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Tropes are elements within a story to help convey its purpose. A side effect to this wiki is that TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life. As your knowledge and understanding of the elements of storytelling increases, you become more critical of what you encounter. The flip side is that with this knowledge you are more capable of utilizing tropes in your own work. Being Genre Savvy about your own writing will only improve upon the work. Here is a list of tropes and concepts to help you.

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As this is a wiki, every link will lead you to another location. This is merely a good place to get started. The tropes listed here are good examples, but if you are looking for something more specific, look at the Main Tropes Index or use the search feature.

Remember, Tropes Are Not Bad. Use them, love them, abuse them, they love it all the same.

Meta-Concepts (The relationship between trope and audience)

Using Tropes

  • Straight usage: The trope is used in a straightforward manner, with variations here and there. Not bad in and of itself; it is how it is used that dictates its quality.
    • Lampshaded: The trope is mentioned (often humorously) by the characters, but still used.
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    • Inverted: If (A) leads to (B) when used straight, then inverting a trope is when (B) leads to (A), or (A) leads to (!B).
  • Subverted: The trope is addressed, then avoided. Subverted tropes can sometimes be their own trope if common enough.
  • Averted: The trope appears in the mind of the audience, but is not directly used by the story.
  • Deconstruction: When subversion isn't just addressing and avoiding the trope, it points out flaws and logical problems with its use.
  • Reconstruction: Restoring the trope and return it to being used straight once again by fixing the exposed flaws of deconstruction.

Script Speak

Narrative Tropes

  • In Medias Res: The story starts in the middle rather than at the beginning.
  • The Hero's Journey: The path taken by the protagonist of the story.
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  • How We Got Here: The story begins partway through the plot and then starts to explain how things got to that point.

Plot Foundations

Twist And Turns

Internal Consistency

Ending Tropes

Protagonist Tropes

  • Five-Man Band: A group of five heroes who each follow a specific archetype.
    • The Hero: The protagonist and leader of the team.
    • The Lancer: The second-in-command in a team of good guys.
    • The Smart Guy: The intelligent member of the hero team.
    • The Big Guy: The strongest member of the hero team.
    • The Chick
    • Sixth Ranger: A member of the hero team who wasn't present when the group was first founded and doesn't join until well after the other members have been active.
  • Anti-Hero: A hero who isn't squeaky-clean and willing to do questionable things to defeat their enemies and accomplish their goals.
  • Villain Protagonist: When the main character is evil.

Antagonist Tropes

Dialogue

Fan Fic and Fandoms

  • Mary Sue: An overpowered and impossibly perfect fan character who outclasses the canon characters.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: An adaptation makes changes to the source material because a completely faithful adaptation is either too difficult to realize or outright impossible.
    • Macekre: Censorship methods applied to localizations of anime that annoy purists.
    • Woolseyism: A translation alters the dialogue so it works better in the new language.
  • Serious Business
  • Shipping: Romantically pairing two characters who may not be together canonically.
    • Ship Tease: A work of fiction hints towards the possibility of two characters being a couple.
    • Die for Our Ship: Fans bash a character solely for interfering with their preferred pairing.
  • Unpleasable Fanbase: Nothing the creators can do will ever completely satisfy the fans.

Putting It All Together: So You Want To...


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