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Sandbox / Telcontar

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Tel has a sandbox to play in, yay! You can build sandcastles here too, but play nice.

Trope ideas

These are ones that I have thought of but can't be bothered to put through YKTTW, have no examples for, etc.. You can edit them or add examples as you please — just tell me first. Maybe someday I'll take these things further.

  • Action Radii: Primarily a Comic Book trope, this is when the background of a panel or page consists of action lines radiating out from the focus of the page. This technique gives whatever is there more impact and draws the eye to it, especially if the lines are thick and use contrasting colours. Because Power Glows, there might be a bright light (or at least the appearance of it because of the lines) in the center of the image, again bringing focus there. It can also make a character appear to be running out of the page; if so, it's a Sister Trope to Speed Stripes, since the "stripes" are coming right at you rather than moving horizontally.
    • These are used a lot in Ears for Elves, especially when a character is shouting. Although they are normally grey or black lines over the surrounding people and objects, such as when elves are fighting in preparation for the Trials and have these lines emitting from wherever their weapons are, some examples are more bold, here emphasising Tanna's surprise at something offscreen.

  • Dropping The Beat: A song — in particular one that's going to do some Epic Rocking — will begin with a quiet, high, or melodic introduction without any strong beat. After a few bars, however, the beat drops and the bass kicks in, signalling the start of the main loud song. May be preceded with a shout of "one — two — one-two-three-four!".
    • "Carpe Noctem" ("Seize the Night") from Tanz Der Vampire starts with a couple verses sung high by a single vampire. There is some accompaniment, but it is not thickly textured. Then the beat drops like thunder. The music pulls back during the next vocal section, but trumpets, drums, and harsh screams have made their difference.

  • Drummer Boy: The Drummer Boy is a common child role in the army or Royal Guard. Playing the drum is seen as a game and can be a goal for boys as young as six, especially if there's a nice uniform to wear (and if there is, you can bet he has a blonde page-boy bob to go with it), without understanding what being in the military can entail and instead just acting patriotic and having fun. Often the army equivalent of the navy's Little Stowaway character, he can be a mascot for the band and is loved by everyone in-story whilst breaking the hearts of parents and readers should anything at all happen to him.

  • Flute Of Melancholy: The long notes of a flute, more than other wind instruments, are high, clear, and cold. A Tear Jerker in music, a single flute is often played at sad or lonely times. You can bet that the instrument itself will be made of glass or metal rather than wood, other instruments will play piano or be silenced altogether, and the key will be minor, the better to capture desperation and desolation. This is a Sister Trope to Playing the Heart Strings.
    • The main theme of A Short Stay In Switzerland, a film about Dr Anne Turner's illness and suicide, is a lilting flute melody.

  • Luminice: The perfect way to illuminate an Ice Palace is to use crystal clear, glowing ice. It avoids the melted patches that candles or torches leave, and means you don't have to worry about cables showing through transparent walls. The eerie touch it lends to cold halls is also perfect for whatever Snow Queen is living there. Blue is the most common colour because it is so associated with water and ice, but since having actors constantly lit like that is hard on the eyes, a rainbow of colours might be used.

    The name is a tropemanteau of "luminous" and "ice". This trope can actually happen in Real Life because snow and ice reflect light very well, meaning that on a snowy night you may not need a torch. Expect this trope to feature in the Slippy-Slidey Ice World too. If the ice caverns are deep in a mountain, this trope might be implied by Hollywood Darkness.
    • Lindsey Stirling's music video for "Crystallize" is set in an Ice Palace. She dances through the snow both in the courtyard and in its corridors, and when the camera cuts to nighttime the walls and towers are lit up with many colours.

  • Off Balance Off Beat: One, two, three, four. The standard beat, probably backed by a good bit of percussion, is something easy to walk or march to and a constant feeling in the mind of the audience. Subverting it, therefore, throws everyone off balance, whether the time signature is three-four or four-four or six-eight or something else. This can be literal, when a dancer is half a step out of in-story music, probably treading on everyone's toes as a result. It can also be the soundtrack staying just out of time from the events (Mickey Mousing for a villain who isn't going to conform), throwing the audience out. A literal Broken Record may lead to this if it gets messed up.
    • The beginning of Emilie Autumn's song "Gothic Lolita" consists of a simple pattern on a single percussive instrument. The steady 3/4 beat is messed up after a few rounds, however, setting the disconcerting tone for the song.

  • Snow Chimes (or the broader Glittering Music): Twinkling snow, sparking ice, glittering crystals… And what better way to reflect this in music than through delicate chimes or a glockenspiel? There may be a bell for every time a snowflake gleams, or there may be just everything chiming away, the clear sounds showing how clean the snow is. Jingling bells are especially likely around Christmastime. Compare Audible Gleam, where it's just one flash of light that gets a sound.

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  • Tonality (the current page is a redirect to scales): There are two standard scales for Western music: major and minor. Major pieces sound happy, triumphant, and hopeful. Minor pieces are sad, lonely, and eerie. Musical tonality is often therefore a very good indicator of the emotional tone of a song. Modulation (changing key and/or tonality) can play into this during a Descent into Darkness Song. A Triumphant Reprise or Dark Reprise may be of the opposite tonality to the first occurrence of a song.

  • Two Steps Behind: So you've been Mistaken for Special Guest at a party, but you can't dance. No problem — just fudge it, mimic everyone else, and hope you don't get caught out. However, you will end up slightly slower than everyone else, with your hands out front whilst everyone else is jumping round.

    This can apply to other situations where it's obvious that a character is trying but failing to work along with everyone else who knows what they are doing, but dancing situations are the most common and the most embarrassing.
    • Christine Daaé from The Phantom of the Opera is an excellent singer and dancer, but during the opera house's Masquerade Ball she is scared and confused after being whisked away from her fiancée Raoul. She tries to keep up with the whirling dancers, but her moves are hesitant and she is always slightly behind. Raoul does find her again, for which she is very grateful.
    • The Midnight Ball in Tanz Der Vampire will be A Fête Worse Than Death for you, if you happen to be a mortal, and thus on the menu. Alfred and Professor Abronisus are normal humans who know this, so when they become trapped in the ballroom they steal vampire costumes and desperately try to dance along to escape detection, though they're always two steps behind. Somehow or other it works... for a while.

Dead ideas

For some reason, these tropes (which I could write a descriptive paragraph for) aren't ever going to be made. Let them rest in piece. I just like to remember them.


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