w: tropes

Petroleum, when you think about it, is definitely an escaped piece of worldbuilding from a twee gothic fantasy dystopia

“The elven civilization gets energy from poisonous, flammable rock juice mined deep underground, sometimes causing earthquakes in the process. It’s slowly roasting their planet, but they keep doing it anyway to light their disposable palaces and fuel nihilistic displays of opulent wealth. Its stabler aethers are used in cosmetics rubbed upon the skin.”

Kissing tropes that are giving me life right now

- when A grabs the B’s face and says “please - please” before devouring B’s mouth without waiting for a response

-  pulling back just for a second to try to regain control before realizing they don’t want to be in control and diving back in

- person A missing the first time they lean in and just catching the corner of B’s mouth and waaaaaaaaaiting for B to come in and fix it

- tender eyelid and nose kisses before finally sealing the deal.

- that moment where the world just stops and A stares into B’s eyes and they know they shouldn’t, but they kiss anyway

- having to lean against each other when they pull back because the world is spinning and they just. cannot. breathe. yet.

- person A realizing that they were just kind of joking when they kissed B but then holy shit do they ever get sucked into it and when A finally pulls back they are absolutely stunned by B

- foreheads pressed into each others, sharing breath, until they dive back in for more because they thought they were done but they so were not.

- that ‘oh hell is this actually happening?’ moment before it actually happens.

- the desperate pant/groan of surrender when either party knows that they are sooooooo done

Concept: taking the basic tropes of transhuman literature and mashing them up with some other genre so that the technological breakthrough that erases the boundary between people and their tools is something totally off the wall.

Like, usually it’s immortality nanobots or cheap cybertech or people uploading their brains into computers or whatever, but instead let’s make it…

… oh, say, magical girl transformations.

No, seriously: the breakthrough is that somebody figured out how to open-source transformation wands. You can download the plans off the Internet, and knock one together in your garage using readily available materials. Now everybody can transform into sparkly love-powered versions of themselves, and the transformations are getting steadily stranger as millions upon millions of people experiment and push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Where does that take us?

(I was initially going to go with “anime-style martial arts”, but halfway through writing the post I realised that Shaolin Soccer already did that one, so obviously the only solution was to go full shoujo.)

combining two different character tropes is my kink

Goth Surfer (”Dude. I want to die. But on this gnarly wave first”)

Rogue Herder (what’s he stealing? Other people’s sheep? I love it)

Berserker Valley Girl (you insult her bff & she sees red, carries a giant ax in her purse)

Bad Gym Teacher Priest (”I want to see some HUSTLE in that prayer”)

Gay Jock Cleric or/and Necromancer (resurrects his teammates for the Big Game; loves his bf, a zombie angel)

Genki Girl Monster-Beast (a huge werewolf throwing a peace sign into the camera)

Hawaiin Shirt Dad Biker Gang Leader (no leather, just Hawaiian shirt and dad jokes about taking out rival leaders)

Character cliches aren’t boring, creators just need to combine them in new ways

anonymous asked:

Could you list all of the tropes that you consider "feel good violence"?

Okay, “Feel Good Violence” is very simple as a concept. It’s violence that feels good, when you’re reading it, when you’re watching it on screen, because for the perpetrator violence can feel really damn good. However, that is violence when taken outside of context. It is violence without consequences. It is violence for the sake of violence. Violence that serves no purpose but to prove the character or person is tough.

Protagonist Sanctioned Bullying - Bullying in general is a fairly popular method to achieve “Feel Good Violence” because bullying does feel good. The audience sympathizes with the protagonist, so when the protagonist acts they cheer for it. Its not presented as bullying by the narrative, but it is still bullying. Usually it’s a rival or a character set up to “deserve it”, but sometimes not.

Making people afraid makes you feel tough. Many authors will fall prey to the sweet lure of bullying and not even know it because bullying is violence without fear of consequence. Most often, they’ve been the recipients rather than the perpetrators, and acting as the bully is a very different ballgame. It is an emotional and psychological high. You feel big, strong, safe, and untouchable. Powerful. In their worst incarnations, most superheroes become bullies.

Bullying is all about control, protected status, and freedom from consequences. An entirely fictional world creates the opportunity for all these things, with the narrative itself siding with the bully. Bullying is Feel Good Violence writ large in real life. It’ll follow you into the fictional world just as easily. Power is a high you never forget.

This is very common trope for characters who also act as a means of self-insertion by the author. For them, it isn’t bullying. It’s an example of how awesome their character is and how tough they are.

