Wednesday, May 22, 2013

TV Tropes - An Interesting Writing Tool

So I put together a ton of these photos months ago, and I no longer particularly like this one, but I feel some inexplicable obligation to use it. So here it is. (Perhaps this is like the part of editing where you're like, "Oh, but I had a reason to put that in there. You know, five drafts ago." And the editor is like, "Yeah. Makes absolutely no sense now." And you're like, "Uh. No. Really. It does." And then you eventually give in to reason and delete it. Except, since its just a dumb header pict of me, I didn't.)

The Basics

So I accidentally stumbled across this interesting wiki: It goes into odd and really entertaining detail on a million different TV Tropes, many of which I've never heard of but, when described, sound eerily familiar.

The Scrappy & Permutations

I was introduced to this site via a comment about Scrappy Doo, the much hated, super obnoxious Scooby Doo character. According to this wiki, he's pretty much the archetypal hated character (he was linked to from a Reddit article about JarJar Binks, to give you some more context here).

But what I found absolutely fascinating was that from the Scrappy article, there was a link to (among other odd archetypes) a Replacement Scrappy article. This is an article about a character that is absolutely hated, not because of who or what he/she is but because he/she replaced a well-loved character. THEN they have examples (which I absolutely loved reading through). One of the more recent examples they gave was when Captain Gates replaced Captain Roy Montomergy on the TV show Castle.

And this was just for Scrappy archetypes. They list so many more. Just for example: The Princess Tropes (with examples like The Spoiled Brat and The Tomboy Princess) and then there's Most Writers Are Male (that's probably a bit more TV specific but still has some writing applications) and  Girls Need Role Models. There are some hilarious (and helpful!) insights here.

Some of these character types would actually be really interesting to play with as a writer. And, you know, sometimes it is actually fun to throw in a semi-stereotypical character. Say, an Arch Villain (didn't look it up, but I guarantee it's there) and then look at some awesome examples of the Arch Villain.

Actual Writing Terms

THEN there are actually writing definitions (so I guess this is actually a bit more than Tropes, despite the website name. Actually, I'm pretty sure some of the examples I gave above go beyond tropes too.)

One good one I read was Character Development which had a nice little note about the fact that you should really try to avoid Character Derailment and then gave some great examples of character derailments.


  1. TV Tropes is also a super-addictive way of procrastinating... once you start you'll find yourself three hours later still reading up on it and just wondering what your life is becoming.

    1. I know! I think I lost a whole weekend to them.

  2. I found this site some time ago and love it, because everything is SO TRUE. Turns out it's really hard to break out of tropes and be entirely original. I'm okay with that, though.

    1. Definitely. I think it's fun to use some of these tropes.

      Plus, they're pretty darn fascinating to read about and then think, "Oh! I just saw [insert pretty much anything here] and it totally fit this trope!"