SturgeonsLaw says 90% of everything is crap. Oddly enough, tropes are largely an exception, at least when it comes to the examples. Most examples are in fact neutral, [[TropesAreTools neither being good or bad]] examples. Or some tropes have a roughly even mixture of good and bad examples. Then some tropes seem to be good or bad by their natures (such as those on the BadWritingIndex).

Then we have these tropes, where 90% of the examples are crap.

Let's make it clear these [[TropesAreTools tropes are not necessarily bad]]. They often leave plenty of room for adaptation, and [[TheyPlottedAPerfectlyGoodWaste a skilled storyteller can play them well]]. However, they are seldom if ever used to build a good story. Hence they are the tropes most likely to demonstrate Sturgeon's Law; i.e. 90% of the examples are crud. Like the corollary, the remaining ten percent can be worth dying for.

Compare PetPeeveTrope and TropeEnjoymentLoophole.

Contrast FavoriteTrope.
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!!Tropes:

[[index]]
* AllJustADream: Revealing that the past episode, movie, season, or [[{{Newhart}} entire series]] was just a dream ''can'' be done well, if the journey [[VisionQuest was worth it in its own right]] (it helps if the dream nature is revealed beforehand). But most of the time, it leaves the audience feeling cheated, as nothing shown "actually" happened. This is especially true if it's used as a DeusExMachina to write the protagonists out of certain doom.
* {{Anvilicious}}: Some stories try to make a moral point, but some of those stories are so unsubtle that they wind up boring people and turning them off of the message. The aversion of this is SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped, where the heavy-handedness and lack of subtlety instead ''improves'' the work (regardless of whether one agrees with it or not).
** GreenAesop: Can easily become Anvilicious, but sometimes can tell a good story.
* AudienceAlienatingPremise: Some survive on word of mouth and go on to become cult classics, if not quite successful, but most wind up dead right out the gate.
* AuthorFilibuster: Making your opinions clear to the audience ''can'' be done well, but most of the time winds up [[ConfirmationBias offending people who disagree with you]] and boring those who don't care (or even [[DontShootTheMessage bores and offends those who agree with you]]).
* BlueAndOrangeMorality: Many writers are incapable of effectively portraying a truly alien set of values and morals. Usually, it comes off simply as [[AboveGoodAndEvil another variant of evil]].
* {{Bowdlerise}}: Some good writers have been able to make clean versions about as good as the original material, it's just that most merely substitute something. (cf. {{Disneyfication}})
* BribingYourWayToVictory: Usually achieved by deliberately making the work less fun for those unwilling to pay the extra money. Most [=DLC=] has the ''potential'' to do this, but only this trope makes it nearly mandatory by definition. If unlocking more powerful items or unlocking them faster makes the game more fun, there's a serious design problem in the base game.
* CardCarryingVillain: While they can be entertaining, they nonetheless tend to be [[FlatCharacter flat characters]], especially if it's made to be one of if not their defining traits, and it's very easy to make the card too obvious -- people in real life are rarely if ever that openly evil. It is also ''extremely'' difficult to pull it off convincingly in any non ironic context (I.e. Drama, most live action movies and tv shows) so it's largely limited to use in comedy or fantasy.
* ClipShow: These can be done well, especially if there's a creative FramingDevice provided, but they tend to be almost universally loathed by viewers (especially in the era of DVD boxsets for entire series). As a [[EnforcedTrope cost-saving]] [[BottleEpisode measure]], however, they are enormously important for any television show on a tight budget, so they aren't going anywhere.
* ClusterFBomb: Often overused to the extent of having no impact. This isn't to say either is in and of itself bad - but if you're just fucking going ''FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK,'' fucking asking yourself fucking ''why'' is a fucking good idea, because it can get fucking boring and lose its fucking impact fucking fast... though that can have entertaining results when the point is to do exactly that.[[note]]For two such examples, look up "Nakayubi" by Music/BuckTick and "Fuckingham Palace" from the ''Manga/DetroitMetalCity'' soundtrack.[[/note]]The trope itself isn't bad (no matter what MoralGuardians say) but it is one you have to ''think'' about because you as the writer have to ''make'' "fuck" an [[InherentlyFunnyWords inherently funny word]], or make it really express the emotion of your character as opposed to "must put in my allowance of 20 fucks."
