Just For Fun: The Tropeless Tale
"One of the things we tried to do with [Monty Python's Flying Circus] was to try and do something that was so unpredictable that it had no shape and you could never say what the kind of humor was. And I think that the fact that 'Pythonesque' is now a word in the Oxford English Dictionary shows the extent to which we failed."You're sick of all of those Trope Overdosed stories. It's getting on your nerves. Why doesn't anybody do anything original? You know! You're going to write one yourself! So now you compose a list of tropes, and cross out what you can't have in your story. Work something out afterwards.
— Terry Jones at the US Comedy Arts Festival, 1998
- You can't have a hero or a villain. That's okay, there have been works that did that.
- You can't have an Action Guy or a Non-Action Guy - nor can you have only women.
- You can't like anything you write about. That's okay, you will write about what you hate— No, wait! You can't do that, either.
- You will not go overboard with your descriptions, but you can't limit those descriptions either.
- You will not have a narrative in your story. That means no Dialogue, no Conflict, no Characters, no Plot. Your story will be about nothingness. Just a page or two describing the non-existent scenery that is utropeia. Or maybe just describing nothingness. Aww, nuts, that won't work either...
- You cannot avert any tropes, but you can't use Averted Trope either. Sound like some sort of Logic Bomb? Well, you have to avert that now too.note
- Finally, let's say that you actually do it, somehow, despite all the other issues we've mentioned. You manage to create a story that is well and truly tropeless. Now let's say that other people like your ideas enough to copy them many, many times. Now your tale is no longer tropeless, but the Trope Maker for an entirely new set of tropes, because that's what a trope is — a pattern of elements meant to convey meaning.
Look, even this page uses tropes:
- An Aesop
- Awful Truth: Let's face it...
- Break Them by Talking: That's right, go ahead. Try and make a tropeless tale. It is impossible.
- Poe's Law: Is this serious, or is it a challenge to all you writers out there with a bit of guts?
- Second-Person Narration
- Self-Referential Humor
- Schmuck Bait: Both the link to the Self Demonstrating page and the challenge to write something tropeless seem appealing.
- Unpleasable Fanbase: Even if you manage to create a tropeless tale, someone will still find something in your work to bash and/or criticize.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Even if it would be possible to succeed any work created that way would act as a trope maker for new tropes. If you found a way around that, "tropeless tale" itself would become a trope. Worse yet, since you're reading this it already is.