Follow TV Tropes


Sandbox / Trope Idea Salvage Yard

Go To

This sandbox was created by participants in the TLP Discard Project thread as an attempt to salvage trope ideas scavenged from deleted or unviable drafts.

Sometimes a draft is unfixable, but the idea is decent. So we're making a depository for anyone who wants to browse and adopt one of these trope ideas (or just use them as a starting point). As a secondary function, this page can also be used to deposit ideas that you yourself may not have the time or knowledge to successfully draft. Just don't abuse the privilege.


Anyone is free to add to this list, or adopt ideas from it. Note, however, that if your idea is coming from a deemed-to-be-unworkable draft, please post a link to the old draft if possible.

Finally, keep in mind that this is a salvage yard, not a personal storage unit. If you have an idea that you aren't comfortable with someone else potentially taking over, don't post it here.

For well-made drafts that just need some TLC, check out the TLP Adoption Drive. If you need help determining if an idea is tropeworthy, you can ask at the Trope Idea Sounding Board.

    open/close all folders 

    Ideas with no source draft 

    Ideas with a source draft 
  • A trope about a character's reaction to hair loss. Source.
  • Characters who give thanks profusely/excessively. Source.
  • A trope about characters standing on chairs (or other objects) in order to deliver an important or emotional speech. Source.
  • A character has been bullied to the point where they no longer even try to resist the bully due to broken spirit. Source.
  • Characters suffer an isolating communication breakdown, often during an apocalyptic scenario. Related to Impeded Communication- distinct? Source
  • A trope about a character bleeding from the ears due to a loud or harsh noise, subtrope of Ear Ache and possibly related to Brown Note. Inspiration
  • A Useful Notes or just generally education page on Cryptozoology. Source
  • A trope in aggregate about heroes have Playing with Fire powers tying into how fire is considered powerful and heroes are commonly Hot-Blooded. Would need to ensure that it doesn't quickly decay into "every heroic character uses fire". Source.
  • Nervous Squiggle Mouth: Animated or comic character has an curved zig-zag line for a mouth to indicate nervousness. Source
  • A woman wearing a hoopskirt jumps into water and uses her skirt to float, or uses the dress as a parachute. Source
  • A trope where works make fun of horror movies (etc.) for having incredibly stupid casts. NOT "people in horror movies are stupid" — that's Idiot Ball or Plot-Induced Stupidity. Source
  • Flushing the antagonist/monster out of hiding as a strategy. Source.
  • Kidnapped by a Relative: Someone that is...kidnapped by a relative, which would have different motives and repercussions as if its done by a stranger. Source.
  • Trade Gone Wrong: The trend in fiction for trades to always go wrong somehow. Source.
  • Xenophobe's Inn: A Trauma Inn in the xenophobic village in the middle of nowhere Source
  • Personified Doubt: Ever have doubts deep-down about some idea of yours, and imagine them being expressed by others? This is for characters, often a form of Imaginary Friend, who seem to represent these doubts on someone else's part, as a form of foil. Source.
  • Self-Inflicted Amnesia: A character purposely gives themselves permanent amnesia to hide dark secrets or get rid of painful memories. Source.
  • Benched In Hospital: "character gets injured and this causes them to get benched for a while, because they're at the hospital/in recovery" Source.
  • Satellite Family: A subtrope of Satellite Character for family members, used to characterize another character as family-oriented or to make them more relatable. Source
  • Someone is shoved against the wall. Since we already have the trope You're Insane!, the title and scope of this draft, Are you out of your mind?, could be retooled to be about the action of slamming someone up against the wall.
  • The army forms an aisle while yelling encouragement at one heroic unit, volunteered to storm the castle, go on a suicide mission, or heroic sacrific. Source: This seems like it could be something trope-shaped, but the examples and description are lacking. Also, the name "Cat Call Advance" is terrible.
  • Death by Debris: Character gets killed by getting hit with flying/falling fragments. Source draft has neither description nor examples.
  • Male Bob Haircut: A male character wearing his hair in a bob cut. Appearance trope about a feminine-looking bob haircut on a man. Needs a fresh start-over draft if someone wants to restart it as a genre- or setting-indicator instead of solely an appearance trope.
  • The concept of a Casanova or Celibate Hero disliking porn because they're "real men" could be a trope. Inspiration
  • This Needs Salt: No New Stock Phrases, salting food is People Sit on Chairs, more specific ideas in the comments might be worth a draft
    • putting salt on non-food to indicate that the character is about to attempt to eat it
    • salting food that normally isn't salted
    • using a ridiculous amount of salt / salting for a ridiculously long time to show the character is...
      • ... thinking about something else
