Fiction tropes

Recently, I have acquired the habit to go to TvTropes and spend some time on it. Frequently, too much time. Due to my interest in fiction, it is surprising that I did not do this before. So, I will try to make something useful out of it and discuss it in posts, linking articles for further reading.

Trope was not an English word that I was so familiarized with, using more cliché, but the latter has more negative connotation. For what I understand and what is used for fiction, it is a figure of a speech, a storyteller device or convection, a pattern of storytelling. There are some tropes which I am wary for them being overused, commonly badly used. But tropes are tools, so they can be used for good or bad.

Common reactions when reading the trope’s page is confirming a pattern, having noticed it before but not knowing how to describe and discovering that this exists. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable of fiction, so I am not usually that surprised. But it’s still interesting seeing others opinions and the different ways these tropes can be played.

One thing that may happen to easily influenced people (like me) is seeing a trope and be inspired to use it. Bonus point is it is a forgotten trope, so you can play with it and pretend it is original. Obviously, actually being able to pull it off is another problem. One of my ideas is to use a bunch of clichés to make throw-away stories. For this, seeing the “playing with” tab of TvTropes is useful.

Another reaction is trying to avert, invert, subvert or at least use the rarer version of the trope to be “original”. But many tropes are as commonly played straight as they are not. Deconstruction is common, but reconstruction may be more interesting. Also, many tropes can be unrealistic, but they may enhance the artistic or entertaining value. Certain tropes may be necessary for a genre. Defying a trope just because is not a great move, it should serve a purpose for the story.

This is a general introduction for me using the term trope and putting links in posts for further reading. As the many external links show, that are already many articles which talk about the topics, but I still hope to have some unique insight, a valuable opinion or something. In some cases, links will be used so I don’t have to explain the term. I will talk about more specific aspects of tropes in the future.

  • External links for further reading:

Acceptable Breaks From Reality

Anthropic Principle

Artistic License

Necessary Weasel

Playing With A Trope (also image source)

Rule Of Index


Trope Tropes

Tropes (indexes)

Tropes Are Tools

Willing Suspension Of Disbelief


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