge I faced when writing my Recompense series. 

Tropes are simply motifs or elements that occur commonly in a particular genre. For example, sci-fi usually includes advanced technology, often evidenced as spacecraft or weaponry. Fantasy will many times feature a reluctant hero or even a "chosen" hero. Tropes are staples among certain genres and expected by those who read frequently within them. Successful authors will study these tropes and use them to their best advantage.

Recompense is a clear example of dystopia, which tends to contain an oppressive government or societal structures. To make this story my own, I placed my heroine Jack (Jaclyn) in Capernica's lowest social caste, in an out-of-the-way settlement set smack against the wild and beautiful North Atlantic, where a lifetime spent working in the fish cannery is her only future prospect. It's a bleak outlook for a girl who wants so much more for herself, for her best friend Will, and for her younger siblings. (Loyalty to friends and family is another dystopian common trope.) The only way to rise above her situation is to test (another trope) into Military, the highest caste. Here again I put my own spin on things: if Jack fails to meet the strict physical requirements and Will succeeds, she can have no contact with him until his 20-year term of service is complete. (Yup, since it hits the YA genre, as well, I've got that romance trope covered, too.)

Just like in cooking, certain genres are built on certain "recipes." But by combining original details, building on the interplay between unique characters, and creating my own circumstances and high stakes, I created a flavor all my own! 

Recompense is always free on all retailers. Just click the image above for links!

Before you go, be sure to check out the books and promos featured below. They're always free or bargain priced. I generally bounce between speculative and historical fiction (the main genres I write in), and sometimes some fantasy, middle grade, or a bit of romance, just to keep things interesting. 

Happy reading!


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Michelle Isenhoff

A former teacher and longtime homeschooler, MICHELLE ISENHOFF writes for children and adults. Her work has been reader-nominated for a Cybils Award, the Great Michigan Read, and the Maine Student Book Award. Michelle writes from Michigan where she bikes all summer and wears flip-flops all winter.