What Are Some Examples of Literary Conventions?

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Literary conventions are features or practices of certain genres that readers or audiences understand, recognize and accept as techniques to facilitate the plot. The conventional plot of certain romance novels focuses around a male and female character who struggle through difficulties and misunderstandings until they fall in love.

Stock characters are a literary and dramatic convention. Examples include the heroine disguised as a man in Elizabethan drama, the hero’s confidant, the hard-boiled detective, the strong, silent cowboy, the girl next door, the mysterious stranger in town, the cruel stepmother and the handsome prince. Specific conventions for a mystery crime novel include a body turning up in the first three chapters or sooner. More murders take place as the plot progresses. The writer provides cleverly hidden clues, and the guilty are brought to justice by the end of the book, specifically through the skills of the main character detective.