* ContinuityPorn: Fans like [[CallBack acknowledging earlier parts of a work]], it's just that it often bogs down the script so that [[ContinuityLockOut no one but the hardcore fans can understand it]].
* CoupleBomb: If a real Hollywood power couple (current or former) puts too much of ''themselves'' into the characters they play, it can make the characters (and, by extension, the film/play/TV series) less compelling.
* CousinOliver: Faces the same pitfalls as the KidAppealCharacter, with the additional obstacle of a character being added to a formula that was working just fine beforehand. This especially goes if an older character is PutOnABus [[ReplacementScrappy just to make way for this one]]. Ideally, new characters should only be added if they can play a role no one else can (and still be written well on top of it).
* CrossesTheLineTwice: An offensive joke that falls flat is merely [[DudeNotFunny offensive]]. Touchy subjects are best left to comedians skilled enough to make them funny.
* DancingBear: A solid work can still exist with a gimmick. It's just that most works that fall under this rely too much on the gimmick to substitute for the quality of the work.
* DarkerAndEdgier: In theory, this process simply {{Retool}}s a series to make it more cynical and to deal with more mature subjects. In practice, the majority of the time, it simply results in an increase in [[HotterAndSexier sex]], [[BloodierAndGorier violence]] and [[ClusterFBomb swearing]] (not to mention those limit the audience of shows that had broader appeal).
* {{Deus Angst Machina}}: Having things happen to a character just to make them angsty could make the audience mad.
* DevelopingDoomedCharacters: Done well, these kind of scenes can add something to a work. It's just that most are [[EightDeadlyWords boring and annoying.]]
* DoingInTheScientist: Good examples fit the setting well and can make fantastic plot points more believable. Most examples [[AssPull come out of nowhere]], [[GenreShift don't fit the setting]], and make things even [[VoodooShark less plausible]].
* DoingInTheWizard: For the same reason as scientists.
* DumbAndDrummer: While it can be played well, it's also a [[DiscreditedMeme tired joke]] (seriously, who ''hasn't'' heard all the stupid drummer jokes already), and it's also a way to make a lot of actual musicians watching/reading (if that's your market) roll their eyes and laugh (because in ''many'' genres of music, especially drum and bass, jazz, HardRock, and HeavyMetal, drummers are actually one of the most technical members of a band ''and'' the backbone of its sound - which requires a fair amount of musical knowledge and skill)
* DumbBlonde: While they can be comedic, these days they tend to be flat and can tick off feminists.
* EscortMission: Can sometimes make the level more frantic and urgent, but all too often forces the player to unfairly compensate for their [[StopHelpingMe ally's]] [[LeeroyJenkins suicidal]] [[ArtificialStupidity stupidity]].
* ExecutiveMeddling: Neutral in itself and can result in good ''or'' bad things, and indeed there have been examples where ExecutiveMeddling has prevented a bad idea from being executed, closed loopholes and exploits, or got a work put past production. The more negative examples [[AccentuateTheNegative tend to stand out a little more, are more likely to be mentioned, and are more likely to be included on this wiki.]]
* FamilyUnfriendlyAesop: Unusual morals in a work can sometimes [[StrawmanHasAPoint make good points]] and [[ContemplateOurNavels make its audience rethink their morals]], but most of the time, they just confuse and outrage the audience.
* FirstWorldProblems: Can lead to AngstDissonance if not handled well.
* FixFic: Most of the time, these are written for DieForOurShip reasons or turn the main character into a PossessionSue. However, the well-written ones tend to be among the most highly acclaimed fanfics by the fan community.
* {{Flanderization}}: Can be used to rule out unnecessary traits and create an even more memorable character (e.g. Creator/BillyMays, Creator/ChuckJones' portrayal of WesternAnimation/DaffyDuck), but more often results in [[RoundedCharacter a complex character]] [[CharacterDerailment being reduced to]] [[FlatCharacter a one-dimensional caricature of themselves]].
* FlatCharacter: A character that doesn't receive CharacterDevelopment but still receives a lot of focus can end up being hated by the audience.
* FollowTheLeader: Sometimes a copycat can approach the quality of the original, it's just not common for that to happen.
