"Snowclones" are a form of trope titles, that rely on completely imitating another, older title's form, with only a small modification, such as replacing a word, or making a pun with it.
For example, this very page is a snowclone
of the Everything's Better With Indexes
series of tropes, as a sort of Hypocritical Humor
, and not because things are literally, always worse with snowclones. In fact, they can be a useful way of referencing an older concept with a small reference.
Unfortunately, just like everything else
, they tend to go wrong. If you are still sure that you want to use this format for a new trope title, at least follow these two rules:
1. The snowclone title should still make sense on its own
Always assume that yours will be the first page on the Wiki that someone reads. If obscure cultural references are frowned upon, obscure in-jokes originating from the wiki are even more so. If your trope title completely relies on the idea that "surely, everyone
read that other page, and I just have to make a pun with it", it is a bad title.
- The Obi-Wan -> The Obi-Wannabe
- In this case, the new trope makes as much sense as the old one. As long as someone knows who is Obi-Wan Kenobi, and what is the trope that he personifies, (and they are supposed to), they have an equal chance to understand the two tropes, as the added "wannabe" part already speaks for itself.
2. The snowclone title should still make sense in the context of its original source
- Shipping -> Going Down with the Ship
- In this case, the latter example was eventually redirected to Dying Declaration of Love, because even for people who know what the fandom term "shipping" means, it is very easy to confuse it with the thing that captains do, unless they read it in the context of other "shipping" tropes.
After making your title accessible for an outsider audience, also make sure that it is not misleading for experienced tropers, who are looking for
thematic snowclones. Unless your trope perfectly follows the older one's theme, with only one variation, don't reference it Just for Pun
- Lovable Sex Maniac -> Lovable Traitor, Lovable Libby,
- Here, all tropes are built around the same theme of a "non-irredeemable character flaw". While each title makes sense on its own, their similar titles further confirm the reader that their content is also similar.
- Everything's Worse with Bears -> Everything's Worse with Snowclones
- Yes, this very page has a bad title, and yes, it was intentional. We kept it because we are simply that laid-back when it comes to administrativa pages, but as you can see, this page has nothing to do with the series of tropes that are about randomly inserting things into a work for a certain emotional response, so it's title shouldn't pretend that it has. We were bad, but there's still hope for you. Don't do this ever again!
Also, as you may have noticed, we have some titles that people very frequently try to make snowclones of. Be careful with these:
- What Do You Mean Its Not An X: As it was said, in the past, these were used for many things from "the audience mistakenly thinks that it is an x", to "it is played for x, while it isn't really x" Don't use it.
- Crowning Moment Of X: Tropes are not supposed to be subjective. The old ones are kept for Grandfather Clause, but the wiki doesn't need even more. Don't use it
- Chekhov's X: First of all, read the Chekhov's Gun page and make sure that it is actually a Chekhov's trope. Second, explain how is it different from a generic Chekhov's Gun that just happens to be an x object, and why do we need to split this from that page.
- Our X Are Different: It is about a certain fantastic creature keeping the name, but being portrayed very differently in various works. Don't use this just to list usages of a certain monster.
- What Measure Is an X: This was supposed to be about the moral implications of not treating X character like everyone else. It got messy when people started replacing x with awkwardly worded versions that didn't even make grammatical sense. You probably shouldn't use this.
- Screw X I have Y: Another series of tropes that fails at the second rule, by being tangentially related concepts that all somehow involve ignoring something, and that's all common in them. You Probably shouldn't use this any more.