Follow TV Tropes


Darth Wiki / How Not to Write a TLP Draft

Go To

You've read How Not to Write an Example and now feel ready to propose your very own trope? Some handy hints: For example, you should always put your examples in the description. You know you've done it properly when a reader can't tell what's supposed to be the trope's definition and what's its examples.

    open/close all folders 
    Trope Concepts and Names 
  • No trope is too general. Your Trope of The Work is great!
  • No trope is too rare or specific. Your Trope of Guy Named Alex Loves Beer And Is Secretly In Love With A Princess is great!
  • No distinction between two tropes is too meaningless or specific. Your Trope of Dropped a Bridge on Him (But It Happens On A Thursday) is great!
  • No trope is too non-specific-to-fiction. Your Trope of People Sit on Chairs is great!
  • When in doubt, name Your Trope "Crowning Moment of ___", "What Do You Mean, It's Not ___?", "Sliding Scale of ___", or "Everything's ___ with ___". After all, we're pretty short on those at the moment and definitely need a few more.
  • Alternatively, name your trope "Badass X" and just list every character who happen to have trait X and also happen to have seen some action at least once, even if trait X never had a major effect during their action scenes.
  • If still in doubt when it comes to a title, append the word 'Gambit' or 'Syndrome' to whatever you've come up with, regardless of whether it actually is a gambit or syndrome. These words don't actually have any meanings and are just intensifiers. Alternately, try and use as many of them as you can, as in "The Everythings Badass With A Crowning Gambit Of People Sitting On Chairs Syndrome".
  • It is good to name Your Trope with "The X Effect" where X can be any character, item or the name of the show.
  • Remember to insert the word "Trope" into your title because it's funny and not at all misuse of the word. Exception: Trope Tropes can never contain the word "Trope" — after all, it's misuse of the word.
  • Another wonderful fallback when you don't have any idea is to make a Sliding Scale. There's absolutely nothing wrong with your Sliding Scale Of War Realism In Sci Fi.
  • If you're out of ideas, just make a trope named "Chekhov's X" where the examples are "X happens to serve as a Chekhov's Gun in Insert Show Here". You can also make a "Schrödinger's X" and use all cases of plain, old logical uncertainty as examples.
  • Your Trope is only covered by existing entries if said entries are described using exactly the same words. Otherwise it's probably just a subtrope/supertrope/sister trope. Insist that the existing entry be accordingly split into multiple entries, each coincidentally containing the exact same list of examples.
  • Remember that the Japanese do everything inherently different to everybody else. Thus, remaking existing tropes with "In Japan" or "Anime Version" tacked on is not only perfectly acceptable, it's required. Don't worry if people start pointing out that your trope of "Baka Ball (Anime version of Idiot Ball)" is redundant. At best, they're simply ignorant of just how different the anime version of the trope is. At worst, they're xenophobes acting out of their irrational fear and hatred of other cultures. In either case, be sure to inform them of this in the most insulting way possible.
  • For that matter, you should try to give your new trope a Japanese title regardless of cultural ties. Why name your trope True Companions when you could have Nakama instead? Sure, the title is meaningless to anyone who doesn't know at least a bit of Japanese, but everyone on this site is a hardcore anime fan, so it doesn't matter.
  • Make sure you name every trope after your favorite example. Normal trope names just aren't awesome enough to properly capture that really cool moment you just saw on Your Show, so why would you go with something boring like Highly-Visible Ninja when The Naruto is so much more awesome? Bonus points if...
    • ...the trope already exists.
    • ...the character you're naming it after is highly obscure.
    • ...there are many characters with the same name as your Trope Namer. If your new trope is named "The Jeff", everybody will know exactly which Jeff you're talking about and why he exemplifies the trope.
    • ...the character has many signature traits, so people won't know which one the trope is about.
    • ...the fact that the trope applies to the character is a spoiler. (Unless, of course, It Was His Sled; it's no fun if you can't spoil an entire work with your trope title.)
  • Your best trope title is just one or two characters different from another trope about something else entirely. Have a trope about worlds made of dreams and powered by imagination? Try Nightmare Fueled, since people will be pleasantly pleased to try and find your trope and wind up at Nightmare Fuel instead.
  • Want to Complain About Real Life You Don't Like? Say It With a Trope! Don't worry that your sole example is a Truth in Television, once the Wiki Magic gets to work, no one will ever suspect that there were ulterior motives behind your proposing That Stupid Guy On The Internet Who Was Totally Talking Crap About The Constitutionality Of Income Tax And Whom I Would Have Proven Wrong If Some Fascist Mod Hadnt Locked The Thread When I Started Posting Links. Why, the exact same scene probably occurs in Far from the Madding Crowd...
  • While Tropes Are Not Bad, everyone knows that some tropes ARE bad. If a character or work you like shows up on one of those bad tropes, feel free to make a new trope that's the exact same except comes with a built-in-excuse, like Flanderized But Better Because Of It or Artistic License But Its Okay Because Its Cooler That Way. (Isn't that last one Rule of Cool?)