* FranchiseZombie: A few "zombie" continuations are considered to be as good or even superior to the original, the problem is that most attempts end up being of lesser qualities.
* GenreShift: A change in genre can sometimes be done well if it's gradual, foreshadowed, and doesn't clash with the works previous setting. Most of the time this just alienates the original audience, goes against everything established so far, and fails to bring in new fans.
* GenericDoomsdayVillain: Most examples in media are often dull, uninspired, and in need of characterization but some can either be an [[NonMaliciousMonster actual force of nature]] or an EldritchAbomination, not intended to be a character but really a problem to be dealt with.
* {{Glurge}}: Sentimentality is usually only a tasteful thing when not done with a heavy hand, and when it's used to manipulate an audience it comes off as rather vulgar.
* HandWave: Can be used to gloss over a complicated plot point, but otherwise tends to indicate lazy writing.
* InNameOnly: You can still tell a good story that is completely different than the source one, it's just that most end up telling weak stories (often in the misguided belief that the brand name alone can make it successful).
* InspirationallyDisadvantaged: Can come across as patronizing to handicapped or otherwise disadvantaged people if not handled carefully.
* JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope: This trope can still make sense if it is justified, but often, it is used to deliver an {{Anvilicious}} {{Aesop}}, without caring about whether it makes sense in-story.
* JumpScare: These can be scary if the story establishes a creepy atmosphere beforehand, but usually they're just annoying.
* KarmaHoudini: When said villain is a Creator's Pet or escapes due to a DiabolusExMachina. This might make your audience feel cheated, or for them to consider said character a VillainSue.
* KidAppealCharacter: Very susceptible to becoming TheScrappy, either due to the character [[WrongGenreSavvy not meshing well with the tone]], kids [[ThisLoserIsYou preferring to relate to the hero]], or (in the case of [[PluckyComicRelief comic reliefs]]) writers not being able to write comedy. Examples that defy all these pitfalls are often just as beloved as the rest of the cast.
* KidsRock: Often seen as a mawkish, overwrought attempt to draw out emotion, or, depending on the lyrics and atmosphere of the song and/or the style of the artists, just plain creepy.
* KudzuPlot: Make sure you tie up most (if not all) your dangling PlotThreads. Otherwise, your audience is going to get confused and [[ArcFatigue most likely]] [[EndingFatigue impatient.]]
* LeaveTheCameraRunning: Some works need a slow pacing to achieve the best effect. However, most works that fall under this trope don't know how to keep themselves interesting as they slow down.
* LighterAndSofter: It can be a good idea to turn down the darkness if it gets too intense, but too often this can be the result of {{Bowdlerization}} or the intervention of MoralGuardians, resulting in weak plots and flat characters. See TastesLikeDiabetes.
* TheLoad: See TheMillstone.
* TheMillstone: When [[TheyPlottedAPerfectlyGoodWaste used intentionally]] (PlayedForLaughs or PlayedForDrama), they can add a lot to the work. In most cases though, the character ends up being TheScrappy.
* MisterSeahorse: M-Preg in any but the lightest of comedies (or [[FaceFullOfAlienWingWong darkest of tragedies]]) can be a very difficult trope to play out effectively. Unfortunately, it is prone to abuse, especially in FanFic.
* NonActorVehicle: Sometimes, if you hire a celebrity that is not known for acting or not even acted before, he/she can prove himself/herself a good actor/actress and it's possible to start an acting career for him/her, but most of the times, this celebrity doesn't have enough talent for acting and his/her presence will be just a [[{{Dancing Bear}} gimmick]].
* OffstageVillainy: We need ''[[ShowDontTell to see]]'' that the villain is evil. Being told so doesn't automatically make him/her "evil". It takes skill to finesse an effective DiscretionShot.
* PanderingToTheBase: Usually this [[UnpleasableFanbase fails to please the fans]] and only serves to alienate/[[ContinuityLockOut lock out]] newcomers to the series. When done right however it can cause [[SugarWiki/AndTheFandomRejoiced the fandom to rejoice]] while still keeping new/casual fans in mind.
* PointAndLaughShow: Will be seen as classless and tasteless, or at best as a GuiltyPleasure.
