''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9305422/1/Courtney-and-the-Violin-of-Despair Courtney and the Violin of Despair]]'' (commonly abbreviated to the acronym “[=CatVoD=]”) is a {{short story}} by [[http://totaldramaislandfanfiction.wikia.com/wiki/User:Gideoncrawle Gideoncrawle]], set in the ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' universe. The story consists of a [[ExcusePlot loosely connected]] series of vignettes and is mainly a prequel to the events of the first season (''Total Drama Island''), although it does expand on a couple of incidents from the early episodes of the show itself.

[[ToMakeALongStoryShort To make a short story shorter]], Courtney’s parents [[ItWasAGift give her a violin]] of exceptional quality for her 11th birthday. Unbenownst to them, the violin is the infamous “[[ArtifactOfDeath Violin of Despair]]”, which bears an ancient {{curse}}. Courtney suffers a [[BreakTheCutie series of humiliating misfortunes]] as a result, with all of the prequel incidents being music-related.

The author describes the story as “a kinder, gentler [[RevengeFic Courtney-bashing]] story”. The [[WordOfGod author relates]] that he became disgusted with the generally execrable story quality of the Courtney-bashing subgenre, which tends to wallow in viciousness at the expense of [[SarcasmMode little things]] like story development, so he set out to demonstrate that a [[RevengeFic bash fic]] writer doesn’t have to be mean or sacrifice story quality to give their [[ButtMonkey favorite punching bag]] a lot of grief.

'''JustForFun/SumThisUpInOneTrope:''' RevengeFic (subverted)

Other troped works by this author include:
* ''[[Fanfic/LegacyTotalDrama Legacy]]''
* ''Fanfic/TheLegendOfTotalDramaIsland''
* ''Fanfic/TotalDramaIslandByGilbertAndSullivan''

!!This story contains examples of the following tropes:

* AllThereInTheManual: Not only does the story have a substantial [[FootnoteFever Notes]] section, but the narrative and notes also include hyperlinks to supplemental information on ancillary topics and embedded music videos for some of the compositions mentioned.
* AntiquatedLinguistics: Most notably, dates rendered as "The Year of Our Lord". More generally, a mild form of this is part of the author’s [[SignatureStyle natural style]].
* ArtifactOfDeath: The titular violin carries a curse that tends to bring its owners to untimely ends.
* AuthorCatchphrase: Beginning narrative sentences with "So it was that X".
* BaitAndSwitch: A meta example. The story is billed as a "kinder, gentler 'Courtney bashing' story", but it doesn't take long for perceptive readers to discover that the "bashing" target is actually being treated like a {{woobie}}.
* BookEnds: The first and last chapters of the story proper (i.e. excluding the prologue) are very similar. Both chapters end with Courtney receiving a cursed violin (the Violin of Despair in the first chapter, and the Violin of Doom in the last) as a birthday gift from her parents, and the [[SoulJar spirit inhabiting the violin]] contemplating Courtney’s fate.
* BreakTheCutie: The [[ArtifactOfDeath Violin]] spirit is initially content to repeatedly humiliate Courtney because it deems killing a little girl to be [[PragmaticVillainy not worth the effort]], but decides that [[KillTheCutie humiliation is no longer enough]] when Courtney becomes a public figure.
* BringMyBrownPants: Courtney's premonition of death on the diving cliff leaves her in danger of soiling herself.
* ButtMonkey: Courtney becomes the Violin spirit's butt monkey under the influence of the curse.
* CharacterNameAndTheNounPhrase: The noun phrase is the name of the story's ArtifactOfDeath. In addition, the story ends with a [[SequelHook sequel hook]] for a story that (if it ever gets written) would obviously be called, "Courtney and the Violin of Doom".
* CreatorThumbprint: The {{epigraph}} at the beginning of Chapter 1 is the obligatory Creator/GilbertAndSullivan reference.
* {{Curse}}: The curse on her violin is the underlying cause of Courtney's string of misfortunes.
* DistantPrologue: The prologue is set roughly 230 years before the beginning of the main story.
* {{Dramatization}}: The story’s core consists of three incidents based on real life incidents that the author either witnessed or heard about from the person who endured it.
* TheEndOrIsIt: The story's closing note of uncertainty is a nod to the sci-fi classics of the 1950s, which tended to leave an opening for a sequel when there were, in fact, no plans for a sequel.
* {{Epigraph}}: Chapter 1 begins with a {{morality ballad}} from the Creator/GilbertAndSullivan operetta, ''Theatre/{{Patience}}'', emphasizing Courtney’s good nature and the fact that she totally does not deserve what’s about to happen to her.
* EvilIsPetty: When the Violin Spirit decides that Courtney isn't worth killing, it contents itself with inflicting petty humiliations on her.
* HereWeGoAgain: Courtney acquires the similarly cursed Violin of Doom at [[BookEnds the end of the story]].
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy (1714 – 90) and composer [[Music/JosephHaydn Franz Joseph Haydn]] (1732 – 1809) appear in the prologue.
* InformedConversation: Most of the story's conversations are of this type. There is very little actual dialogue.
* ItWasAGift: Courtney receives the titular violin as a birthday gift from her parents.
* KillTheCutie: Originally content merely to humiliate Courtney, the Violin spirit starts trying to do her in after she becomes a public figure. It appears to succeed, but that success (and perforce the trope) is subverted with an "or so it would have been" disclaimer.
* MacGuffinTitle: The titular violin is the {{macguffin}} that drives the story.
* NeverLiveItDown: In-universe, Brittany Reid’s refusal to let Courtney forget an embarrassing miscue at their school’s orchestra concert destroys any chance the former friends had of reconciling from an earlier falling out. As a result, they become bitter rivals and remain so for the rest of their high school careers.
* PragmaticVillainy: When the 11-year-old Courtney acquires the [[ArtifactOfDeath titular Violin]], the [[SoulJar spirit inhabiting it]] decides not to kill her because it deems a little girl to be not worth the effort. For a time, the Violin Spirit is inclined to merely [[BreakTheCutie erode her spirit]] instead.
* PrepositionalPhraseEqualsCoolness: The title throws in TheXOfY for good measure and adds coolness by giving billing to the story's ArtifactOfDeath.
* {{Prequel}}: The story is [[DownplayedTrope mostly]] set at earlier dates than its parent work.
* RevengeFic: Subverting this trope, by depicting Courtney [[StoicWoobie sympathetically]], is the whole point of the story.
* SequelHook: Courtney acquires the similarly cursed Violin of Doom at the end of the story. Subverted in that the story's closing note of uncertainty is actually a nod to the sci-fi classics of the 1950s, which tended to leave room for a sequel despite there being no plans for a sequel. So far as is known, the author has no plans to actually write a sequel (which would obviously be titled ''Courtney and the Violin of Doom''); but [[WordOfGod he has stated]] that if he ever does, it might be something like ''The Perils of Pauline'' and would probably be openly pro-Courtney as opposed to the Revenge Fic subversion of the original.
* SignatureStyle: [[DescriptionPorn Description-rich]] and dialogue-light, with a flavor that readers have described as “19th Century”, “elegant”, “nearly poetic”, and so on. The author is also inclined to [[ShownTheirWork explain things in detail]], whether in the story or [[AllThereInTheManual in notes]], and to use "death and renewal" themes.
* SophisticatedAsHell: The description of the school orchestra performing [[Music/PyotrIlyichTchaikovsky Tchaikovsky's]] fourth symphony includes the phrases "pretty much" and "work their butts off", in marked contrast to the story's usually florid narrative style.
* SoulJar: The titular violin houses the embittered spirit of a former owner. Although that former owner's body is long since dust, the spirit lives on and enforces the curse on the violin.
* ThinkInText: Courtney does this when she realizes that a stroke of bad luck is about to causer her public humiliation. Italicized text.
* TooSpicyForYogSothoth: Initially played straight, but eventually double-subverted.
** When Courtney acquires [[ArtifactOfDeath the violin]], the spirit enforcing the curse decides not to try to kill her because it regards an 11-year-old girl as not worth the effort. Instead, the Violin Spirit contents itself with inflicting [[EvilIsPetty petty humiliations]] on her.
** When the 16-year-old Courtney appears on ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama Island'' and thereby becomes a public figure, the Violin Spirit decides that she's now worth the effort, and starts trying to do her in.
** The strong-willed Courtney eventually develops a degree of resistance to the curse unbeknownst. This resistance, however slight, plays a pivotal role in her eventual deliverance from the curse.
* TraumaCongaLine: This trope is the core of the story. Courtney continues to behave normally for the most part, but begins to lose her love of music. She just as gradually begins to rediscover it after she is freed of the curse.
* {{Tuckerization}}: The orchestra conductors at Courtney's school and the All Province Orchestra are named after nationally acclaimed band directors whom the author played under in high school and college, respectively.
* WebcomicTime: Inverted. The story consists of a series of loosely-connected vignettes that cover ten years (200+ years if you count the prologue), but the entire story was posted in a couple of months.
* TheWoobie: Invoked to depict Courtney in a sympathetic light, thereby subverting the “[[RevengeFic bashing fic]]” setup.
* XanatosGambit: In the cliff diving challenge, the only two possible outcomes are for Courtney to (a) jump and die, or (b) not jump, and be publicly humiliated. Both outcomes serve the interests of the Violin spirit.