  • A good idea for a TLP is to take an existing trope and create one that's The Same, but More, or The Same But Less. This works especially well with subjective tropes — we have Nightmare Fuel and Funny Moments, so why not High Octane Nightmare Fuel or Amusing If You Like That Kind Of Thing?
  • The more, the better. Submitting TLPs is a badge of pride, whether they are ultimately tropable or not. Twenty per day is the baseline for good TLPing.
  • Always remember that 5P stands for price, place, promotion, product and people. The TLP is just a place where TV Tropes allows free product advertisement and nothing more. Naming your trope after a product, putting the slogan of the company underneath it and using the description box to convince people to buy your product is the only thing that you should do on the TLP. Remember this especially if your product is NSFW, since the ad server on the site is just too stupid to be able to display NSFW ads for everyone to see.
  • Everyone knows that Tropes Are Flexible, so you should make your trope's title way more specific than it needs to be. Instead of naming a trope about dual-wielding guns "Guns Akimbo", name it "Pistols Akimbo" and then specify in the description that it doesn't specifically need to be done with pistols. You'll be able to count on people to figure that bit out and not rely too much on the title.
  • Alternatively, choose a broad trope name that leaves out a central part of the trope definition. For instance, a trope about hard bonus levels should simply be called Bonus Level — after all, Brutal Bonus Level requires a few more button presses.
  • Instead of naming your trope in a descriptive way, just name it after a non-descriptive quote that happened to be said when the trope happened in your favorite show. People who see the title "What A World, What A World" will immediately think about the scene in The Wizard of Oz where this line was said, remember that the witch was melting as she said it, and know that the trope is about people melting.
  • Tropes Are Tools, but your trope is an exception! Give it an unnecessarily harsh title so that people will know that any show that features your trope is worthless garbage. Why name your trope "Bloodless Carnage" when it could be called "The Writers Are Pathetic Wimps Who Are Too Sissy To Show Blood Onscreen" instead? Bonus points if your trope is literally just a pre-existing trope but with more emphasis on the negative aspects.
  • Work pages can go through TLP, so just flood it with a bunch of works that don't have pages but you wish they did, step back, and let Wiki Magic do the rest.
  • Work pages must go through TLP before launching. After all, we only want good works on the site. That it lets you delegate finding tropes, writing a summary, or formatting the page properly to other tropers is a fortunate coincidence.
  • Use profanity or blatant Flame Bait in your trope name to draw attention to it. Why use Corrupt Politician when you can use Corrupt Fucker, Corrupt Like Hillary or Corrupt Like Trump? A bonus side-effect of using a Real Life example as your Trope Namer is that even if your trope ends up added to No Real Life Examples, Please!, the trope name will still serve to promote your views unless it goes through the complicated renaming process.
  • If you really want to make a new trope but are lacking in ideas, just choose a random animal and make a list of every work that has ever shown or just mentioned said animal. Everything's Better With Platypuses, Everything's Better With Toucans, and Everything's Better With Tarsiers are significant tropes that are worth recording every instance of.
    Even better, split your trope into two, one for good and one for evil representations of the animal, so you can contribute twice as many tropes and therefore be twice as cool. For these tropes, "Good" means anything from being a Nice Guy, to being cute in any way ("cute" meaning any time the animal is not ugly, and even then...), to being The Hero, to being funny, to simply existing in the background and not getting in the way of the heroes, while "Evil" covers any time the animal in question is rude, unpleasant, scary, or a minor hindrance to the heroes.
  • Another rich well of trope ideas is food. Just claim the food is inherently funny, romantic, or associated with a specific group of people, and list examples of the food being eaten in unrelated contexts.
  • It's clever and funny if you name your trope by making a pun on another completely unrelated trope's name. Finger-Tenting is boring. Naming it Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive instead is worth the extra length and obtuseness if it's going to make a couple of tropers chuckle quietly.
  • Ĉu vi scias kio bonas? Skribi la tropezan nomon en lingvo alia ol la angla. Dum vi klarigas, kio estas la tropo en la priskribo en la angla, neniu atentos. Bonusignifoj se temas pri lingvo, kiun TV Tropes ne subtenas. Kaj vi ne faros iujn ajn tradukajn erarojn, kredu min! Translation 
  • Another good way to name your trope is by taking an arbitrary number of words that are vaguely related to your trope's concept and sticking them together in an arbitrary order. Tropers can be reasonably expected to remember trope names like Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly and Ultra Super Happy Cute Baby Fest Farmer 3000 without having to go look them up every time.
  • Speaking of putting arbitrary numbers of something in your title, if your trope is about yelling, stretch out the word with an arbitrary number of vowels. Everybody will know to use 6 'y's when linking to "Wryyyyyy" and 9 'a's when linking to "KHAAAAAAAAAN!!!".
  • Running out of ideas? Think of a character, then find a few characters that have vague or superficial similarities to them. Presto, you've got a Fountain of Expies subtrope.
  • Another good idea are indexes. Find a bunch of works, then find a similarity between them, no matter how small it is. Then, you've got a new index!

