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.
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)
- Bellisario's Maxim: If a detail isn't important to the story, it doesn't matter and therefore shouldn't be concerned about.
- Emotional Torque
- Fridge Logic: Noticing an inconsistency with the plot only after finishing viewing the work.
- MST3K Mantra: Complaining about minor inconsistencies ruins the show for everyone.
- Willing Suspension of Disbelief
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- How We Got Here: The story begins partway through the plot and then starts to explain how things got to that point.
- MacGuffin: A powerful or mysterious item that the plot relies on.
- Magnetic Plot Device
- City of Adventure
- Walking the Earth
Twist And Turns
- Twist Ending: The ending is an unexpected or shocking surprise.
- Character Development: A character's personality and behavior changes as the story goes on.
- Character Derailment: Audiences complain that a character has diverged too much from their original characterization.
- Deus ex Machina: The day is saved because of a solution coming out of nowhere right when things look bleak.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Things go downhill because of a disaster coming out of nowhere at the last minute.
- Law of Conservation of Detail
- Red Herring
- Xanatos Gambit: The villain's real plan relies on manipulating the heroes and responding to their anticipated actions.
- I Am Your Father
- I Am Who?
- "Not So Different" Remark: Two Foils are said to have more in common than they think.
- Movie Twist List
- 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.
- The Psycho Rangers: A team of evil equivalents to a hero team.
- Anti-Villain: A villain who is sympathetic due to their motives and intentions not being evil.
- Hero Antagonist: The enemy of the protagonist is a good guy.
- Hannibal Lecture
- Kirk Summation
- My Name Is Inigo Montoya
- "No More Holding Back" Speech
- Rousing Speech
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.
- Serious Business
- Shipping: Romantically pairing two characters who may not be together canonically.
- Unpleasable Fanbase: Nothing the creators can do will ever completely satisfy the fans.
Putting It All Together: So You Want To...