      • ... disgusted by the food
      • ... angry at the chef / host
    • pulling a salt shaker out of Hammerspace
    • having a character salt a ridiculous big pile of food to show that that character is planning to eat it all(maybe followed by an Ambulance Cut)
    • salting food underwater
    • having a normal cartoon animal turning into a Funny Animal to salt some food and then turning right back to normal
  • Ask A Busy Mother: "A common advertisement, this is, as the name suggests, where a busy mum discusses how great The Product is, how much time it saves, how happier her kids/husband/dog are now." Source
  • Useful Notes/Aleatoric Art: Art produced by method determined by chance. Source
  • Uplifted Trope: A trope that's fallen out of favor because of constant Deconstruction is made popular/desirable again. Source
  • Clingy Child: When a child clings to a person, usually their leg, for fun, to get what they want, or just because. Source
  • A comedy trope, wherein someone makes up a convoluted family relation that turns out to be a lot less convoluted than it's intended to be, as is almost immediately pointed out by the listener. Source
  • Chain Of Evidence: Investigating by finding and examining evidence one piece at a time. Source
  • Dummy Trade Gambit: This is a two part gambit, consisting of I) giving your trade partner false or incomplete information/goods because you suspect/know they will not complete their end of the bargain, then II) telling them you will only complete the trade once they have met your conditions. Source
  • Celts With Claymores: A Useful Note on Medieval Celtic countries. Source
  • A Useful Note on Dementia, preferably a bit more accurate than this: Source
  • Crit or Miss Attack: An attack that either does critical damage or nothing at all. Source
  • Destruction Is Cool: "Destruction and Violence are Awesome. As this is nigh-universal, examples should be kept to subversions, lampshades and other surprises." Source
  • Character Name In…: A title trope where the work’s title is “<Character Name> in <Title>. Source
  • Hybridization Plot: A plot about a character (usually but not necessarily evil) attempts to create a chimera/animal hybrid/half-human half-animal, or hybridize people and some other creature. Source
  • Happy Hero Serious Show: A serious/dark story with a happy, comedic hero. Source
  • Hero is seen as an outsider until they save a little girl from some kind of threat, then they're accepted as one of the locals (or at least well-regarded by them). Source
  • Gasoline To Flames: A fire breaks out, and somebody mistakenly dumps gasoline, alcohol, or some other flammable substance on it by mistake. Source
  • Collective "No": Everyone says "no" at the same time, usually in response to a particularly dumb idea. Source
  • Kissing The Proxy: One character asks another to close their eyes for a kiss, then has them kiss something else instead. Source
  • Muscles on Muscles: A cartoon sight gag where a character's so swole, their muscles have muscles. Source
  • Ridiculous Fictional Award: An in-universe fictional award that's ridiculously specific or just plain ridiculous. Mostly played for laughs. Source
  • Punching Bag of Hate: Taking out one's frustrations on a punching bag that looks like/bears a picture of an enemy. Source
  • Tycoon Game: A subtype of Simulation Game where the point is to run a business empire of some sort. Like SimCity but for capitalism. Source
  • We Have an App for that: Could work as a modern day equivalent of Specific Situation Books. Source.
  • Undercover Robot: Robots infiltrate the ranks of humans to take over/destroy them. Source.
  • Everyone Gets a Trophy: Everyone is awarded for competing. Source.
  • "No Save" Attack: An attack that prevents anyone killed by it from being revived by their friends in a game where that's normally possible. Source
  • Take That, Replacement Scrappy!: Writers effectively haze the replacement for a departed popular character. Source
  • A video game dungeon that's extremely large but can be completed relatively quickly; the remainder of the dungeon merely allows racking up loot/EXP/gold/etc. Source
  • Toss the Treasure, Treasure the Person: Character goes through hell to obtain item for another character, only to find that the other character just wanted them safe. Source
  • Snake Swing: Gag where a character swings on a vine, only to see that it's really a snake. Source
  • Forbidden Trope: An inversion of Enforced Trope where highers-up disallow creators from using a certain trope in the work. Source
  • Diegetic Commercial Break: A show lampshades, or makes a fourth-wall breaking joke about, a commercial break. Source.
  • Clock Countenance: The face of a living clock will sport humanoid features. Source
  • Kachou Fuugetsu: This is a Japanese-specific trope about a "flower, bird, wind, moon" motif. The draft was abandoned without ever establishing the significance of the motif, so it never really went anywhere. Source
  • Mexico is Yellow: A specific form of Color Wash that, for some reason, has Mexico affiliated with yellow or orange tones. Could possibly be expanded to location or temperature-specific washes. Source
  • Phone CPR: Slamming on the hook or carriage of a traditional phone in an attempt to make it work again. Form of Percussive Maintenance that's outdated/a Forgotten Trope with the proliferation of wireless and cell phones. Source
