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So You Want To: See A Template
So you've decided to write a story. You love to read (insert genre here), so you've decided to write (that genre again).

First, be sure to check out Write A Story for basic advice that holds across all genres. Then, get look over a rundown of the genre-specific tropes that will help you, hurt you, and guide you on your way.

Those guides follow this template:
All examples here are, well, examples of examples. Do not try to wrap your head around a story using all of the examples.

Necessary Tropes

The very nature of the genre dictates that your material will fall under these tropes. Learn to use them well.

  • Our Vampires Are Different: Many, many writers have already messed with the nature of vampires, and no two novels present them exactly alike. Familiarize yourself with what has been done, and see if you can't create something new - or at least revive a long-forgotten version. It might also be a good idea to research the history of vampire legends online or at your local library.
  • Big Bad: Big epic quests like these tend to have Big Bads; it'd be hard not to have a major villain and still have a good, workable story. And the Big Bad doesn't have to be a person, either - but you can read more about that on the page itself.
  • During the War: Well... yeah... hard to avoid this trope when you've decided to write a war story.

Choices, Choices

These tropes cover a wide spectrum of choices regarding a certain element of your story, and you're going to have to pick a spot somewhere on that spectrum. Unless we've forgotten to include something, and you can spot it, because in that case you might actually surprise us after all.

Note: Depending on how the Choices section plays out, it might get pulled over to the genre-free page after all.

Pitfalls

Watch out for these tropes! They're bad news - or, well, at least they're tropes you generally want to avoid - and they're particularly common in your chosen genre.

  • Glurge: Any heartwarming story has the chance of descending into utter glurge, and you should study the examples to get an idea on how to spot it and, more importantly, how to avoid it.
  • Purple Prose: Many Romances fall prey to flowery writing that detracts from the story and often makes it difficult to even figure out what is going on. Then again, there are those who defend at least a certain amount of flowery writing... and I wish I could recall the name of the "How to Write Romance" books I found that discussed the matter, so you could read the defense for yourself.
  • Mary Sue: Too many fanfic authors fall prey to this one. Not that a Mary Sue can't be done well....
  • Your new Reality TV show? For the love of all that's worth watching, please find a way to minimize Filleritis Filler.

Potential Subversions

These tropes are in common use throughout the genre, so we'll forgive you if you use them - but if you can think of a good way to subvert, invert, or just plain avert them, then you just might be able to start a new trend....

  • Space Is an Ocean: Okay, your average Space Western rides along on this wave, but isn't there some way you can reinvent the analogy, the terminology...?
  • Living in a Furniture Store: Yes, there's good reason to not make things too messy when you're filming a Sitcom, and it's not like we're going to notice it... unless you call our attention to it, of course.


Writers' Lounge

Suggested Themes and Aesops

Potential Motifs

  • Vampire novel means lots of roses and blood.
  • If you want your Cosmic Horror story to really creep your audience out, make sure to throw in lots of eyes. And maybe an Eye Scream to boot.
    • Tentacles will do too. Be they Combat Tentacles or the other kind, tentacles tend to freak people out.
      • Ofcourse, why not have both? Or in a true Lovecraftian style, create a monter so horrible the protagonist is unable to even describe it, other than saying it had lots of tentacles, eyes and pointy teeth.

Suggested Plots


Departments

Set Designer / Location Scout

Props Department

Costume Designer

Casting Director

Stunt Department


Extra Credit

Now, if you're really looking to bring up the quality of your work, head off to your local library (or jump on your computer... wait, you're already there) to study how the best (and worst) have managed to make it work:

The Greats

  • If you ever wanted An Anvil about the value of education dropped as well as an anvil ever could be dropped, look no further than The Phantom Tollbooth.
  • Tired of your friends teasing you about how extensive your world-building is and how it's all really a waste of time? Tolkien did it right, and boy, did he ever pile on the detail.

The Epic Fails

  • Harry Potter Fanfiction: Here's a short list of MSTings of bad fics, so you can tell just where they went wrong.
  • So you want to adapt a video game story to a movie script, eh? Let me walk you over to this section of Uwe Boll movies....
  • I'm not saying American Idol is necessarily bad (and in fact I do enjoy it!), but if you want to avoid Filleritis Filler, give it an objective look to see (1) what the audience really wants to see and (2) all the many things they don't care about that you could easily cut out of the program.


Here are the section headers for convenience. Edit this page and copy out the header markup below to paste into your new article. You don't have to fill out all of them.

Necessary Tropes

Choices, Choices

Pitfalls

Potential Subversions

Writers' Lounge

Suggested Themes and Aesops

Potential Motifs

Suggested Plots

Departments

Set Designer / Location Scout

Props Department

Costume Designer

Casting Director

Stunt Department

Extra Credit

The Greats

The Epic Fails

Trope Entry TemplateAdministrivia/Page Templates    

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