Everything But Dead - When the only morals applied are if someone died, the rest is sanctioned without comment. There are no narrative consequences for the character’s behavior, and everyone cheers them on. Anyone who calls them out is an acceptable target, usually evil, or the protagonist wins them over in the end because their actions are “justified”.

By Any Means Stupid - This is the “by any means necessary“ trope, where the violence really isn’t necessary and the author just wanted an excuse to paint the room red.

Unprovoked Violence Is Always the Solution - This is the one where the protagonist skips all the other steps and goes straight to preemptive violence against a total stranger, for no reason other than it makes them appear tough. Usually not framed by the narrative as bad, but it is. Oh, yes, it is. Worse there usually aren’t any consequences for the hero physically assaulting someone in a room full of witnesses because everyone knows they’re the hero, right?

Random Violence Before Strangers is A-Okay -  The protagonist disembowels a bully in front of their victim in order to protect them and receives effusive thank yous. Nothing comes from this. The bad guy is dead. We all feel good. All is right in the world. Except… violence freaks people out.

Acceptable Targets - These are people designated by the writer as non-entities and targets for violence regardless of narrative context. A very slippery slope that is ever descending. But, you know, it feels good? Sure, so long as you’re not on the receiving end. This kind of dehumanization happens in real life too, just in case you were wondering.

Beating Up My Source - You have a character who collects information from an old standby, they threaten and beat up that standby regularly to show they’re tough. At what point does this seem like a terrible idea? Never! Hey, they’re a bad person so you feel good, right?

Waving My Gun Around - Trigger discipline is just the beginning of this problem. A gun is not a toy. but you’ll find a vast array of narratives who use it that way in order to look tough.

Killing Your Way to the Top - You can’t really destroy organizations like this. Killing the people at the top will just lead to someone else taking their place. Whenever you create a power vacuum someone will fill it. You can’t destroy an organization by killing. It doesn’t work. But, it feels good!

Must Obviously Be Boy - Because female fighters are unicorns and the mooks have never laid eyes on a woman before. Usually part of a larger narrative issue with violence, but acts as a “get out of jail free” card.

Clear the Building - That time the character decided to knock everyone out to prove that they are tough. Weirder when it happens on stealth missions.

I Am Not Gaining Levels - When you’re reading a book and the character is fighting like it’s a video game. They fight everyone like they’re in an RPG chasing XP. Why? We don’t know, but it makes them feel good.

Let Me Shoot Him Twenty Times - We could call this spray and pray, but let’s pretend for a moment the magazine could run dry.

Magic Bullets - The bullets that go where you want, stop when you want, and don’t cause accidental casualties. You know, like the protagonist blind firing through a wall and hitting a four year old playing in the yard across the street.

Body Armor Always Prevents A Blow-through - Nope!

New to Training, Perfect Sparring - That time the main character took on their evil rival (school’s top/better trained student) in a sparring match and won, especially when it was their first day.

Sparring Just In General - The vast majority of Western media doesn’t understand the concept or purpose of sparring. Many authors seem to think its a UFC match where you just beat each other up and the first thing you do during training to “assess your capabilities”.

Queuing for Combat - This is an old Hollywood trick where the burden of a group fight is lifted as the stuntmen wait their turn to fight the protagonist. Particularly egregious in written action sequences where the author doesn’t grasp the concept of teamwork. It also warps the understanding of how many people its possible for a human to fight at once.

Terrible At Torture - Torture is a terrible way to gain information in general because it doesn’t lead to a confession so much as confirmation bias. The subject will tell you whatever you want to hear because they want the pain to stop. It’s even worse when done poorly, which it is 90% of the time. Usually, media uses it for shock value or to prove how tough a protagonist is. Torture is not putting a blowtorch to someone’s foot and hoping for the best. It’s far, far more complicated than that. Neither torturer nor subject come out of the experience whole. Besides, the unimaginative protagonists say, “screw you!” The clever ones lie.

What Is: Dress for Success - How we dress our characters is often necessary for crafting a sense of narrative realism. This comes in often as a reason for why its so difficult to take female action heroes seriously, but it happens to the guys too. Not a bad trope on its own, but often symptomatic of a larger narrative approach to violence that ends with “feel” and “good”.

Beautiful and Badass - This one is a very specific female fantasy, which is that you can meet all the cultural standards and definitions for beauty while being in direct defiance of them. These are the female characters who are never touched by the combat they engage in. They are always graceful, always elegant, always beautiful in motion and the narrative will pause to tell us this often. “She fights like she’s dancing.” For these characters, their supermodel-esque beauty is a natural extension of their being. They don’t work at it. Combat is incidental. It’s a set piece to tell you how awesome the character is. It generally amounts to nothing, serves no real narrative purpose, but by god the author is going to walk us through it in excruciating detail. Combat and character are separate, and consequences are for other people.