* PostscriptSeason: A few of these can be as good quality as the seasons before it, but mostly they aren't. After all, the [[MythArc main conflict]] has already been resolved, so where do you go from there?
* RaceTropes: Tread carefully with these; they are very sensitive issues, to say the least.
* RelationshipRevolvingDoor: This can become aggravating to the audience after a while. See YoYoPlotPoint.
* RomanticPlotTumor: A well-done RomanceArc can certainly make things more interesting if done well, but it shouldn't overtake the main plotline.
* RonTheDeathEater: Shoehorning a good canon character into being a villain or making a villain significantly more evil than in canon. This runs a serious risk of having them act entirely OutOfCharacter. You should have a good reason for the AllLovingHero suddenly being a complete {{Jerkass}}.
* RunningTheAsylum: It's just that most fall into the pitfalls listed in the description.
* SadistShow: How much cruelty is necessary depends on how relevant it is to the premise or its themes. Shows that fails to take either of these into account runs the risk of [[DarknessInducedAudienceApathy alienating its viewers]], and even those that do [[UpToEleven can still go overboard]].
* The SexualHarassmentAndRapeTropes: Rape can be a topic for effective [[RapeAsDrama drama]] and even [[BlackComedyRape comedy]], but usually it's either [[GratuitousRape just thrown in]] for no other reason than to be [[DarkerAndEdgier edgy]], or handled in a way that carries glaring UnfortunateImplications.
* SemanticSlipperySlopeFallacy: Might come across as comparing "apples and oranges" to some.
* ShockingSwerve: Twists can be done right where there's a subtle build up that isn't necessarily noticed originally, but [[FridgeBrilliance seems genius in hindsight]]. However, most are of the Vince Russo variety which are twists for the sake of twists, sometimes directly flying in the face of common sense or established story and character elements, and quickly begin to bore and annoy the audience. This is double true for Pro Wrestling, which seems to enjoy pulling baffling swerves out of their ass at every opportunity.
* TheSmurfettePrinciple: When said Smurfette is a FauxActionGirl or undergoes {{Chickification}}.
* StandardSnippet: Sometimes can be put to good use, but often becomes a cliche.
* [[{{StrictlyFormula}} Strictly Formula]]: Done right, even though all episodes of a show/installments in a franchise follow the same pattern, it can still be creative, the stories can still look new and fresh, and it's possible to [[{{SubvertedTrope}} subvert]] and [[{{DoubleSubversion}} double-subvert]] the formula once in a while, and sometimes the work can't be done right without it, but done bad, [[ItsTheSameNowItSucks the work can become boring and predictable, and people won't like being told the same story over and over again]].
* StatusQuoIsGod: Can be applied to comedic works without much consequence. Trying to pull this in a dramatic context, particularly if [[NothingIsTheSameAnymore a significant change]] is at stake, is cowardly and likely to irritate the audience.
* SubcultureOfTheWeek: Can be offensive to ''actual'' members of a subculture (and people that know them), because it portrays them as over-the-top caricatures of that subculture.
* TotallyRadical: When including slang in a work, for the love of God, make sure you're using it correctly.
* Administrivia/TropeNamerSyndrome: Making a good TropeNamer requires the title to be understandable without requiring people to be familiar with the original work. This is difficult to do, and so a lot of TropeNamers end up overly opaque due to FanMyopia.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: Some premises are best presented esoterically, and the fans of these works will appreciate the UnconventionalLearningExperience they provide. This trope becomes problematic when writers deliberately make their works [[KudzuPlot complicated]] and/or [[MindScrew confusing]], to the point where it comes at the expense of their story and characters.
* ViewersAreMorons: At the same time, don't insult your audience's intelligence.
* WereStillRelevantDammit: Often is poorly-researched, and comes across as being TotallyRadical. Can often lead to a DorkAge.
* WriterOnBoard: You can include your beliefs in a narrative. It's just that most use it to try to [[AuthorTract force their beliefs or issues into them.]] [[SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped Sometimes, this works]] but other times it can be annoying (and a lot of the time, [[ConfirmationBias it depends on the audience]]).
* YoYoPlotPoint: Unresolving and re-resolving plot points isn't bad in and of itself, but doing it ''too'' often with no justification or sense of lasting progress can aggravate the audience.
[[/index]]
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