    Writing the TLP 
  • Add your example(s) from the description again. Read the description above for the details.
  • Remember, Wiki Magic will not only provide examples for Your Trope, but format them correctly, add a decent page summary and then launch the whole thing. Therefore the best approach is a one sentence description with at most one example, after which you never look at it again. Don't worry — your vague (or media-specific) title and 1 sentence explanation is clear enough. Do be sure to punctuate with Seen It a Million Times anyway, though.
    The Work
    Y'know, the thing you're reading/watching/playing/whatever.
  • Alternately, just use one or two examples to define what your trope is. Use series known for having lots of tropes, so all the tropers will have already seen that one (if they haven't, well, they're not real tropers). No need to explain why they are your trope — "X, Just X" should get the point across. After all, if you pick two series that have nothing to do with the other, they can't have more than one thing in common. For example:
    The Most Awesome Trope Ever
  • Remember: Tropers have short attention spans as they're always wandering off to read other things. They can't be expected to go through more than two minutes' worth of ideas to get to your trope. In other words, a one-sentence TLP is perfectly fine.
  • If you can neither think of any examples nor sum up Your Trope in one sentence, write a confusing Wall of Text in which you go on frequent pointless tangents, contradict yourself every three sentences, and generally fail to distinguish between Your Trope and similar tropes.
  • If you feel that you must provide something more for Wiki Magic to work with than a title, "Self-Explanatory" and "How Did We Miss This One?", writing a nice long essay on the sociological, political, psychological, historical or scientific (or some combination of them — bonus points for covering all of them in one essay) ramifications of the underlying idea is an excellent choice. If you can't write at least 500 to 1,000 words, try harder — someone might misunderstand what you meant. Actual research and paragraph breaks are optional.
  • All tropes are either awesome or badges of shame. Any trope with objective criteria shouldn't even be thought of, let alone be created. Good tropes should be filled with nothing but praise and be described as defining points of "awesome-ness", while bad tropes should contain as much bile and contention as you can possible muster. Be sure to base all of your examples according to your personal preferences, too.
  • Everyone will understand that phrase you heard on a random forum and are using for a title, so Don't Explain the Joke by giving a trope description, just write "Self-Explanatory". Don't write a laconic either. If you absolutely have to write one, just copy and paste the trope name.
  • Don't bother to check for duplicate examples, and only loosers check they're spellnig.
  • Some examples may be duplicates. That's okay, leave them in anyway.
  • Under no circumstances should you explain or spell out acronyms or abbreviations. After all, everyone knows a seemingly random string of letters like AFGNCAAP note  can only possibly mean one thing, so why would you go with a normal title for that trope when the acronym is so much simpler, easier to remember, and not at all confusing to anyone? Exception: Captain Obvious can save the day with knowledge of said acronym or abbreviation.
  • Good TLPs are like volleyball, they're about 70% bumps. Never mind that you can bump the TLP by editing it without changing anything, what people love to see is 45 replies, 30 of which are "Bump!" or "TLP Bump!"
  • Always add "Up for Grabs" to every TLP you start from the very beginning. If other people really like your proposal, they'll be happy to adopt and launch it, right?
  • People may not be obliging enough to say How Did We Miss This One? when they see your trope. Therefore, be sure to write it yourself in the TLP.
  • You clearly know better than anyone on the trope/work you're writing about, otherwise you wouldn't be writing it, would you? Make sure to enlighten us all by including your theories and opinions as to what it really meant and feel free to use Wild Mass Guessing or even Epileptic Trees as examples, or even in the trope description itself. Those who disagree with you are simply wrong, so say this loudly and clearly, using as much profanity as possible.
  • Duplicate examples are a great way to pad out the list of examples and make Your Trope look more common than it really is. Make sure to put them far enough apart to keep people from noticing.
  • Remember to immediately shut down any jokes or wit that you don't like. If you don't like it, then it shouldn't be there, right? Besides, since when is TV Tropes supposed to be about having fun?
  • Is Your Trope so rare that you can't think of enough examples? Pad out the list with aversions! Add every work that doesn't use the trope, especially those that had absolutely no reason to use it in the first place.
  • Disregard all wiki formatting rules and writing guidelines, and formulate your trope as a forum thread. After all, the point of TLP is to discuss the trope you are suggesting, not to show what the trope would look like as an actual wiki page.
- Make up your own bullet points instead of using ours.

Even better, don't use bullet points at all.

- I remember seeing a few TLPs that used first person language. You should do that to sound friendlier and improve the chances of your trope being approved.
- Don't bother with linking to work pages. Wiki Magic will do that for you later.
- Your complete lack of knowledge is sure to tug at tropers' heartstrings and get you the pity hats needed to launch. Because somebody who has obviously only read a few wiki pages and never tried editing one is somebody who can be trusted with adding a whole new trope to the site.
  • Sentu vin libera skribi la priskribon en tute alia lingvo. Ĉiuj saltas al la Laconic-paĝo, do kial ĝeni? Translation 
  • You should always try to write a Self-Demonstrating Article, no matter how obtuse this makes the description. If your trope is about a location, write your description in second person, with the narrator welcoming you to the location and giving you a guided tour. If your trope is about a personality trait, think about how someone with said trait would describe the fact that they have it, and write that in first person. And, as the point above suggests, if your trope involves a foreign language, write your entire trope page in said language.
  • There Is No Such Thing as Notability, so you can force literally anything to become a valid trope if you write three shitty, extremely short fanfics for the sole purpose of adding them as examples. If you do it enough times, there will be enough links to your work on this wiki that people are bound to take notice and start recognizing you.

    Giving and Responding to Feedback 
  • If you have a response to someone who replies, it is required that you edit their reply. Who wants to read a conversation? Just spoil tag the original post (now that you can't overwrite). Oh, come on. Nobody would do anything so inconsiderate as that. Sadly, this doesn't work any more.
  • If you see a trope you think is stupid, just bomb it and discard it. No need to bother with an explanation. The original poster will immediately find their trope in the discard list and understand exactly why you felt their idea was not tropeworthy. If there aren't enough bombs to discard it or three days haven't passed yet, just edit the TLP and remove all the text.
  • On the flip side, if you see a trope that you think has any potential, you should give it a hat, even if it's badly formatted, has no examples (or the examples are integrated directly into the definition instead of getting bullet points), or is otherwise written like a forum post saying "Hey, wouldn't it be neat if we had this trope?" instead of looking like a real trope page.
  • If people can't figure out your "X... just X" example from an obscure work, then they just haven't been watching the right media. Make sure to point this out to them in the form of a string of curses and insinuations about their mother's sexuality.
  • Remember, on a Wiki where anyone can launch any trope at any time, nothing is a surer sign of quality than precedent! If people criticize Your Trope, defend it by pointing out some even worse ones that already exist. Bonus points if those were originally Your Tropes as well!
  • If a number of responses point out that We Already Have This, and give the name of the trope your TLP supposedly duplicates, you have two options: you can ignore them completely and keep adding examples, or you can explain in minute detail how your trope is different from the trope that already exists. The more minute or subjective the difference, the better. By no means is it acceptable to respond "Oh, okay then," and discard the proposal.
  • If you discover that someone else's TLP duplicates an existing trope, just post a message that says "Yes, We DO Have This One" and absolutely nothing else. After all, the sponsor must be a noob who needs to learn to find tropes on their own — and besides, you're too busy to spend five whole seconds on linking to the old trope. For even more fun, post a "Yes, We Do Have This One" comment even if you didn't bother to check, or know we don't have such a trope yet. In these cases, you may link to an irrelevant trope.
  • Anyone who criticizes Your Trope is doing so because they hate you. React accordingly. Be sure to use the phrases "nonconstructive criticism", "hate speech", "ignorant", and "narrow-minded" as much as possible. If they keep arguing then you can start calling them Nazis, assuming you weren't already doing so. Don't worry about getting banned. That just proves you were right all along. Why else would you have been banned except that you were totally right and the stupid, pea-brained mods couldn't handle it?

