? I saw the term on the site and thought, "Hey! Now that'd make a darn good trope!" Is this good enough to be separate from So Much for Stealth
? Lemme know your thoughts.)
The sound of a dry twig snapping is by far the most telling sign that someone or something is lurking in the shadows. A lithe, light-footed sneakster will not usually step on a twig. But for the bloodthirsty and the unwary, a dry twig is the forest equivalent of broken glass on the floor... but it functions like an airhorn.
It's distinct sound brings with it a sense of foreboding, and sometimes, notably, a sudden departure of background music. Depending on who snaps the twig, different feelings are evoked in the audience, but almost always these include tension.
If The Protagonist
or some other side character steps on a dry twig while trying to sneak through the woods, then the villain or monster will be alerted to their position. But it a villain or some stalker steps on a twig, then it is usually set up as a warning to the characters that they are Not Alone
; something is stalking them.
Stepping on a dry twig is quite possibly the most common way to err in stealth, either on the side of The Protagonist
or the stalking Villain or creature.
A subtrope (sister trope?) of Sound-Coded for Your Convenience
. See So Much for Stealth
, which twig snapping can trigger.