Unclear Description: Inspired By

Total posts: [19]
I chose "unclear description" as a tag, although "ambiguous name", "duplicate trope" and "not thriving" might as well fit.

The description of this trope is very short:
Hollywood dialect for "Research is hard." Semi-intentional Adaptation Decay applied to a true story.

So this trope is only for works that are (if remotely) based on real life events — even if the title does not indicate that.

It also makes two of the examples (of a total of eight) invalid, as Troy and, I suppose, Katawa Shoujo are not based on real life.

I am not sure, however, about what the first sentence of the description wants to say: Does this mean the trope is actually for films and other works that are advertized with the Stock Phrase "Inspired By"?

If it doesn't mean that, then I'm pretty sure this trope is only a duplicate of Very Loosely Based on a True Story, and should accordingly merged. But if it does mean the stock phrase, then either the title or the description has to be clarified: If it's about every work that is "inspired by" something, then it's not only about true stories; if it's only about works 'inspired' by real events, then I suggest the title should be Inspired By A True Story.

edited 24th Jun '12 1:58:07 PM by LordGro

Let's just say and leave it at that.
2 RJSavoy24th Jun 2012 01:54:58 PM from Edinburgh , Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
That description comes off as unwarranted complaining, even if it wasn't intended as such.

I suggest rewriting it along the lines of: "When a work is explicitly acknowledged as owing at its very basis to another work, but is not an adaptation either because it is rewritten wholesale or the original was not a complete story."
Troy was based on real life. Basically, real life got heavily mythologized, then they attempted to take the mythology back out, but almost assuredly left big chinks in. There's no way the Trojan horse was real or that the Trojan War really started over Helen.
There is no weak evidence that the Trojan War actually happened, unless you count The Iliad as evidence. The city itself was thought to be a myth until relatively recently. Troy was a (prehistoric) magical story stripped of magic but it wasn't based on real life.

edited 25th Jun '12 12:50:56 AM by rodneyAnonymous

Becky: Who are you? The Mysterious Stranger: An angel.
Huck: What's your name? The Mysterious Stranger: Satan.
The myth that launched a thousand fanfics. I need to write a page for The Song Of Achilles sometime
[up][up]That used to be true until 1870 or so. Wikipedia has a good deal to say on the subject.

As interesting as the topic may be, it's a derail. Even if the Trojan War has a historical basis, the Iliad is already a work of fiction (loosely) "adapted" from real life, and a work loosely based on a loose adaptation does no longer pass as "inspired by true events". You could make an argument that the Iliad itself is "inspired by true events", but not Troy.

Anyway, we got to decide what to do with this trope. Options:
  1. Merge it with Very Loosely Based on a True Story. Those examples that are based on works of fiction get deleted.
  2. Make it a Paratext trope about a marketing blurb and rename to Inspired By A True Story. Description could need some clarification and boosting, but the definition stays the same (assuming this is the meaning of the current definition).
  3. Make it a Paratext trope about a marketing blurb, keep the title and widen the description to include adaptations of works of fiction (like Troy).

edited 25th Jun '12 12:18:25 AM by LordGro

Let's just say and leave it at that.
8 Xtifr25th Jun 2012 12:35:21 AM , Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
World's Toughest Milkman
I'd prefer to widen it to include fiction, if only to allow the excellent example of The Dead Zone series, which is (IIRC) "based on characters from the novel by Stephen King". They weren't inspired by the novel; merely its characters. :)

edited 25th Jun '12 12:36:15 AM by Xtifr

Speaking words of fandom: let it squee, let it squee.
"No evidence" is an overstatement, sorry. Please amend to "extraordinarily weak". Also the "Iliad but not Troy" thing.
Becky: Who are you? The Mysterious Stranger: An angel.
Huck: What's your name? The Mysterious Stranger: Satan.
... Tangentially relevant: It seems we have no page for works that are "(very) loosely adapted" from other works of fiction. We have Pragmatic Adaptation and In-Name-Only, but we don't have a page for adaptations that are between these two on the Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification.

However, this is the one definition that the maker of this trope definitely had not in mind.

Edit: Another tangent — Suggested By is defined as a paratext trope for an advertizing phrase. But on the Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification, would "suggested by" and "inspired by" actually imply different things? Is a work that's "suggested by X" a looser adaptation than one that's "inspired by X", or are they at the same level? I really don't know.

edited 25th Jun '12 1:03:41 AM by LordGro

Let's just say and leave it at that.
11 RJSavoy25th Jun 2012 07:47:45 AM from Edinburgh , Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
We could reduce this to when paratext actually says this.