My Instincts Performed A Wheel Kick - Your instincts just don’t work that way.

There’s probably more, but that hits most of the major sins.

Keep in mind that many of these tropes are not issues by themselves. They often work when context and consequences are taken into account by their narrative/setting. Generally, this results in characters with no accountability for their behavior and exhibit no responsibility for their actions. The issue, of course, is that responsibility and accountability are what make well-written violence work. Violence often drives the narrative. It’s part and parcel to who the character is, and their decision making. It’s the difference between a character who presents themselves as tough or skilled and one who actually is.

-Michi

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Five Tropes Fanfic Readers Love (And One They Hate) – Fansplaining
More than 7,500 fanfiction readers filled out the Fansplaining Fic Preferences Survey. What can we learn from the results?
By Flourish Klink

It’s the complete results of the Fansplaining Fic Preferences Survey! What were the tropes people loved? The ones they hated? The ones everyone was like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ about? GO FIND OUT NOW! 

Nine nice surprises

1. The dead are rising from their graves. They have come to tell us that actually the afterlife is really great and not to be worried about them, they just thought we might want to know, nice to see you again, back off home now.

2. An ancient scroll in a long-forgotten language is discovered beneath the Vatican. Judging by the pictures, it is a document on the keeping and care of kittens. For several years, most of the world’s conspiracy theorists devote themselves to obtaining obscure kitten facts in the hope of being able to translate the text. 

3. A super-secret government project is working on a virus which could transform human life as we know it. The laboratory fully and successfully abides by strict biosecurity protocols. The project is eventually scrapped, and all samples destroyed, when it turns out that the virus only works on mice.

4. Your business recieves an order for piranhas and tigers to be shipped to a sinister underground base on a remote island. This is because the base is being converted into a wildlife park in the hope of attracting tourists, having failed to sell at auction to any villains because of a worldwide lack of demand.

5. It appears that an asteroid is headed straight for Earth. This is because intergalactic mail vessels are usually constructed inside asteroid shells. As it turns out, this is Earth’s first shipment of intergalactic mail. There are enough alien junk mailshots to keep all of science and quite a lot of religion and politics busy for a very, very long time.

6. You start a relationship with someone who, unknown to you, has amazing mystical powers and is liable to be drawn into titanic struggles for the future of the Universe at any moment. It is quite a fun relationship and you remember it fondly. You both agreed to call it a day after a few months due to clashing schedules, but you remain friends and the parting was pretty amicable.

7. A giant tentacle rises from the sea South of Tokyo, enthusiastically waves hello, and disappears back forever into the ocean from whence it came.

8. You defeat a charismatic and sexy villain. They stay defeated.

9. A maverick scientist has brought velociraptors back to life. They are small and oddly cute, and they turn out to make great pets.

DCTV sure does love evil versions of its heroes...

Originally posted by justbarryallen

(Evil Barry is a dick but I’m assuming his time in the speedforce helped make him a little unstable)

Originally posted by gifs-serietv

(In Ollie’s defense, he was faking it)

Originally posted by zor-eluthor

(Drugged, not her fault)

Originally posted by knightlley

(Brainwashing…)

Originally posted by fatedxdestiny

(More brainwashing…)

Originally posted by ittybittymattycommittee

(Legends really likes brainwashing, okay?)

Originally posted by thecrooktomyassasin

(And then there’s this guy. No excuse. Just an asshole.)

How to Steal: Good Writers Borrow

Originally posted by slytherin-bookworm-guy

Good writers borrow. Great writers steal. -T.S. Eliot *

This is great writing advice, but many people are wary about following it because they misunderstand what the terms “borrowing” and “stealing” mean in this context. 

I’m here to clarify. 

Borrowing is using something of someone else’s. Stealing is making something your own. 

This advice means two things:

1. Don’t be afraid of reusing elements from books you love.

I’ve spoken before about stealing in How to Steal: Know Your Tropes. When you see story elements** in a book you love, don’t think that they’re now off-limits to you forever. Just because you love The Great Gatsby and it’s set in 1920s New York doesn’t mean that you can now never write a story set in 1920s New York. Just because you love I Capture the Castle and it’s written as the protagonist’s journal, doesn’t mean you can never write a novel that takes the form of the protagonist’s journal. Just because Scooby-Doo… you get my point by now, don’t you? 