  • The Splits Are Sexy: As it existed, it was mostly just a list of female characters performing the splits. The draft claims that these examples are for fan service, but doesn't really attempt to prove that point. Source
  • Robots eat metal: Needs a description that's way more than just "Exactly What It Says on the Tin". Maybe mention how acquiring new metal for self-repair without eating it in an anthropomorphic way is Boring, but Practical, whereas garnishing the practical action with eating motions makes the robot character more anthropomorphic, quirky and endearing? (Source)
  • Bumbling Eavesdropper: Often a comedy trope, this is about eavesdroppers who trip, stumble, or otherwise give away/almost give away their position. Source
  • Get Ready: A video game prompts the player to get ready just before the action starts. Source
  • New Love Interest Looms: Someone knocks on the door of their ex, only to meet the new love interest. Source
  • Induced Friendly Fire: "A character tricks two enemies into destroying each other." It would act as a supertrope to things like Set a Mook to Kill a Mook or Deadly Dodging. Source
  • When a detective uses gloves improperly or not at all while collecting evidence. Could also be broadened to using pens and other contaminating ways of gathering evidence. Source
  • Pals With a Professor: A younger character/brilliant professor duo who have access to Cool Science Things and go on adventures. Source
  • Nazi Counterpart / Fascist Counterpart: An Evil Doppelgänger that follows a totalitarian system from an Alternate Universe. Source
  • Only women and black men are drawn with lips; other men are portrayed as lipless by default. Source
  • A character is given a great opportunity, but that would mean abandoning her friends, so the friend try to point any negative thing to convince the character of not taking the opportunity. Source
  • A character tries to use a Euphenism, but it sounds worse than the actual word. source
  • Angelic Choir Reveal: The brief musical sting of an angelic choir used to punctuate the appearance of something divine. Source Source 2
  • Universal Jurisdiction: American military or police operate worldwide without the consent of local authorities. Source
  • Kill it with Lightning: The best way to get rid of something is to zap it.
  • Deus Ex Aquam: A hero slowly rises from a calm lake shortly before kicking ass. But how many of these aren't direct references to that one scene from Apocalypse Now?
  • Character refuses to take sides in an argument because both sides' arguments are ridiculous. Source
  • Alleged Legend: A character is famed for apocryphal exploits — deeds attributed to them, but weren't actually done by them. Source
  • New Adult Literature: A genre of sorts, essentially "Young Adult but for a slightly older market", comments on the draft came to the conclusion that this was at the time mostly a marketing scheme by publishers, but if the scheme succeeded the result would be a real genre, so the discussion would be tabled for "a year or two" until the outcome was clearer. Source
  • Hallway Hallway GHOST Hallway: Characters in an open elevator see each floor as they pass by; most of these floors are empty but one contains a monster or other Jump Scare. Source
  • Vicarious Trauma: Being Forced to Watch or walking in on something horrific, or having a close loved one or housemate who's suffered a massive trauma, can cause trauma in itself. Source
  • Threadbare Duds: A character's clothes are tattered and raggedy. Would need work to make it not just an appearance trope. Source.
  • NPC Exit Convention: The tendency of NPCs that have finished talking to the player to wander off in some direction where the player won't be able to follow once they regain control. (Mother 3 has a humorous subversion of this.) Source.
  • Exposure to a dangerous substance or item that should kill a character instead grants them superpowers. Would be the supertrope to I Love Nuclear Power. Source
  • Alibi Worse Than Crime: A character needs an alibi, but the alibi is worse than what they actually did. Source
  • Historical Sex Life Upgrade: A historical figure is portrayed as having a more active sex life than the historical record suggests. Source
  • A character steers the conversation back to the plot after a digression. Source
  • The female character of a team is played up as an equally capable member of her mostly-male team, but is relegated to demeaning secondary roles (Fanservice, assisting male characters, having their work taken over by male characters, etc.). Source
  • Faux Smart Guy: Subtrope of Informed Attribute where the supposed intelligent and/or tech-savvy character never actually puts their intelligence to use. Source
  • Prank Scare: A fakeout Jump Scare caused by a character pretending to be a murderer to scare their friends. Source
  • Adult Daycare: When parents take their kids to an event that is only targeted at children, there is a special zone for adults to enjoy something in the meantime. Source
  • A character seductively beckons using the "come hither" finger gesture. Source
  • Location Specific Enemy: A type of Mook that appears in only one level of the game. Source