    Remember that this also works in reverse. See a trope on TLP that you don't like, or that is competing with Your Trope? Bash the crap out of it! It doesn't matter if everyone else supports the trope, they're all just hive-mind sheeple who don't see why the trope sucks! Of course, don't forget that anyone can edit the original post too, not just the person who first suggested the TLP. Vandalizing it (Penis! LOL!!!) is a great way of making your point!
  • Ĉiam skribu viajn respondojn en malsama lingvo, por ke ili malŝparu tempon tradukante viajn mesaĝojn. Translation 
  • If you see a draft for a works page in TLP, be sure to avoid giving any actual feedback on the draft. Instead, you should remind the sponsor that Works' Pages Are a Free Launch. You should especially do this if the draft has a plagiarized description with broken formatting and no trope examples, as TV Tropes is about launching as many work pages as we can without regard for their quality.
  • See a TLP that's awful and don't feel like just bombing it? Meme about how terrible it is in the comments section! While you're at it, start a bomb train and insult the user personally! Who cares if they're a confused newbie who just needs guidance, or if there's actually a valid idea behind it that needs refining? That trope and troper exist to be bashed, and you aren't gonna pass the opportunity up, are you?
  • If you like somebody else's trope, feel free to grab their draft and edit it to fit your own standards. Even if it's not labeled "Up For Grabs" and the sponsor was just editing it yesterday, that edit button exists for a reason. Hell, while you're at it, why not launch it as soon as you adopt it? After all, launching tropes is fun and easy!

    Launching the TLP 
  • If you can find a namespace more suitable for your trope than the boring "Main/", launch it there, so people will have it easier finding it! This is especially important for video game tropes and anime versions of existing tropes. It’s also a great way to circumvent the pesky rule that forces everything in the Main namespace to go through TLP.
  • If you can't find a namespace that is more interesting than Main/, just make one up. There can never be too many namespaces!
  • Using TLP is really more just a formality than anything else. Just go ahead and put your trope up as it is. No one will mind. What is Wiki Magic even for, after all, if not to let you be lazy? not anymore.
  • Need hats? Just hat your own draft and make four Sock Puppets to hat it too. Now the idiots who oppose the launch of Your Trope are powerless to stop you, no matter how many times they bomb — if they discard it, just restore it.
  • Just launch Your Trope without regard to replies! No one in TLP will mind! As soon as a TLP draft has 5 hats and is 3 days old, it's automatically ready to launch. If someone else's draft meets these conditions, you can help them out by launching it for them even if other users are debating whether the trope should actually exist, and it has 5 times as many bombs as it has hats.
  • Looking for something fun to do? Spam Just Launch It Already! on another sponsor's draft. If they don't respond, just launch the draft yourself! No one will care!
  • Don't bother cleaning up the notes that are no longer relevant as you launch your trope. Nothing says "quality" like your trope having "Looking for title suggestions, see draft for crowner" or your Audience Reaction still having "(YMMV)" in its title, or having "Looking for feedback on the description, I will launch next Wednesday" before the description. Similarly, if you see someone else's trope that has 5 hats but still has similar notes, don't let the boring task of removing them get in the way of pressing that big, shiny, beautiful "Launch Trope" button.

    Post-Launch or Post-Discarding 
  • After you've launched the trope, just ignore the post-launch message and the red link on the Launches page and let the wiki-gnomes copy-paste your TLP contents to the new page. That's what Wiki Magic and teamwork are all about.
  • If your work is removed, just upload it again with a message to the mods stating that you intend on doing that no matter how many times it's removed. Edit Wars are in no way against the rules of the site and won't get you banned. In fact, the mods will probably admire your dedication and let you have your way.
  • If none of the above things work, throw a temper tantrum. Once you tell everyone else how they're a bunch of ignorant sheeple, and how the mods are all fascist dicks, they'll be sure to recognize the error of their ways and give you what you want!
  • If your trope is rejected for some reason, look for existing tropes that you think also fit that reason and send them to the Cut List. Everyone will appreciate that you want to help the wiki by getting rid of other pages like the rejected one, even if one of the pages would create Red Links in over 2000 other pages, and even if the fact that that page exists is the entire reason why yours was rejected (ie. because Yes, We DO Have This One.)
  • Protip: Have you launched a trope with a "clever" name or concept that the other idiots on the site don't like? You can make sure it stays there by linking to it from another site and having bots click that link to create inbounds. Tropes with a lot of inbounds can't be renamed or deleted ever, so the wiki will be stuck with your trope forever!

And then you're done!

Alternative Title(s): YKTTW Guidelines, How Not To Write AYKTTW, TLP Guidelines