Take note of what you love in other stories.*** Remember those elements–the plot twists, character arcs, tropes, settings, etc.–and then use them to write a story full of things you love. 

2. Make the things you steal your own.

Borrowing, in this definition, would be writing about a 1920s bootlegger in love with the girl across the way, trying desperately to impress her with his wealth. You’re stealing from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby… and making it no less F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story. 

This example steals too much from one place. It’s too timid in it’s approach. it’s too afraid to take anything from the story, so it keeps everything the same. Anything that tries to be like Gatsby, but better is destined to fail. (Maybe a little like Gatsby himself. Just throw a bigger party, old sport! That’ll do the trick!) 

The key to stealing is stealing from multiple things at once until it looks like your very own thing. Stealing is writing a novel about a gang of mystery solving teenagers in 1920s New York, told in the form of a journal the group takes turns writing in. (Because we’re going to add a splash of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants here.) 

Stealing is saying: these story elements are mine now and I’m going to use them the way I like, combined with my interests. And you know what? By stealing bits and pieces from all of the things you love, you’re creating something unique and new and wonderful

So go out there. And steal. Never borrow. 

*****

*This is commonly attributed to him at least. The internet tells me he definitely said something close to it. 

**Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the words themselves. Never steal somebody else’s words. Basically everything else is up for grabs, though. 

***You’re not limited to stealing from books. Steal from movies. From TV shows. From plays. From epic poetry. From that anecdote your neighbor told you last week. 

ship tropes i am weak for

Puppydog lovers - light up when the other enters a room, lots of casual affection (that makes the recipiant blush and forget what they were talking about), you can practically see the tails wagging whenever they are together.

Big Loves - these people have been through so much yet keep coming back to each other, theyre hearts are formed from the same clay and beat in time, this is the couple that shapes centuries and worlds.

Blushies - shy, new to the relationship, being caught glancing at one another and looking away (but turning bright red), brushing fingers.

Bros - bbfsies4lyfe, draped over each other while watching tv, ‘hey gimmie some more natchos bro’ *drops natchos in their partners open mouth*,  not that big on pda but are somehow always touching each other.

????? - insult each other constantly, are they dating? do they even like each other?, dickweed as a pet name, get up in each others faces when arguing, (never argue about the big things), drift compatible, when they team up they can destroy worlds.

Opposites Attract #1- the puppy and the vampire, temper each other, youre the only one that makes me smile, dragging each other around the place.

Opposites Attract #2 - the hero and the villain, lot of ????? characteristics, hatesex, so much hatesex, the only time i feel alive is when im fighting you.


this is by no means an exhaustive list, feel free to add on!!!! also ships can be more than one, or move from one into another. tag a ship and which types they fit into

Eight of the strongest female characters

1. She was so strong that our hero, who had always admired her strength, was moved by her murder to find within himself the power to finally defeat the Platinum Wraith.

2. Her physical awesomeness was such that armour would have only hampered her. Since she had solemnly sworn to uphold the rule of law and that included the part on public decency, she always made sure to wear at least a bra and some shorts, even though she could probably have beaten that spider god first time if it hadn’t been for the sticking-in underwire.

3. She was so strong that her only weakness was love. And also generosity. And wistfulness, that was also her only weakness. And maybe anger. But apart from feelings, she was totally as strong as all the other strong people.

4. Actually her strength was feelings. But in a science way. Through the brilliant alchemy of her brain, she was able to show that Einstein’s equations solved perfectly for all quantum universes if corrected for the force of love. And goodness me, wasn’t it fortunate that she found her own capacity for love just as her planet fell towards the black hole?

5. She could punch through a brick wall, leap over a canyon and stink out a hyena den. Unable to secure an advertising contract, she had to fall back on stress-testing superhero armour in a factory to pay the bills.

6. Her strength came entirely from within; from that deep, secret, mysterious and kind of moist place inside her where the moon’s pallid magic weaves its unknowable mystery.

7. She was definitely the strongest at sass and at least in the top ten at flirting. Some of the younger members of the team suspected that she might not have any real hero powers at all, but every time the issue came up she would fire off approximately a mega-bant of sass, leaving them disarmed and gasping.

8. Everyone agreed that she was as strong as ten women; so strong, in fact, that there was no need to even have the other nine women in the team, which was absolutely great, you’ve no idea how helpful that is, because there are only eleven seats on the hero bus and the others have already been promised to men and have you seen the prices of new buses these days?