  • A character walks through a crowd that stares at him and talks behind his back, indicating his social isolation. Source
  • A panel in a comic is split in two to ensure the reader sees the setup of a joke before its punchline. Source
  • Added For Scale: Something of recognizable size is included to ensure audience knows something is huge. Source
  • Car Bonnet Shot: Camera Trick where the main focus is on the road as it would be seen if the camera were sitting on the hood of a moving car. Source.
  • Fake Fight, Real Issues: Characters have to stage a discussion or argument, but ultimately bring up their real issues with one another. Source
  • Video game characters use vague dialogue when talking about specific things so that the voice clips can be recycled. Source
  • Quantum Unmasking: Character A discovers the identity of the villain at the same time that, somewhere else, the villain reveals himself to Character B. Source
  • Jaded (Time) Looper: A characterization trope where a character going through a "Groundhog Day" Loop for an extended period of time slowly becomes more apathetic and embittered. Source
  • Like Canon Unless Noted: Everything in a fanfic is just as it is in the canon work, unless or until the author specifies otherwise. Source
  • Backlash Backlash: Source draft is awful, but a trope about backlash against some other backlash has merit.
  • Death Tether: A character is killed by being attached to something that falls. Source Draft has loads of examples to mine.
  • Made in a Villain's image: Source
  • Discovery Triggered Bomb: A bomb that only goes off when it's discovered. Source has tons of examples to mine.
  • The Phone Tells You The Danger Is Here: Long title aside, the idea of being warned over the phone that someone in the same room as you is dangerous is tropeworthy. Source
  • The Org Chart of Evil: The good guys have a chart of who is involved in the bad guys' organization. Source
  • The box art depicts several characters looking in one direction together, but one person is looking in a different direction, hinting that they have ulterior motives or will betray the other characters. Source
  • But Doctor, I Have to See Him!: No New Stock Phrases, but the idea, which is when a character protests a "no visitors" policy that keeps them from a loved one, is tropable. Source
  • Both of a character's parents are dead/missing, but only one is given narrative attention. Source
  • Dexterous Boxing Gloves: A character wearing boxing gloves does something that would normally be highly impractical and cumbersome or even impossible with them on. Source
  • Depression Hobby: character immerses themselves in a hobby just to cope with grief or depression. Source
  • Characters who can perfectly imitate the sounds of inanimate objects. Source
  • Genre of children's shows where the cast are all different types of emergency responders. Source
  • The standard style of print ads in The '50s. Source
  • A self-titled album that's usually referred to by fans as its color. Source
  • A big boss places you near its chest, while the camera allows you to see its head. Source
  • Cancel The Next Meeting: A character encounters something so important, weird, or disastrous that they immediately intercom their secretary to cancel their later appointments. Source
  • A universal range dogwhistle Source
  • A Useful Notes page for filming FPS techniques Source
  • A page about using Santa as a metaphor for Jesus. Source
  • Dangerous Disguise: An impostor is attacked by the enemies of whoever he's impersonating. Source
  • Mirror of Misperception: A character with body image issues sees their reflection differently. Originally posted as Mirror of Anorexia.
  • Token Gay Option: A Gay Option is significantly not as fleshed out as the straight romance options. Further discussed here, note that "significantly not as fleshed out" will need to be defined (a shorter route length? But Not Too Gay? Hide Your Lesbians?) and "token" may not be the best word to use in the title. Source.
  • Easily-Cleared Mind: An idiot forgets everything (which isn't much) to learn a new skill.Source.
  • Something Spacey This Way Comes: A character discovers something approaching from faraway. Draft.
  • The only characters in a work with a shared racial background just happen to be related. Alternatively, somebody assumes characters of the same race to be related and gets chewed out for being offensive. Source.
  • Trendy Dance Craze: A work references a real-world dance craze (the Sprinkler, the Harlem Shake, the Floss, etc) to make a character look trendy. Source.
  • A subtrope of Clothing Damage about the seat of one's pants splitting, revealing their underwear or their bare bottom. Source.
  • And You Thought It Would Succeed: A work is originally expected to be successful, but becomes a flop instead. Source
  • The Ginger Spice Effect: A Boy Band or Girl Group declines in popularity due to the departure of a member. Source
  • Welcome Sign of Doom: If you come across this sign, you'd better turn back immediately. Source
  • Edgelord Parody: Similar to Parody Sue and Testosterone Poisoning, a trope for characters whose angsty, edgy, grimdark traits are exaggerated for laughs. Often seen with parodies of Emo Teen characters. Source

