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So Many Tropes- Is ANYTHING Original, even us?:
First of all, this is the greatest wiki I have ever seen. It's also incredibly frightening. It's the fact that ever TV show, etc is a mix of old personality/character types. It's also the fact that it has pinned down about every aspect of human kind's personality range. Is it possible at all to be an interesting person when there's a 'type' for it in existence? OR to create an interesting character? What makes a character type worth while anyways? And are there any true to female character types (Virginia Woolf once said it would be impossible to create one for decades)?
edited 18th Apr '12 7:18:30 AM by shecanrun
It is all in the execution. Consider ballet as an analog; each movement is known by name, combinations of the movements have names. The audience knows the story and the music. Yet, the combination of choreography, the production setting, and the skill and artistry of the dancers and musicians creates something utterly unique and beautiful in its own right.
At some base level, I can agree with you. There are only a finite number of tropes out there, and if you look long enough, everything's pretty much been done before in some capacity or another. But think of tropes like atoms. There are only so many different atoms, but there are an unimaginably large number of molecules that can be constructed from putting those atoms in new and exciting combinations. Originality isn't in discovering a new atom (though it's great when it happens, a rare occurrence though it may be), but in finding new ways to mesh those building blocks together into a coherent story or other such work.
There was never any such thing as an idea based on nothing. New ideas come from mixing together existing concepts and there's an infinite number of combinations.
Euo will do!DNA has only four neucleotides in common use on Earth. (OK, others are occasionally used by the odd organism and cell: hence "common". Just for those smarty-pants wannabes who might jump in. But, seeing as those other nucleotides are usually slightly degenerate forms, anyway... ) Now, take a look around at how identical every living thing is with these four main "tropes" to draw on...
Insert titleTropes Arent Bad(forgot what was correct name for the trope D:) indeed. Really, only way to create completely new trope would be if human kind discovered something they had never imagined beforehand
edited 19th Apr '12 8:32:45 AM by SpookyMask
So what to do now?
Once upon a time, a man said: "There is nothing new under the sun." He was wrong. Do not make the same mistake.
Generally, original ideas in any form of art (writing, music, photography, paint) comes from studying what has come before and rearranging it into a variation that carries a hint of a personal style.
CitizenIt's not the use or absence of Tropes that make a work unique. It's the combination of Tropes. There are only twelve notes in a scale, but you can put them together in infinite combinations to make music. Look at a hundred different buildings. They're all made of the same material; stone, brick, steel, glass, wood, etc. But each one is unique and original because of how they're put together and how they're used.
What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.
There are no new ideas. Only old ideas in a new way. Every possible story has been done already by The Bard.
A man of (controlled) substance.
Ore no namae wa WooserDark Confident stole my "think of it like atoms" line so I have nothing further to add. DAMN!
Really, it's not even correct to say that stories are built out of tropes. It's more that tropes are things we recognize in stories. When Huxley wrote Brave New World, he didn't decide that he was going to combine Stepford Smiler with Government Drug Enforcement and Utopia Justifies the Means via Happiness in Slavery. Instead, he wrote Brave New World, and then much, much later, tropers came and made a list of a bunch of things that appeared in the book under those names. I'm a math person, so here's one way of thinking of it: consider a thousand numbers to represent the books that have ever been written. We here at numbertropes.org then decided to categorize them; for example, the tropes page for "eleven" might list Odd Numbers, Prime Numbers, Rational Numbers, Numbers Greater Than Seven, Palindrome Numbers, and so on. It's tempting to think that numbers are built out of those tropes - that eleven is really nothing but a well-executed combination of being odd, prime, rational, greater than seven, and written as a palindrome - but that's certainly not how numbers are actually constructed. Likewise, just because we already have a thousand numbers and lots of tropes from them, that doesn't mean that all other numbers we could possibly "write" are pointless because their tropes overlap with the ones we already have; 181 has all of the properties of 11 that I listed above, but that doesn't mean that we don't need 181 because 11 already exists so odd prime rational palindromes greater than seven are unoriginal and have already been done. You can cover everything in labeled post-it notes, but that doesn't mean that everything is built out of nothing but the labels on those post-it notes.
edited 19th Apr '12 9:57:58 AM by ALibrarianofBabel
Never build a character piecemeal out of tropes.
Autistic MetalheadArt cannot be created in a vacuum. All art is based on art that came before it.
KarkadinnArt is exactly as original, unique and new as the artists who make it. And exactly as unoriginal, derivative and old hat as the artists who make it, too.
Furthermore, I think Guantanamo must be destroyed.
Just awesome like that
Really, only way to create completely new trope would be if human kind discovered something they had never imagined beforehandYou jest, but I'm certain there's plenty of things that not a single human being has imagined. That's actually a pretty apt statement. The problem with that is that everyone at least is subconsciously influenced by everything they've experienced, so even a seemingly completely original work will bear some resemblance to something else, even if that wasn't the intention. Hell, this is why cryptomnesia is a thing (though that's the extreme end of the scale).
edited 19th Apr '12 7:21:37 PM by 0dd1
Needs Moar Choppa
Why should I play the Roman fool and die on mine own sword? Whiles I see lives, the gashes do better upon them. -MacBeth
"Is it possible at all to be an interesting person when there's a 'type' for it in existence? OR to create an interesting character?" Yes. I'm far from an authority on this kind of thing, but the short answer is yes. There was never anything new, at least not new in the way you described it. Even the Epic of Gilgamesh was based on pre-existing ideas, notions, values, and, of course, tropes. Nevertheless, it manages to come across as unique, compelling, and interesting, because it is a good story. It is similar to how the Earth has existed and functioned by the laws of science forever, but we only came to understand it as such, in that way, after certain discoveries were made, the same way that, 6000 years ago, if you narrated someone the Epic, they would laud your genius, and now, if you did that, they would say, hey, that's the Epic of Gilgamesh!
I'm sure someone said this already, but while it is nearly impossible to come up with any original raw material, there is simpley SO MANY existing materials that you can make ANYTHING out of them. :D
They think me madYou're over-thinking it. Tropes are pretty much just labels.
to the last I grapple with thee; from hellís heart I stab at thee; for hateís sake I spit my last breath at thee
Very much so. The "atom" metaphor is an incorrect and dangerous one because it gets people thinking that the best way to write is just to take a bunch of your favorite tropes and stick them together, and that no work is anything more than such a collection of tropes. And that's really not how literature, or any other form of artistic creation, actually works.
Never build a character piecemeal out of tropes.
Yeah, numbers is a better one.
Rael FancyhatI think this can be summed up eloquently with art does not come from tropes; tropes come from art. Good stories aren't made by piecing tropes together; tropes came out of the stories! Besides, everything's original to someone. Say you have a writer who's never before read a story with, say, a Stepford Smiler in it. The stories exist; he's just never read one. So he comes up with the idea of one and puts it in a story. It's not objectively original, but in many ways, it is very much original! It's all in the context.
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