3

I love these trope examples of nonhuman characters not understanding human needs/customs but still being super supportive of their human companion by @sepulchritude, and so I couldn’t resist drawing them. The best part was coming up with the aliens! :D (Yes centaurs are cool, I don’t see why that’s important.) Hope I did your headcanons proud, @sepulchritude​! 

you’ve heard of enemies to lovers now get ready for

enemies who respect each other despite being on different sides and slowly learn to understand and support the other while trying not to show their changing feelings, enemies who no longer want to be enemies but see no other way, enemies who become reluctant friends and form a deep and meaningful bond built on trust and complete, true knowledge of who the other is, good and bad and everything in between, enemies who become friends who become more, friends who try to convince themselves that there could never be more, that they don’t deserve the other, that it could never work, that there is too much at risk, friends who cant fight the feeling any longer bc it is agony, friends touching each other gently and craving the other’s presence, friends who know and love each other and who fall in love, sometimes slowly, sometimes with aprubt realization, friends who cant believe they once were enemies and can even less believe that they now are lovers. get ready for enemies to friends to lovers.

Guide to TV Tropes, Part 1: Tropes are Not Bad

Pylon @constablewrites here! You may know me as the one who likes sending people to TV Tropes. The site is a fantastic resource and can really help writers develop their understanding of story–but it can also be intimidating and frankly dangerous. So I’m here to share some wisdom not just about the site, but about the idea of tropes in the first place.

What is a trope?

Let’s start by defining terms here. For our purposes, a trope is a specific storytelling element that is recognizable in multiple works. The concept of having characters, of stories having acts like plays, of multiple plotlines, all those basic, fundamental concepts are technically tropes.

This is a very broad definition, but that’s on purpose. It’s difficult to discuss something that doesn’t have a name, so that’s what tropes are: a way to give names to those concepts and elements we recognize so we can talk about them, and so that we can be clear that we’re talking about the same thing.

But people talk about tropes like they’re a bad thing.

When someone uses “trope” in a pejorative way, they’re usually talking about a trope that is deployed uncritically, without new context. Tropes can very easily become cliches when they get regurgitated wholesale, but that does not make a trope inherently bad, and that doesn’t mean that new life can’t be breathed into tired tropes.

So why is it important to know tropes?

Essentially, it’s hard to break the rules effectively if you don’t know what they are. Media doesn’t exist in a vacuum; your story is in conversation with everything that came before and everything that will come after. You know that guy who tries to hide that he came to class late, until he smugly makes a point that was already thoroughly discussed 20 minutes ago? Don’t be that guy. (Want to know how many people are out there hawking Hunger Games clones who genuinely have no idea that franchise exists? It’s a much higher number than you just thought of, I promise you.)

What about originality? If it’s been done before it’s not original!

Think of tropes like Lego bricks. It’s not about what bits you have, it’s about how you put them together. That’s how you can take most of the same pieces from this:

…and end up with this:

Take a bunch of spy tropes that have been overused to the point of parody and give them to superheroes, and you have something that feels fresh. A stock character that’s usually male might look very different as a female, even if they otherwise fulfill the same role. Throwing film noir and detective tropes into a setting with magic and monsters invented a whole new genre. And so on. You don’t have to reinvent or twist every element to have something new; you can get just as much mileage out of turning a single trope on its head and thoroughly exploring the implications of that.

Ultimately, you can’t mess with audience expectations if you don’t know what they are. That one death in Avengers: Age of Ultron completely shocked me because the movie is screaming at the top of its lungs that it’s gonna kill a different character. (Worth noting is that I saw it with a friend who didn’t pick up on those cues at all, and thus had a completely different reaction. Knowing those expectations can cut both ways.) Tropes represent the shared language of storytelling that your readers have learned, consciously and subconsciously, and are bringing to the table. You need to understand that language if you want to speak to them effectively.

Hopefully now you understand why it might be beneficial to spend some time on TV Tropes. But don’t dive in just yet! Otherwise you’ll emerge blinking into the light a week later, muttering about egregious sliding scales and realizing that no one’s been feeding your cat and you probably don’t have a job anymore. Tune in next time where we’ll discuss how to use the site effectively and avoid the black hole.


Edit by Werew: Here is the next part of this post! Happy Troping!

Fanfiction Tropes I’ll Never Get Tired of
  • lab partners (bonus if it’s a high school bio or chem assignment)
  • nerd and jock
  • detention
  • body switching
  • best friends since childhood
  • just pretending to hate each other
  • new college roommate
  • academic rivalry
  • sports rivalry
  • reincarnation
  • kissing to keep cover in a spy AU
  • enemies to friends to lovers
  • chapped lips
  • high school/college AUs