But my own choice would be to make it a trope. To distinguish from the fourth level in the Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification, it would be limited to where the original is not a complete story of its own, such as the Katawa Shoujo example.
[up] This may be covered by Adaptation Expansion (when an adaptation creatively expands on the source).
Let's just say and leave it at that.
13 RJSavoy25th Jun 2012 10:51:36 AM from Edinburgh , Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
[up] However, Adaptation Expansion means taking a story and making a much longer story from it, that (usually) follows the same narrative arc. What I mean is when the original simply isn't a story; an outline of one, for Katawa Shoujo, or a real-life event as with District 9.

However, this would exclude many films that use this phrase as mostly a way to pre-empt those unhappy with changes, to indicate the film-makers feel no obligation for faithfulness. Is there some sort of standard usage for it in Hollywood?
[up] That is exactly my concern. I don't really know what the conventions about the use of that phrase are, or if there are any.

But in any case, the trope should not be more specific than is apparent from the title.

As I understand it, the degree of "adaptation faithulness" that "Inspired by..." implies is that category #2 on the Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification I spoke of. The sliding scale calls it Recognizable Adaptation, though Loose Adaptation or Loosely Based On might express the same thing a little better. If it wasn't a Stock Phrase, then Inspired by... could well be the title or an alt title of that category.

If this is a Stock Phrase, then "Inspired By A True Story" would be a subtrope. It could be covered as an internal subtrope on the same page.

For the cases you mention, RJ Savoy, we have alreay specific tropes: When the original isn't even a story, it's Based on an Advice Book. When an adaptation introduces a whole new twist, it's Adaptation Inspiration. For adaptations of real live events we have already Based on a True Story and Very Loosely Based on a True Story (the latter, as I said, is basically "work Inspired by... by a true story").

I think indeed that we could need Loose Adaptation, as an intermediary between Pragmatic Adaptation and In-Name-Only. It would be on the same level of "faithfulness" as Very Loosely Based on a True Story, but for adaptations of fiction. But that would have to be an all-new YKTTW — this page here is just too meagre as a basis.

edited 25th Jun '12 2:08:18 PM by LordGro

Let's just say and leave it at that.
This is one of those very old tropes that got left behind as the wiki expanded.

Note that at one point, it literally had no examples. In fact, it wasn't until at least 2009 that it had any examples at all. It also used to be on the Fan-Speak Index, and no other.

Also, there apparently was discussion that didn't make it into the archived discussion page for whatever reason. You may find it illuminating.
Thanks Morgan Wick for digging out the link. It seems this trope (?) was never very well defined to begin with. But I gather it was indeed about the phrase in itself.

@RJ Savoy: You were right, we don't have a trope (yet) for when a work is inspired by a single sketch or painting. (Based on an Advice Book is rather specific on „advice book“). But I think this missing trope is too specific to be called simply „Inspired By“, it should be „Inspired By a Painting“ or something (The Girl with a Pearl Earring is a novel „inspired by“ a painting, for example).

For the general concept of works that are actually „inspired by“, as well as „suggested by“ something, the only trope we have for that is presently Very Loosely Based on a True Story. We are lacking the counterpart for fictional works, or a supertrope that covers both variants. It would be nice to have that trope, but that will require a whole new YKTTW write-up, and I see no way this page here could be the basis for that.

My conclusion: Inspired by..., like Suggested By, are paratext stock phrases. Now actually, we don't collect Stock Phrases, although already existing stock phrases are presently tolerated under the Grandfather Clause. I don't care much about these, but as cutlisting them will likely open the can of worms with the label „stock phrases“, I'd just go the easy way and rewrite the description so that it includes stories based on/drawing inspiration from works of fiction, for the stock phrase in practice seems not to be reserved for works 'inspired by' true events.

Are there any objections?

edited 29th Jun '12 3:42:21 AM by LordGro

Let's just say and leave it at that.
Back in the day we tried to find a definition for every stock phrase we could find. We tried to pin specific definitions to this and a few other similar promotional phrases (and stuff like Very Loosely Based on a True Story), attaching them to fine gradations in fidelity to the alleged original material.

This one kinda sorta makes sense when you reflect on the difference between "inspired by" and "based on", as the former implies that the story has gone considerably further afield from its source material... but with the way the wiki has evolved, I wouldn't say no to a cut.
My idea is that in the long run, we should get a "Loose Adaptation" trope that could integrate Inspired by..., Suggested By and "Loosely Based On". But I probably won't write up a draft any time soon.

I rewrote the description. I'll check the examples to make sure they are actually about the stock phrase. Comments on the new description are welcome.

edited 10th Aug '12 4:33:59 AM by LordGro

Let's just say and leave it at that.
I removed all examples that did not reference the stock phrase and dumped them on the discussion page.

Any objections to the revamp?
Let's just say and leave it at that.
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Total posts: 19