Playing With: Genre Savvy
Basic Trope: A character demonstrates awareness of the particular conventions that usually govern stories and genres like the one they are participating in.
Back to Genre Savvy
- Straight: Bob, the lead detective in a murder mystery, arrives at what appears to be a suicide and notes that it is Never Suicide, Always Murder in cases that look like this, and thus suggests that this case is a murder. He is revealed to be correct.
- Downplayed: Bob knows how things usually happen in detective stories, but he's hampered by a belief that This Is Reality.
- Bob has awareness of the Fourth Wall.
- Bob has a great deal of experience of the kinds of story he is involved in, whether as an active participant in previous examples or as a reader / consumer / producer of them.
- Bob's in a story brought to life. He's read so many that he can essentially spot the transition at once, possibly because it's based off a story he encounterd already. Now that he is confirmed to be working within the realm of what he knows, He doesn't hesitate a second to play off genre conventions.
- Inverted: Bob suffers Genre Blindness and has absolutely no understanding or awareness of the conventions of the stories he is in at all.
- Doubly Subverted:
- However, despite the fact he's in a Cosmic Horror Story, his knowledge of detective novels help him dismantle the cult trying to summon an Eldritch Abomination.
- Alternately: Bob might have been wrong in claiming that it's Never Suicide, but the victim was intentionally Driven to Suicide by someone who wanted him dead.
- Parodied: At the beginning of the murder mystery, Bob is able to outline exactly how the story will progress, right down to who the likely suspects are, who didn't do it, and who will have ended up doing it, based entirely on similar stories. He's not wrong on any count.
- Zig Zagged: Bob is alternatively Genre Savvy, Wrong Genre Savvy, Genre Blind and Dangerously Genre Savvy. The rules of the story keep changing from underneath him so he doesn't know where he is most of the time; at one point the story seems to be a murder mystery, spirals into a Cosmic Horror, goes from there to being a pulp adventure thriller before ending up back as a murder mystery.
- Averted: Bob displays no overt awareness about the conventions of the story he has found himself in.
- Enforced: "This is a pretty hackneyed trope / story we're putting together here; it'd be pretty funny if we had the characters acknowledge it."
- "I knew this was going to happen."
- Alternatively, "I've seen cartoons like this before!"
- "First time I've ever seen a Spit Take in real life."
- Invoked: The murderer is a fan of murder mysteries and is intentionally basing his crimes on the murder scenes in his favourite novels, thus deliberately engaging with and forcing Bob to engage with the tropes commonly found in murder mysteries.
- Exploited: Bob is Dangerously Genre Savvy and is able to actively use his knowledge of genre conventions to uncover and defeat his enemies.
- Discussed: "You watch too many detective shows; while some of the assumptions in those shows are true, there are occasionally apparent suicides that are actually suicides."
- Conversed: "Finally! A detective story with a detective that knows how these stories work."
- Bob breaks the Fourth Wall and discovers that his entire conception of reality is simply an amusement designed for the readers. His Genre Savvy ends up completely destroying the world of the novel.
- Bob takes the above world's destruction quite literally, out of disgust of the idiocy of its inner workings.
- On a more in-universe related note, the villains notice that Bob is Dangerously Genre Savvy, and acts accordingly. Unfortunately, that didn't end very well for the heroes.
- Bob's sheer Genre Savvy ends up writing his author into a corner, as there's no way the story would really survive with him in it. The author is forced into an early ending, abandons the story from a lack of usable ideas, or simply kills him off so he'll stop being a nuisance.
- Reconstructed: Bob is able to use his Genre Savvy to put things back together as they should be.
Back to Genre Savvy