    Ideas from TRS efforts 
  • Hollywood Steering: A trope about inaccurate driving styles; supertrope to Driving a Desk and Driver Faces Passenger. The TRS thread cut it when it failed to gain any examples.
  • Ramping Shot: A trope covering a Camera Trick in which the camera moves and zooms in for dramatic effect. However, the TRS thread noted that it was severely underperforming, with examples barely having much context.
  • Sudden Coming Out: A character unexpectedly (in-universe or otherwise) reveals that they are LGBT. The TRS thread found only 7 usable examples under this definition.
  • Twinkle Toes Samurai: A trope that covers how samurai tend to be dainty in their footwork. The thread noted the original's barebones description, while examples lacked much context. However, there is a tropable concept.
  • Virtual World: an index for immersive online environments, such as games like Furcadia and Mole's World. TRS thread that cut the original page decided that it was a viable idea, but so old and below current standards. The thread contains the contents of the old page.
  • Laser Show: A VFX trope. The use of real-life (low power) lasers as a visual used in stage shows. Cut from Frickin' Laser Beams TRS because they didn't fall under any Energy Weapon use.
    • Music.Jean Michel Jarre: Part of most Jarre concerts. There used to be laser projections, today there are laser scanners, and let's not forget the Laser Harp.
    • Music.Perfume:
      • Their concerts feature liberal use of green ones, specifically. In fact, for their 2013 European tour they had to import the machines from Japan.
      • Used liberally in the dance shot of the "Laser Beam" PV.
      • Behold this jaw-dropping live performance of "Mugenmirai", from Perfume's Perfume x Technology series.
  • Cult Soundtrack: The TRS thread for this trope agreed on redefining this trope as "a soundtrack that is more popular than the work it came from". Some examples of this can be found on this sandbox.
  • Re-Ditto: The opposite of Divergent Character Evolution, where two characters become more similar over time. The TRS thread cut it for not thriving, with only 4 of the 11 examples being valid.
  • Matchmaker Game: A type of show that focuses on simulated dating. A TRS thread noted its anemic description, ZCE's, and archaic markup, but felt that it can be a viable genre page.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: