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Describe Terrible Writing Advice here.

Oh, so you're writing a TV Tropes page, then? Well, don't worry, writing a TV Tropes page is the easiest thing in the world. Really, anyone can do it, all you have to do is to just write long, padded out, articles that compliment whatever you like and even longer ones complaining about whatever you don't like, or you can just write painfully small articles that remind you of how obscure and unloved the work in question is. Oh, and don't forget to add a lot of pothole links, after all, these in no way compromise the reading of the article, right? Now, some people like to write witty, unsubjective, and descriptive TV Tropes pages about their favourite works. These people are stupid. I mean, how are you even supposed to make it so all the other tropers go watch THE BEST YOUTUBE CHANNEL EVER if you write its TV Tropes page like this. Here, let me show you how you REALLY write on TV Tropes:

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Terrible Writing Advice is a YouTube channel by J.P. Beaubien, writer of Aeon Legion: Labyrinth.

His videos contain, as you might expect, AMAZING advice given in the most honest possible tone. Each episode will cover a writing topic (such as setting, character, taking criticism, publicity, love triangles, etc.) and will give bad-*ahem*-GOOD advice that only the soon-to-be-bestseller-authors employ, such as Mary Sue, Character Shilling, and, the most important of them all, THE LOVE TRIANGLE; often contrasted by what SUPPOSEDLY is considered actual thoughtful writing tips or good story fodder that he'll throw in before snapping you back to reality by reminding you of how bad/wrong/boring the "actual" advice was, and then proceeding to go right back to the REAL advice.


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These are examples of the tropes this show contains, if you want add more, Go ahead! And don't worry about whether or not the trope fits the example. Worrying about such minute details is stupid, after all.

  • '90s Anti-Hero: His "Antiheroes" video mentions how the definition of an antihero is open-ended, but primarily focuses on this kind, which he calls the "cool" kind. He even suggests reading any comic book from the nineties for reference.
  • 419 Scam: "Avoiding Scams" heavily implies that Beaubien was the victim of one, since he claims to have let a Nigerian prince borrow his bank account.
  • Actionized Sequel: In "Survival Horror", Beaubien is definitely not talking about the Dead Space franchise going from survivor horror to action game with some horror elements.
  • Adults Are Useless: Says this is one of the only options for portraying adults in his "Dystopias" video. The other two options are to make them villains or dead. This also comes up in the "Magic Schools" video in regards to how to portray the teachers.
  • Advertised Extra: One of the stock characters in "Giant Monsters" is the "Bait and Switch" character, who is played by an A-rank actor who needed a paycheck, gets killed off in the first third of the film, yet has a very prominent role in the trailers to trick fans of the actor into watching the film.
  • Aesop Amnesia: He suggests in "Character Development" that a character who moved past their flaws should regain them for a sequel, rather than getting a new character arc that's a natural outgrowth of the lessons they learned.
  • Affectionate Parody: At the end of the Star Wars themed video, he says he was harsh on the franchise out of love for it.
  • The Alcoholic: "Spies" recommends that the "Gritty" flavor of Spy Fiction protagonist have a serious drinking problem.
  • All According to Plan: "Intrigue Plots" suggests having the members of the story's secret society say this all the time even when things are working against their favor, primarily to distract the reader from the author's lack of a plan. invoked
  • The All-Solving Hammer:
    • No matter what story genre or character archetype he's talking about, JP's advice almost always includes "add a love triangle".
    • The Evil Emperor's first solution to literally every problem is to "DESTROY THE ENTIRE PLANET".
  • All There in the Manual:
    • More straightforward discussions of the genres and tropes he criticizes can be found on his official website.
      • The "Cyberpunk" video is especially bad at this. While the video itself suggests mixing up the terms "sapience" and "sentience", it does not explain what they mean at all, and only the footnote of the corresponding blog post states that sapience is the ability to reason, while sentience is the ability to feel and have emotions.
    • His "Beginning A Story" video ends with the advice to add a flowchart to your story so that readers don't get Lost in Medias Res.invoked
  • Ambition Is Evil: Lampshaded by Beaubien in "Noble Houses".
    Beaubien: Who knows? Anything is possible... (evil drawl) with enough ambition.
  • American Accents: Beaubien has a thick Louisiana accent.
  • And Then What?: He recommends stopping a story right after the Evil Empire has been done in... otherwise the author might have to consider the civil strife, decapitated armies, war crimes tribunals, bloody reprisals, factional infighting, endless cycle of violence, and the backslide into utter chaos that usually happens when a major empire goes belly-up.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: In "Comic Relief Characters" the sample audience is shown to be happy over the death of the comic relief character.
  • Anti-Climax: Beaubien advises that the rival's story arc should be concluded in such a manner.
  • Appeal to Worse Problems: "Apology Video Template" suggests pointing to other celeberties and pointing out their transgressions so that you look good by comparison.
  • Art Shift: The "Cyberpunk" video, uniquely, replaces the normal sketchy hand-written font and grimy grey background with a sci-fi looking font and a background of constantly shifting hexagons, as well as giving Beaubien and his props a thematically fitting makeover.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Parodied in "Giant Monsters" with a giant prehistoric pug.
  • Audience Surrogate: "Giant Monsters" recommends using a "POV drone" to serve as one, with no explanation as to why they get to hang out with high-level politicians, scientists and military officers.
  • Author Tract: "Megacorporations" suggests the writer to do this and take a Black and White Morality stance on corporations and constantly remind the audience that corporations are bad.
  • Badass Normal: Beaubien suggests giving your Anti-Hero no superpowers (other than Plot Armor) yet having him win all his fights. It's much easier than creating a hero who relies on tactics, subterfuge and pragmatism.
  • Bad is Good and Good is Bad: The series format discusses how you should use tropes badly and any deep and meaningful discussions should be avoided at all costs, especially if it gets in the way of the Love Triangle.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Offered as a reason why a Damsel in Distress princess's Arranged Marriage to The Evil Prince would be cancelled in favour of an Arranged Marriage to the protagonist.
  • Beyond the Impossible: In his (Spot-on) parody of youtube apology videos, not only does his hypothetical apology video accrue tens of thousands of dislikes, but he somehow also gets a negative amount of likes.
  • Black and Gray Morality: In "Mary Sues", he recommends making your antagonist outlandishly evil to make the Mary Sue protagonist look heroic, despite the protagonist's excessive violence. invoked
  • Black and White Insanity:invoked
    • "Giving Criticism" suggests only two options for reviewing someone else's work. One can either be a complete sadist who only cares about bashing a work, or a fan who refuses to admit the work has any flaws.
    • One Freeze-Frame Bonus in "Myths, Legends, and Gods" brings up how many stories commenting on religion tend to be one-sided Author Tracts that bash either religion or atheism depending on the author's stance on the issue.
  • Blah Blah Blah: Fills the screen at one point in "Plotting a Story" as the characters all Info Dump exposition at once.
  • Blatant Lies: Due to the nature of the series, these tend to pop up a lot. In "Grimdark", for example, he claims because Terrible Writing Advice is grimdark forever, he'll never be sarcastic again! A caption above brags, "This is the biggest lie I have ever told."
  • Boldly Coming: "Alien Ecosystems" briefly talks about how, if there's a manly starship captain, a good amount of the story should focus on his romantic conquests.
  • Bond One-Liner: "Action Scenes" suggests having your hero spout off one of these as he kills the Big Bad. The more groans and eyerolls it garners from the audience, the better.
  • Boring, but Practical: At one point in "writer's block" he mentions going back and completely redoing segments of your story. It's not fun, but to any writer wanting to do serious work, you would do well to heed it. Very boring, but often work comes out much better if you do.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: From the ad at the end of "Science Fiction Weapons":
    Ancient Conspirator: You can listen to a book while performing a separate task like writing, exercising, secretly pulling the strings of world leaders, or some other menial chore.
  • Brick Joke: In "Noble Houses", Beaubien tells the viewer to avoid a growing merchant class marrying into the nobility, because inevitably, the static worldbuilding will be ruined by said merchants trying to convert the aristocracy into a constitutional monarchy with limited noble powers. In the ending of the video it's revealed the merchants used the feuding between House Goodguys and House Badguys to draft a constitution and limit the Emperor's powers.
  • Broken Aesop:
    • Mentions in his "Environmentalism" video that it's okay for the nature loving heroes to use the same technology the villains use to stop them despite the story going on about how evil technology is.
    • His "Cyberpunk" video recommends similar advice. He suggests that the aesop should be about how Technology Is Evil, yet says that giving the protagonists cool weapons and technology won't undermine the intended aesop.
    • From "Grimdark":
      Beaubien: Exploring themes of moral ambiguity works great when our protagonist makes everyone's lives objectively worse and behaves like a 13 year old sociopath on a power trip.
    • "Megacorporations" suggests that the entire purpose of the mega-corporation should be to show the audience that money is bad and you should give the author as much of it as possible.
    • "Giant Monsters" suggests the day be saved by the smart scientist's plan, which emphasizes that Science Is Good, even though the rest of the story is about how Science Is Bad because it created the giant monster in the first place.
  • The Bully: The series criticizes how bullies are often depicted as one-dimensional caricatures (often of people the author knew) with no redeeming traits and is inferior to the protagonist in every way.
  • Butterface: At the end of "Alien Ecosystems", a starship captain hits on what looks from behind to be an attractive female alien. When she turns around, however, she turns out to have five alien eyes in the middle of her face and tentacles where her mouth should be.
  • Byronic Hero: "Anti Heroes" instructs writers to make their Anti-Hero protagonist brooding and laconic, communicating in grunts, snark, and "whatevers". The solitude serves to imply internal conflict to make him appear deep, rather than thinking about what to have for lunch.
  • Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards: In an instance of Sincerity Mode, JP does mention in "Noble Houses" that historically speaking, royalty would often hire foreigners into the royal guard because they wouldn't have any ties to the local nobility. He also mentions how this didn't always work out, as royal guards had a tendency of becoming their own political factions.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Beaubien particuarly hates this trope.
    Beaubien: [Character Development] not nearly as interesting as subjecting the reader to endless pages of a character's internal pining and complete inability to just freakin' spit it out and finally admit what they actually WANT! (Beaubien boots Mary Sue in the ass.) invoked
  • Can't Take Criticism: Has a whole video dedicated to this, encouraging this behavior in writers.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Lampshaded constantly.
    "Better have the Dark Lord throw some more kittens in his morning omelette."
  • Cassandra Truth: "Giant Monsters" does this to the smart scientist character, with everyone ignoring him until the halfway point when every other plan to stop the giant monster has failed.
  • Catching Some Z's: This trope is questioned in the Rivals video.
    "Why does the letter z represent sleep anyway?"
  • Catchphrase: "Comic Relief Characters" suggests letting the comic relief character have one, with the sample comic relief having the catch phrase "Zappers."
  • Cerebus Retcon: Encouraged in the "Grimdark" video with particularly absurd examples such as Contrivium made from ground up widows or hyperdrive requiring to take a detour to Cthulu's backyard.
  • Character Derailment: invokedThis is advised in "Grimdark" when characterizing the villain. JP starts off by saying the villain should have a reasonable motive for their actions and be characterized as an Anti-Villain. However, once fans start seeing the villain as Unintentionally Sympathetic and the hero as a Designated Hero, JP then recommends derailing the villain into a Hate Sink by having him cross the Moral Event Horizon so that the hero looks better by comparison.
  • Character Development: The focus of Episode #28. (On a serious note, the video delves into the difference between Character Development and Character Growth.)
    Beaubien: Character development is something every writer should learn... to fake!
  • Character Shilling: In "Character Development", if you're too lazy to Info Dump the Back Story on the protagonist's intro, just do what you did with the "Dark Lord" antagonist and give him a Mysterious Past and let other characters fill the reader in on the protagnonist.
  • The Chosen One: Dedicates a whole video to this trope.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: "Noble Houses" must engage in this 24/7.
  • Cigar Chomper:
    • The recurring "anti-hero" character frequently has a cigar in his mouth.
    • The Mega-Corp's CEO also has a cigar, fitting for an evil businessman.
    • The "gritty" protagonist in "Spies" is never seen without a cigar in his mouth.
  • Circular Reasoning:
    • His reason for why the rival character should oppose the hero.
    Beaubien: The rival wants to defeat the hero because... the hero is strong and he wants to defeat him! There! Done!
    • Similarly, the Dark Lord's primary character trait should be that "he loves power because he... loves power".
  • Conflict Ball: In the "Antiheroes" video, he recommends that the antihero specializes in forced, contrived conflict, and that no one else should question why they tolerate such an abrasive individual when they get in the way of teamwork.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: "Spies" advises this for the Power Fantasy variant, saying the spy shouldn't have any family or loved ones to come back to. JP is then confused why such a depressing detail is in the Power Fantasy spy.
    Action Thriller Spy: I am unfortunately/conveniently an orphan.
  • Cosmic Horror: The topic of Episode #34.
    Beaubien: (to Cthulhu) You can't end the world yet! I haven't bought my first Mercedes!
    • Cosmic Horror Reveal: It's encouraged in the video to do so with as little build up as possible to make the tone shift even more jarring.
  • Couch Gag: The videos have a Brick Joke comment at the end credits. For example: "The Dark Lord could also consider making his immortal MacGuffin out of titanium."
  • Creator's Pet: His "Antiheroes" video mentions how the antihero is subject to the author's bias.invoked
  • Critical Research Failure: Invoked in many ways, such as not bothering to research the mythologies that inspired J. R. R. Tolkien, or basing an evil empire off of Nazi Germany since older empires would require the writer to open up a history book.
  • Crocodile Tears: "Apology Video Template" advises people to fake tears to win sympathy points from the audience. However, J.P. also points out a Double Standard, in that only a cute girl could get away with this, while a grown man crying excessively would make him look childish, and would look even more immature.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: "Megacorporations" says that a Mega-Corp should do things that cut into their bottom line despite being an entity whose primary function is to generate profit.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: "Giving Criticism" recommends that a "nice" critic try to avoid saying anything negative about someone's story, and find anything to compliment it on. The example brought up is somebody saying they like the font used to write a terrible story, saying it's better than comic sans.
  • Damsel in Distress: Beaubien has the hero's Love Interest get captured by the villain in order to save himself the trouble of having to actually write a romantic subplot.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Encouraged to give The Chosen One or the Anti-Hero this in lieu of actual challenges to face. In the Anti-Hero's case, it's to be merely implied so the Love Interest will want to provide Intimate Healing, rather than actually described in sufficient detail.
  • Darker and Edgier: This is the whole point of the "Grimdark" episode, and as such, the background gets changed to a pure black backdrop, while the whimsical background music gets replaced with dreadful, ominous music.
    Beaubien: This soothing gray background? GONE! KILLED IT! And you should feel bad! It's all BLACK now — ETERNAL DARKNESS FOREVER!
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:invoked
    • In his "Cyberpunk" video, Beaubien states that the audience should walk away from a cyberpunk story depressed and thinking they wasted their time, otherwise a writer isn't doing their job correctly.
    • This is also encouraged in his "Grimdark" video, and J.P. discourages contrasting the Darker and Edgier tone of the story with positive moments of hope or humor.
    • "Spies" says that stories of the "gritty" flavor should be depressing, featuring miserable protagonists who do horrible things.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: One of the recurring "villain" characters is a man with a top hat and a curling mustache who's constantly rubbing his palms together.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The focus of "Noble Houses".
  • Dear Negative Reader: The theme of the "Taking Criticism" video.invoked
  • Death Glare: The recurring "anti-hero" character is constantly giving one.
  • Decapitated Army:
    • He states that once the leader of the Evil Empire is gone, then the conflict is over, even though a new successor could take their place.
    • In "Fantasy Battles", he states that the bad guys should rout or die after the hero defeats their leader in single combat.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: The tombstones for the protagonist's parents in "Intrigue Plots" have "RIP Perfect Mom/Dad" engraved on them.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The "Grimdark" episode notes that the fantasy genre is perfect for a grimdark tone as any criticism towards the story can be ignored by saying the grimdark setting is historically accurate, ignoring the fact that a fantasy world would be a Constructed World.
  • Demoted to Extra: In "Myths, Legends, and Gods" the writer becomes so focused on the gods of their fantasy world and its history that the mortal main characters end up getting ignored in favor of them.
  • Designated Hero: Invoked in "Grimdark", with the protagonist's actions being so heinous, that it makes the villain look better by comparison. The author should justify this by claiming the protagonist is morally ambiguous even when he's doing something like slaughtering orphans.
  • Destroy the Product Placement: "Giant Monsters" mentions that big companies will pay money to have their products be destroyed onscreen.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In "Cosmic Horror", he notes that for all the comparisons of Eldritch Abominations being as far above humans as humans are above ants, ants still manage to kill twenty to fifty people a year.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: "Apology Video Template" has J.P. attempt to deflect criticism by claiming to suffer from depression and eosinophilic esophagitis.
  • Disposable Woman: "Spies" defies the Running Gag of adding a Love Triangle in the Power Fantasy variant of Spy Fiction. Instead, it recommends a Love Black Hole, which kills off every Love Interest to make way for a new one in each sequel.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Encourages writers to have their Mary Sue dish out a hundred times the violence inflicted upon her when her enemy actually manages to hurt her, and do so ruthlessly. invoked
  • The Dog Bites Back: "Giving Criticism" points out that if a critic only focuses on bashing someone's work, when that critic releases something of their own, those writers they bashed will be in the position of critic.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Invoked in the "Slasher Films" video. Once the film ends up becoming a franchise, he advises to shift the focus from the targets of the slasher to the slasher himself, and to glamorize him while overlooking the fact that he is a serial killer.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: "Rivals" has J.P. write "no one has time to read all this crap!" over one of Inner Critic's pages of notes. Considering the fact that having so much text in a video defeats the purpose of, well, a video, he's not wrong.
  • Eldritch Abomination: It's easier just to describe your Lovecraftian monster having a bunch of tentacles, mouths and Googly Eyes.
  • Ending Fatigue: Invoked in "Plotting A Story", in which "discovery" writers often fall into a habit of being unable to finish their story. The story on screen initially says "And then they fought the evil emperor and won. The end", but suddenly has addendums about how the dog was the evil mastermind after all, and devolves into a story about horse racing that is sponsored by the emperor's evil cat and somehow get sucked into facing off against an evil sapient disco ball in a competitive cooking show.
    Average Joe Reviewer: One star. People don't act that way. The author must be insane.
    Author: You are wrong! The voices in my head told me to write that.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: There are constant mentions that you should put something in your writing, simply because the reverse has never happened before. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite his cheerful endorsement of just about everything having to do with bad writing, Beaubien is still adamant that an author who writes Cosmic Horror should avoid the racism, classism and xenophobia that plagued the works of H. P. Lovecraft at all costs.
    • He also seems to possess a particular hatred for the Plucky Comic Relief character, nearly breaking character multiple times in "Comic Relief Characters" just to voice how obnoxious he finds them.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: In a "Grimdark" setting, everything is trying to kill you, including and especially space where Cosmic Horror awaits.
  • Evil Overlord: The "Dark Lords" episode, natch.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: "Intrigue Plots" opens with Beaubien thanking the sound engineer for making his voice sound deep and foreboding.
  • Evil vs. Evil: End-of-video sketches often feature various bad guys in conflict over... various corporate sponsorships.
  • Famed In-Story: "Spies" recommends that the "power fantasy" protagonist be well-known in-universe, even though that would be a detriment to somebody in a profession relying on stealth and discretion.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: This is the main focus of "Myths, Legends, and Gods".
  • Fat Cat: In a conversation with the Dark Lord, the Mega-Corp's CEO admits his Right-Hand Cat is quite overweight.
  • Faux Action Girl: The "Power Fantasy" flavor of protagonist in "Spies" has a female "highly competent" sidekick who always needs to be rescued.
  • Faux Horrific: In "Comic Relief Characters" the antihero manages to get an empire soldier to talk by threatening to make the soldier listen to the comic relief's jokes.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration: Encourages in "War Stories" for writers to have soldiers to suddenly break into philosophical rambling in the middle of combat to create the illusion of depth.
  • Flat Character:
    • Beaubien says that adding depth to an antihero is entirely optional in his "Antiheroes" video.
    • "Giant Monsters" recommends that the main character should be a person with no personality traits nor skills whatsoever, yet who is allowed input on discussions between actually important people for no apparent reason.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Encourages writing this between the hero and the rival instead of fleshing out the Love Triangle between them and the designated love interest.
  • Follow the Leader: This trope gets invoked in some of his videos:
    • His "Fantasy Races" video encourages writers to stay in the shadow of J. R. R. Tolkien by just copying his fantasy races. The only exception to this is Halflings (Hobbits), which should be completely ignored since ordinary people going out of their way and risking their lives for the good of others isn't as interesting as The Chosen One or the lost heir saving the world.
    • "Grimdark" suggests ripping off George R. R. Martin by killing off everyone instead of focusing on characterization.
    • Downplayed in "Cosmic Horror" as JP does suggest ripping off H. P. Lovecraft, but he also acknowledges that copying his racist beliefs is going to get a writer in a lot of hot water.
    • "Spies" recommends copying tropes from the James Bond franchise.
    • "Giant Monsters" says that if you can't be bothered to come up with a giant animal, you can just make your giant monster a copy of Godzilla with a slight modification to evade copyright.
  • For the Evulz: Played for Laughs in "Megacorporations", where the Mega-Corp's CEO says he cloned Karl Marx just so he could have the pleasure of shooting him.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The videos tend to have a lot of Funny Background Events like the dialogue boxes said by the sample characters. Some are on screen long enough that they can be read without pausing, while others require pausing to read the whole thing, such as the Rousing Speech parody in "Fantasy Battles" and the symptoms on the bottle of evil concentrate in "Dark Lords."
  • Freudian Slip: Frequently.
    J.P. Beaubien: After defeating the main antagonist, don't forget to take the time to humiliate all the bullies who picked on me. (beat) I mean the protagonist.
  • Fricking Laser Beams: Laser guns are discussed in "Science Fiction Weapons", which says they're easy to dodge despite moving at the speed of light and very inaccurate despite having laser-precision shot grouping.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • "Intrigue Plots" focuses on these Tropes.
    • In "Noble Houses", The Emperor and the head of House Badguys both find themselves in need of a "betrayal flowchart".
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Recommended in the Urban Fantasy video, because fleshing out the antagonists might detract from the Love Triangle.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Beaubien rips apart cliche genres, and singles out how nonsensical they are:
    • In his segment on alien invasion, he establishes how an alien race would probably benefit with humans through trade rather than conquest, and even if they did conquest, they would prefer military targets and not just blowing up monuments.
    • "Evil Empires" discusses how empires that commit evil for the sake of it usually don't last very long, and how the forces that grind down an empire (treasury-draining foreign wars, bloated bureaucracies, more potent empires on the rise) take forever and aren't very cinematic. Beaubien also points out that as bad as it is to live in a dystopian empire, you really don't want to live in one once the empire has been decapitated and there's no one to pay the army or enforce law and order.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: One appears in "Giant Monsters" as an example of a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere, and is actually called "Giant Enemy Crab".
  • Godwin's Law: Says in "Giving Criticism" that it is okay for a critic to compare a writer to any number of authoritarian leaders throughout history (with Hitler implied), and that the writer will totally take the critic seriously because of it.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: "Megacorporations" describes the Mega-Corp's Private Military Contractors as having "savage bad guy scars".
  • The Grinch: In a departure from the usual formula, J.P. encourages people to write bad Christmas specials because of his annoyance towards the Holiday season.
  • Green Aesop: The Environmentalism video mocks this concept, saying it's an easy message that doesn't require any research on the writer's part. He also criticizes how Anvilicious some works can get with this and how out of place a Green Aesop can be with certain stories. invoked
  • Guile Hero: Defied in his "Antiheroes" video because writing a cunning hero who outsmarts his enemies is really hard compared to giving an antihero Plot Armor.
    • Also defied in "Intrigue Plots", as writing a conspiracy undone by its own greed as opposed to a smart protagonist subverting Villains Act, Heroes React would be far easier.
  • Guns Are Worthless: In "Science Fiction Weapons" he mentions that writers get bonus points for using a science fiction-themed sword against enemies who primarily use ranged weapons— especially if they have no protection against said weapons.
    Beaubien: Starts sniggering What author's dumb enough to do that?
  • Halloween Episode: Both 2016 and 2017 saw discussion of specific genres whose installments might be released on Halloween, namely the Slasher Movie and the Survival Horror game.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The Couch Gag for "Grimdark" paraphrases the Nietzschean quote: "Make sure he who writes about monsters does not become one."
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: In "Alien Ecosystems", it's recommended that any and all herbivores get portrayed as passive and harmless.
  • Hero Insurance: "Grimdark" assures that it won't matter if the hero does more damage than the villain — because they're the hero, invoked and "the writer will still make the story demand you root for him even as he slaughters orphans along with all the couples who were going to adopt them."
    Civilian: Why did you butcher all those nuns and orphans?
    "Hero": Um... magic made me do it? (beat) And all those orphans had it coming!
  • High-Tech Hexagons: Serve as the background for the "Cyberpunk" video.
  • Hive Queen: In "Alien Ecosystems", he says that every Hive Mind should have one, and should be easily defeated by killing her.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: "Myths, Legends, and Gods" does this by using the names of the gods whenever someone wants to swear in a fantasy setting, even though overuse of these swears would make the swearing lose a lot of its impact.
  • Hollywood Tactics:
    • In his Alien Invasion, he says that instead of attacking major population centers and making alliances with Earth Governments, the aliens should concentrate on attacking monuments.
    • His "War Stories" video suggests having the competent commander fight alongside his soldiers, even though it wouldn't make sense in modern warfare to do so.
    • In "Fantasy Battles", he says that the forces of evil should respond to an enemy army's charge with one of their own, rather than bracing in a defensive formation or deploying skirmishers.
    • "Giant Monsters" recommends that the military just shoot the monster a few times using tanks and fighter jets, then give up when that doesn't work.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: "Noble Houses" has The Emperor keep putting House Badguys in charge of important Imperial assets even though they keep on ruining them for the sake of being jerks, and later ally with them against House Goodguys only to be shocked when they start plotting against him.
  • Hufflepuff House: Alluded to with House Backgroundextras in "Noble Houses," who are described as "very important in keeping the balance of power in the royal court, but not so important that the writer put any effort to fleshing them out."
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Parodied in "Grimdark". While giving examples on how make your setting dark, one example is making it turn out that hyperspace is Cthulhu's backyard.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • From "Grimdark":
    My sarcasm will most definitely not be coming back.
    • Later in the same episode, the Dark Lord tells the Chosen One "I do not repeat myself, nor do I fall into repetition."
    • From "Comic Relief Characters", when discussing what sort of comedy the comic relief should employ:
    Hyperbole, a science joke, and meta-commentary combined? That would be the most horrible combination since mixing matter and anti-matter, and I would never in a million years make such a joke on this channel.
  • Ignored Epiphany: A Running Gag is for Beaubien to lapse into Sincerity Mode about actual good writing tips before dismissing it out of hand. In particular, he devotes some time near the end of "Criticism" to realizing some of the criticism was politely constructive...then recommends getting even more defensive when critics bring up a valid point.
  • Ignored Expert: "Giant Monsters" has the "smart scientist" character, who nobody listens to until the halfway point.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction:
    • "Taking Criticism" suggests both ignoring all criticism and trying to please everyone. invoked
    • "Finishing a Story" suggests both talking about your story ideas (and how your story will become a bestseller, of course) to other people endlessly, taking them being annoyed as a good sign, and being highly protective of your ideas, as, if you casually talk about them, they might get stolen.
    • The blog post for "The Nature of Clichés – Honest Thoughts" has one in a part of a sentence:
      I think that thinking is always bad.
    • In "Character Development":
      I've decided to change for good. From now on, I stand for true artistic integrity. Now, buy my book and give me your money!
    • "Spies" brings up some questionable things protagonist does, but follows it up by saying he doesn't torture people. The very next sentence talks about him torturing one of the villain's minions for information.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Recommends that the mooks in the Evil Empire should have terrible aim, at least as long they're shooting at main characters.
  • Informed Ability:
    • In the "Rivals" episode, Beaubien recommends that the rival be treated seriously even though the hero always defeats him.
    • In "Spies", JP says that since he can't write charismatic characters due to his lack of social skills, he'll just have other characters talk about how charismatic the "Power Fantasy" protagonist is.
    • In "Character Development", JP advises avoiding putting in the effort of actually developing your protagonist when you can just have other characters constantly assert that the protagonist has changed.
  • In Medias Res: His "Beginning A Story" video suggests doing this if a story doesn't get exciting until the middle, despite the fact that an info dump would still occur later and drag down the pacing established from the earlier scenes, and the possibility of being Lost in Medias Res. invoked
  • Info Dump: In "Character Development", the easiest way to start Character Development is to infodump their Back Story during their introduction.
    Beaubien: We may have just met this character, but they will not hesitate to spill their entire back story to complete strangers who did not even ask!
  • Instant Expert: He says in his Dystopia one that the protagonist should learn everything instantly.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Beaubien says one of these is pretty much a must for Kaiju movies in "Giant Monsters".
  • Invincible Villain: In "Dark Lords":
    Beaubien: Our Dark Lord can't be killed by weapons, magic, starvation, disease, or any other conventional method. Only our heroes can defeat the Dark Lord with... uh... um... Whoops! We accidentally made our Dark Lord invincible! Oh, Crap! Better make some MacGuffins for the heroes to find.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: During the sponsorship bit at the end of "Grimdark", the Dark Lord complains about JP saying his character skits take too long. He responds to JP's criticism by saying he's "the epitome of conciseness"... in a long-winded rant where he loses his train of thought partway through.
  • It's All About Me: "Giving Criticism" makes fun of this idea with critics who deride a story because it doesn't suit their personal tastes.
  • It's Popular, Now It Sucks!: From "Giving Criticism". invoked
    Beaubien: Don't try to break down a story to understand why it's popular. One can instead attack the story because it's popular, telling die-hard fans they're stupid for liking something will definitely win them over!
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: "Spies" recommends that the protagonist resort to torturing one of the bad guy's minions for information rather than using more humane and effective means of interrogation that could help establish his humanity and explore how evil organizations ensure the loyalty of their mooks.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: "Intrigue Plots" focuses heavily on this kind of story.
  • Jitter Cam: "Giant Monsters" says that low-budget kaiju movies can always do 90 minutes of shaky cam.
  • Karma Houdini: Suggests in "Antiheroes" that the antihero should never suffer any consequences for his actions.
  • Kick the Dog: In "Dark Lords," the sample dark lord literally kicks a dog, which results in the sample fantasy hero saying "I think he might be the bad guy" as he witnesses the dog getting kicked.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: In "Intrigue Plots," he suggests that any character who is zeroing in on a conspiracy should be straight up killed by the conspirators, instead of simpler alternatives, like recruitment, bribery, or reassignment.
  • Lame Comeback: One brief scene in "Noble Houses" has a member of House Goodguys respond to an Implied Death Threat from a member of House Badguys with "Oh yeah? Well, um... you're a poopy head!"
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Invoked in "Noble Houses", as House Badguys' military strategy:
    Lord Badguy: Okay, here's the plan. Jenkins, you take point. We're going to execute a Zapp Branigan maneuver!
  • Light Is Not Good: Or Light Is Not Substantially Better At The Job, in this case; in the Rivals video, Beaubien's Inner Critic manifests as an intellectual Man in White with some really good counterpoints...but it becomes quite clear that while the content is good advice, his methods are even worse than TWA Beaubien's own tutelage (he's an extremely poor video maker and regularly creates text boxes it's necessary to pause the video to read or stay up so long it isn't really a video any more), and he resorts to as just as shallow logic as Beaubien at times (in his opinion, if Beaubien came up with the idea, it's a bad one). There's even a bit of Honest Notes put in to point out that he's not the end-all be-all. Downplayed, in that it's clear that the Inner Critic didn't actually cheat to win the debate (Beaubien rewrote the script to give himself a win), and he gets the last word in.
  • The Load: "Giant Monsters" recommends adding a Tagalong Kid who will constantly have to be rescued from one danger or another.
  • Love Dodecahedron: "Myths, Legends, and Gods" advises adding the standard Love Triangle to the mythology of your Constructed World, but ends up adding so many it becomes this. The Freeze-Frame Bonus even has JP saying that no author has ever been able to make a Love Dodecahedron as complicated as what's seen in several mythologies.
  • Love Triangle: Mercilessly mocked.
  • Lovecraft Lite: Beaubien notes that it's easy to adapt Lovecraft to any genre, which is useful in not having to deal with his racism (Cue soda can "Lovecraft Light" — "Now with 30% less racism!") invoked.
    Beaubien: This is Lovecraft Light! The monsters of the dark can be beaten! They can be pushed back! Maybe the Universe is cold and pitiless, but we will face it nonetheless! Because in this Universe, we have something far stronger than the ancient, unknowable gods on our side: authorial bias! (cue the Love Triangle destroying Cthulhu)
  • Made of Evil: Dark Lords. They're evil because... they're evil!
    Beaubien: Our Dark Lord is evil because he is pure evil and probably made of evil and evil is a substance now, apparently.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: Discourages anyone who isn't a main character, up to and including armies, from defeating the Big Bad, because who wants to read about a group of ordinary people fighting destiny and choosing their own fates?
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: Expounded on in "Plotting a Story":
    Beaubien: We could add a subplot that goes nowhere! Adding a subplot to the story that is a natural outgrowth from the main plot and merges seamlessly to the final climax can work, but by this point, I'm getting sick at looking at the main plot. I think I'll become enamored with my subplot and let it take over the story!
  • Mary Sue:
  • Masquerade: He says that vampires and other creatures should do that, even if there is no reason for them to be weak.
  • Man in White: The Inner Critic wears a white shirt — which, as his notes point out, helps to symbolize his characterization as more cautious and thoughtful than J.P. (stains are very visible on white clothing, so you have to be careful when wearing it).
  • Meat Moss: "Survivor Horror" — every level must feature them.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: In "Chosen Ones", a wizard-like character appears beside an array of potential chosen ones with a sign beside him stating "Tragic Mentor Deaths 1/2 Off."
  • A Million Is a Statistic: In "Fantasy Battles", he says that neither the heroes nor the narrative should dwell on the sacrifice of the many nameless soldiers who don't survive the fighting.
  • Mirror Universe: For April Fools' Day, Beaubien did a live action video called "Amazing Writing Advice", prefaced by "Meanwhile, in the Mirror Universe..." (Beaubien actually gives useful advice, too.)
  • Misaimed Fandom: Due to the Stylistic Suck nature of the series, this advice gets invoked a lot:
    • Whenever JP suggests copying the work of a more successful author, it involves him missing the point of what made those authors successful:
      • In "Fantasy Races" he states writers should copy and paste the fantasy races designed by J. R. R. Tolkien while completely ignoring the themes of his works.
      • For George R. R. Martin, he thinks writers should put more emphasis on killing off major characters for shock value rather than focusing on characterization to make readers attached to said characters.
      • With H. P. Lovecraft, he puts more emphasis on making cool monster designs rather than his themes of how the universe is a Crapsack World.
    • "Taking Criticism" suggests using this argument to avoid dealing with criticism. JP suggests that if a reader has negative criticism of a work, then the blame rests solely on the reader for reading it wrong rather than the author's bad writing.
    • For “Steampunk,” he points out that while many popular works have dipped their toes in the genre, there still isn’t a singular great work of the genre. He then spends the rest of the video pointing out that this is because it’s easy for authors to get caught up in the aesthetic of Steampunk without focusing on characters or using the setting in a meaningful way.
  • Moment Killer: "Love Interests" recommends using one of these to keep the Unresolved Sexual Tension going.
  • Monumental Damage: In "Alien Invasion", he recommends that the aliens focus their efforts on destroying famous landmarks, even though it would make more sense for them to attack military targets or logistical infrastructure.
  • Mood Dissonance: "Giant Monsters" says that a scene with countless innocents dying of radiation poisoning is a perfect time for the comic relief character to start spouting snappy one-liners.
  • Mood Whiplash: In "Comic Relief Characters" the main purpose of adding a comic relief character is so the author can change the story's tone if things are getting too serious. Then when the final act starts up, the writer should Shoo Out the Clowns, which is still Mood Whiplash, just in the opposite direction (Silly to serious instead of serious to silly).
  • More Predators Than Prey: "Alien Ecosystems" suggests having an alien ecology consist almost entirely of large apex predators.
  • Most Fanfic Writers Are Girls: The Slash Fic writer in "Antiheroes" is very clearly female.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution:
    • "Intrigue Plots" says that the conspiracy should always use murder as its first resort, "no matter how messy or expensive it is."
    • Similarly, "Megacorporations" says that the mega corporation should resort to lawsuits only after attempting to use extralegal death squads "because I... ummm... it was in the memo somewhere".
  • Mysterious Past:
    • His "Antiheroes" video suggests doing this to your antihero character since it will make him look brooding and complex, and not because the writer is too lazy to come up with a history for the character.
    • His "Dystopias" video also suggests this for the Big Bad of the story. Like with "Antiheroes," painting him as vague and mysterious is an easy way out for the writer to avoid fleshing out the Big Bad.
  • Name McAdjective: The traitor among House Goodguys in "Noble Houses" is referred to as "Evil McSchemingson".
  • Nap-Inducing Speak: A running gag in the Rivals video has TWA Beaubien often falling asleep during Inner Critic's bouts of criticism.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Recommends to avert this in the "Environmentalism" video, and only portray animals as kind and fluffy, since portraying nature in this way would actually let the bad guys have a point, which would just undermine the protagonists' stance on environmentalism.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: This trope gets mocked in a lot of his videos.
    • His "Evil Empire" video in particular lampshades how writers would actually have to put effort into research if they wanted to base their evil empire on any other historical empire such as the Ancient Romans.
    • In "Grimdark", he also encourages basing the bad guys off of Nazi Germany, but then shows a list of empires and how long they lasted, showing how short-lived the Nazi Empire was compared to other empires like the Ottoman and Roman empires.
  • Necronomicon: In "Cosmic Horror", always use the Ultimate Book of Doom — otherwise known as the "not-Necronomicon."
  • The Neidermeyer: "War Stories" recommends the inclusion of an incompetent, authoritarian officer. How he reached his position despite his complete lack of leadership abilities should never be addressed.
  • Never My Fault: "Apology Video Template" suggests starting the video by apologizing, but then giving a bunch of reasons why it's not your fault.
  • Nice Hat: In "Noble Houses", Beaubien snarks that it's easier just to put a fancy hat on a noble rather than establishing World Building and Back Story.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • In the "Evil Empires", he notes that the heroes are responsible for the Reality Ensuing after destroying the evil empire.
    • "Comic Relief Characters" suggests having the comic relief be responsible for everything bad that has happened.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Invoked in "Cosmic Horror", as Beaubien advises that if viewers want to find out how a government can collaborate with a cult, they could look up Colonia Dignidad. "Or don't and sleep better".
  • No Bikes in the Apocalypse: His "Post Apocalyptic" video encourages every vehicle to be motorized, ignoring the fact that gasoline has a limited shelf life, humanity would eventually run out, and how something simple like a bicycle doesn't require fuel to operate.
  • No Biochemical Barriers:
    • In "Alien Invasion", he suggests having aliens devour humanity in spite of potentially deadly biochemical barriers.
    • On a similar note, in "Alien Ecosystems", he says that alien parasites should jump the species barrier to humans, even though human physiology is literally alien to them.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: One of these is used to represent poorly-written comic relief characters in the "Romantic Subplots" video.
  • Noodle Incident: In "Holiday Specials", JP mentions that he is barred from singing musical numbers due to several unnamed international treaties.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Points out that a school for children, in "Magic School" should not have so many dangerous monsters and artifacts.
  • No Romantic Resolution: "Love Interests" recommends leaving characters in "relationship limbo" if a writer wants to avoid shippers getting angry at them.
  • No Social Skills: In "Spies", JP says he can't write a charismatic character because he doesn't have any social skills, which is why he became a writer.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: invoked"Giving Criticism" acknowledges that if a critic spends so much time bashing a work they don't like, that going overboard with their hatred towards that work will make the public interested in said work, rather than convince people to not give it a shot.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Sometimes, as a form of Sincerity Mode, JP will show a caption on the screen to emphasize that what he's talking about has actually happened, even if it sounds ridiculous. Some examples include:
  • Not So Different:
    • Subverted in his "Mary Sue" video. He contemplates that as the villain starts to seem more similar to the main character, it can be used to emphasize to razor-thin difference between good and evil. He then decides it would be better to have the villain act even more evil just for the fun of it so that the protagonist can look good by comparison.
    • One of the Freeze Frame Bonuses in "Fantasy Battles" is a speech, stating that if the empire wins, they'll control regional politics for a few centuries before it inevitably declines. The speech then says the same thing will happen if the kingdom wins.
    • Beaubien's Inner Critic, while a more insightful and skilled writer than his deliberately incompetent persona, is just as self-absorbed and incapable of acknowledging his own faults as TWA Beaubien is, and adds a bit of Never My Fault to the whole mess.
    • His video on the Comic Relief character ultimately reveals Beaubien and the Comic Relief Character are virtually identical.
  • Not That There's Anything Wrong with That: Inner Critic more or less says this when he points out the homoerotic subtext in the "Rivals" video. Even saying that if done well rivals becoming romantic partners (gay or otherwise) could become an interesting dynamic.
  • Notzilla: "Giant Monsters" has Beaubien recommend simply ripping off Godzilla if a writer is too lazy and uncreative to even use the "giant version of a regular animal" idea for a monster.
  • Obvious Judas:invoked "Noble Houses" says that the traitor among the ranks of House Goodguys should be clearly shady in demeanor and stick out like a sore thumb in terms of appearance.
  • Obviously Evil: Frequently used for villains. This is justified: given the nature of the show, the viewer frequently needs to be able to tell who the bad guys are at a glance.
  • Offstage Villainy: In his Evil Empire video, he suggests using it for the villains, instead of actually showing them doing evil things.
  • Oh, Crap!: In Dark Lords, he realizes they've just made their Dark Lord invincible, causing this reaction.
  • Oh My Gods!: Liberal use of this trope is encouraged in "Myths, Legends, and Gods".
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Offered as a way to further distinguish The Chosen One.
  • One-Man Army: Instructs writers to have their Anti-Hero protagonist effortlessly slaughter enough people to form an army.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: "Megacorporations" points out that running a country includes spending money on things that don't generate revenue — like defense and social programs — which means it's counterproductive for a private company to also be The Government.
  • Onrushing Army: "Fantasy Battles" says that the big final battle should amount to the two armies charging each other in a disorganized mass.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Will occasionally drop the silliness and take on a more serious voice in order to acknowledge serious consequences, like the ending of the "Evil Empire" video (see Reality Ensues for more details).
  • Orcus on His Throne: In "Dark Lords" he asserts that a villain who challenges the hero is less interesting that one who spends ten books hanging around his doom fortress sending out progressively-stronger mooks to power-level the heroes.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Recommends that the writer should copy Tolkien's dwarves, and just add a Scottish accent
  • Our Elves Are Better: He sarcastically states that the elves should be perfect and condescending, using only the movie versions of The Lord of the Rings as reference.
  • Our Orcs Are Different: Recommends using the "Tolkienesque" flavor without bothering to address any of the hard questions raised by the existence of an Always Chaotic Evil society, something he notes J. R. R. Tolkien struggled with as well.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: invokedIn "Cosmic Horror" the unchecked parts of the checklist of things to rip off from HP Lovecraft include adding racism to the story, and the subsequent backlash that would ensue.
    Add unapologetic racism
    Then argue with people on Twitter about it
    Ask PR department about damage control
    Ignore PR department and double down
  • Overt Operative: "Spies" has the "Power Fantasy" protagonist be caught because he chose to drive a red Lamborghini on a mission in Pyongyang.
  • Pair the Spares: Invoked in "Love Interests". JP suggests that every side character besides the Official Couple should be paired with another side character, regardless of whether the two had any chemistry or even interacted at all beforehand.
  • Pandering to the Base: Invoked in his "Taking Criticism" video, saying that it's totally possible to meet the interests of every single person who reads any given work even when some interests contradict each other.
  • Paranormal Romance: JP does acknowledge that half of the tropes discussed in the "Urban Fantasy" episode are more applicable to this, which he ignores as usual.
  • Percussive Pickpocket: Beaubien uses this trope as an example in "The Nature of Clichés - Honest Thoughts" to point out that Tropes Are Tools. He mentions that while this scene is pretty typical, it can be useful because it establishes a lot of information in one scene. He also offers ways to subvert the trope, such as an aristocrat purposefully getting robbed in hopes of finding a thief to help him on his journey.
  • Pet-Peeve Trope: invokedJP's tone in "Comic Relief Characters" makes it very clear that he despises disruptive comic relief characters. His Honest Advice article makes it clear that a comic relief character who fits isn't a quarter as annoying; one idea is to create a World of Snark, where everyone has a turn being the comic relief.
  • Plot Armor:
    • Invoked with "Evil Empire", and laser beams curve around the Han Solo and Princess Leia expies.
    • Also invoked in "Action Scenes". How else would the heroes survive diving headfirst into the line of fire without devising a strategy?
  • Plot Hole: "Plotting A Story" finds Beaubien building one so large it's twice as tall as he is ("Eh, it's fine.")
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The "Comic Relief Characters" episode is dedicated to this trope.
  • Politically Correct History:
    • Inverted in "Worldbuilding Cultures", with a sci-fi setting that counts as a politically correct future, as everyone still maintains the same values as the modern day despite their improved technology.
    • Also played with in "Steampunk", in that while the world is a Constructed World, it should be influenced by the Victorian era, though without mentioning the darker aspects of that time period, or as JP calls them, "Unpleasant Realities", including but not limited to racism, classism, and the slave trade.
  • Power Fantasy: "Spies" suggests turning the action thriller spy story into this.
  • Power of Love: The Kryptonite Factor of all alien invasions: the Love Triangle!
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality:
    • His "Mary Sue" video suggests having people be good or evil based on their opinions of the protagonist.
    • "Spies" suggests doing this with the protagonist's more questionable actions. Anything they do should be justified because they're the ones doing it, while the villain should be the villain even though they haven't killed anyone.
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Inner Critic gives one when J.P. starts building up to talking about adding a Love Triangle in "Rivals".
  • Rated M for Manly: "Spies" emphasizes how masculine the "Power Fantasy" protagonist should be.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • In the "Evil Empire" video, he recommends ending any story about toppling an evil empire on a high note, rather than the aftermath that would occur like the struggles of reforming the government into a more democratic system, or the civil wars that would ensue from imperial successors.
    • In his "Post-Apocalyptic" video, he points how radiation doesn't turn people into mutated monsters. It just, you know, kills you!
    • His "Environmentalism" video points out that a corporation would take a massive PR hit if they started destroying the environment. It also points out that even if the evil corporation were wiped out, the reason they rose to power in the first place is because of the hyper-consumerist economy, implying that a new corporation would just take its place.
    • Beaubien points out in "Cyberpunk" that one Artificial Limb wouldn't stop its owner spine from breaking if they tried lifting a car, given that the rest of their body isn't enhanced.
    • The "Intrigue Plots" episode brings up the fact that murdering people is counterproductive to The Conspiracy, because it won't help cover it up, but instead draw attention to it, especially if too many people are killed.
    • In "Dark Lords" it's pointed out that the Evil Overlord would have no clue about the political situation of the world because they've been asleep for centuries.
  • Rebel Relaxation: In "AntiHeroes", this pose is suggested as your Anti-Hero protagonist's default resting pose, complete with the Badass Arm-Fold.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: Brought up in "Giant Monsters", as an antagonist that shows up in the final act out of nowhere.
  • Revenge: This is the only motivation suggested for the Anti-Hero that'll totally be described in later events, though one shouldn't bother giving a reason for the Anti-Hero to be obsessed with vengeance.
  • Ridiculous Procrastinator: "Writer's Block" recommends that instead of working through getting stuck, one should get inspiration to strike them. Of course, this quickly devolves into blatantly wasting time with increasingly flimsy justifications.
  • Right-Hand Cat: The Mega-Corp's CEO is depicted as having a white cat.
  • Rock Beats Laser: "Science Fiction Weapons" says that the only ones who can defeat the hyper-advanced military are stone age primitives armed with rocks and sticks.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: In-Universe. Beaubien points out many promising story ideas devolve into romance, especially the dreaded Love Triangle.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • Points it out as a consequence of making the empire more interesting than the protagonist. invoked
    • Also points this out in his "Environmentalism" video, noting that it's a consequence of giving the villains so much cool technology despite trying to go for an Anvilicious "Technology is evil" aesop.invoked
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: From "Marketing And Promotion":
    ReasonableReviewer: Okay book. Not the best. The author could try using spell check.
    GreedyAuthor: Donut listen to this guyz. I does not need spelchick.
    TotallyNotGreedyAuthor: GreedyAuthor is write guyz. This "review" is trrilbe. Boook is awesome!!!!!!111
  • Rousing Speech: "Fantasy Battles" suggests filling a speech with so many cheesy expressions, that the soldiers would rather charge to their deaths than continue listening.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: "Alien Invasions" says that one assumption about alien life is safe to make: that alien races will look like humans "but with forehead ridges or something".
  • Rugged Scar: In "Antiheroes", a scar is suggested as a visual cue for badassery, complete with Perma-Stubble. Of course, it shouldn't detract from your Anti-Hero's appearance.
  • Running Gag:
    • The Love Triangle completely overtaking the plot in every genre imaginable.
    • When considering actually doing research to provide thought-provoking nuanced stories, he inevitably refers to the resulting stories as taking too much effort and/or being "boring". This is usually coupled with the image of either the "bad writer" avatar giving a thumbs down next to a big red X, or, more rarely, a bunch of question marks in a trash can.
    • Villains think Undertale is overrated.
    • Suggesting an Unlucky Everydude as a protagonist, to prove that even average people can rise up and face overwhelming odds, only to toss it aside for someone destined for greatness like The Chosen One.
    • There are a couple of running gags in the "Steampunk" episode:
    • "Grimdark" has JP regularly kill off a small animal for shock value and telling the audience they should feel bad. It ends up Running Gagged as eventually, the bag of animals is empty, with JP noting that the audience is starting to catch on to that trick.
    • Some episodes feature a sentient, flaming trash bin representing the Flame Wars that ensue over controversial topics. It first showed up at the end of "Worldbuilding Cultures" when JP wondered how a writer should handle topics like religion and gender roles, and subsequently deciding Screw This, I'm Outta Here!.
    • In the end-of-video story segments, the Ancient Conspirator appears to the characters using his hologram technology, only for everyone to call him a ghost (including characters from Science Fiction settings) much to his annoyance.
  • Sarcasm Mode: The entire video series is essentially an entire Bad is Good and Good is Bad diatribe.
  • Satellite Love Interest: "Love Interests" has Beaubien claim that stuff like personality and motivation are optional for a love interest.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: In "Alien Ecosystems", he suggests ignoring the many unique possibilities of aliens with a Hive Mind and just making them space communists.
  • Science Is Bad: Recommended in the "Environmentalism" video, even though the vast majority of solutions to environmental problems would require serious technological advances.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Invoked in the "Slasher Films" video. By making the main characters (excluding the protagonist) intentionally annoying, it will let the audience take pleasure in their deaths.
    • Also notes in the "War Stories" video that the comic relief character is this, stating that he doesn't match the tone of the rest of the story and that he'll be the only character the audience actually wants dead.
    • "Comic Relief Characters" is not subtle about how comic relief characters can end up in this position, with JP even mentioning Jar-Jar Binks and Scrappy Doo as examples of comic relief gone wrong.
    • "Giant Monsters" emphasizes that the Tagalong Kid ends up in this role.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At the end of "Worldbuilding Cultures", JP wonders how a fictional culture should handle controversial topics like religion and gender roles. He then tells the audience they're on their own because he's not starting a Flame War on Youtube.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • The "Marketing and Promotion" video, about the ways desperate writers try to sell their books, ends with him musing "I do so enjoy throwing stones from my glass house."
    • In "Science Fiction Weapons", he brings up the idea of the hero using a Sci-Fi sword in a setting with primarily ranged weapons, then snickers and says "What author is dumb enough to do that?" Cue Aeon Legion: Labyrinth cover.
    • In "Megacorporations" the list of "Off the Shelf Villains" includes Dark Lord, Vampire, and Internet Comedian, with the latter being represented by JP's avatar.
    • In "Giving Criticism", this is a Running Gag:
      Beaubien: Instead, giving criticism should be seen as an opportunity to cut loose and put other creators down in order to elevate a writer’s own position. (screenshot of the Terrible Writing Advice YouTube page with "Unrelated Image" as the caption.)
      Beaubien: Tearing people down is good entertainment, and an excellent way to stroke one's own ego — don't forget to be snarky too! (screenshot of the TWA page, again, with "Another Unrelated Image" as the caption.)
      Beaubien: In fact, the more one hates something the more time and energy they should dedicate to bashing it. Start entire blogs or even multiple YouTube channels dedicated to just how horrible this story is and go over every minor error in excruciating detail. (screenshot of the TWA page, again, with "Yet Another Unrelated Image" as the caption, and a split-second all-screen caption "I'm not a hypocrite!".)
    • From "Alien Invasion":
      Beaubien: There are many other motivations we can give them as well, from using humans as a host for their offspring, to attacking Earth for spamming out crappy Youtube videos.
      Alien: We followed your advice and our book didn't sell at all! <disintegrates Beaubien with its raygun>
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Points out in the "Chosen Ones" video that the hero would've never started their journey to defeat the dark lord or ancient evil in the first place if the forces of evil hadn't attacked their home in an attempt to kill him and defy the prophecy.
  • Self-Made Man: Parodied in "Megacorporations", where the Mega-Corp's CEO says he made his way to the top by murdering baby seals with an oil tanker. Though he admits he's not sure how that made him rich.
  • Shaky Cam: Encouraged in the "War Stories" video, claiming it won't get on the audience's nerves.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter: While a link to buy Aeon Legion: Labyrinth has appeared in all Terrible Writing Advice videos without fail, it is also a mocked trope, with Beaubien's Author Avatar (holding Labyrinth, no less) being one of the outcasts in "Cyberpunk". And, of course, being the focus of "Marketing and Promotion".
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Defied in "Megacorporations" with regards to the soldiers who work for the corporation's Private Military Contractor. JP does bring up how the soldiers are likely war veterans who joined the PMC because of a bad economy, and how some might suffer from PTSD. He then says that because they work for the corporation, the protagonists should show no remorse killing them.
  • Shocking Swerve: invokedEncouraged in the "Plotting" episode, the more out of nowhere the better.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: "Comic Relief Characters" suggests getting rid of the comic relief for the final act, even if it results in Mood Whiplash and the story taking itself too seriously.
  • Shooting Superman: "Action Scenes" recommends that combatants continue shooting at the superhero or monster, even though they should know doing so is pointless.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show, Don't Tell: In "Telling A Story":
    Beaubien: (increasingly disgusted) Then have the action scene followed up with another scene in which the characters stand around and talk about what just happened even though the reader literally just read it a few moments ago because obviously we need a space-filling recap to explain everything!
  • Side-Effects Include...: From the end of "Megacorporations":
    Beaubien: Megacorp, the only villain you will ever need! Side effects may include zombie outbreak, xeno-parasites, author soap boxing, and poor reviews. Consult with an editor if soap boxing continues for longer than three paragraphs. Ask your beta reader if Megacorp is right for you.
  • Sincerity Mode:
    • This happens a few times in his videos when he breaks character.
    • He completely drops the ironic pretense to talk about clichés in "The Nature of Clichés"
    • The descriptions in his videos have links to his official website, where he gives sincere advice on the same genres and tropes he mocks in his videos.
    • Zig-zagged in his "Amazing Writing Advice" video, which he released on April Fools' Day. On the surface, it seems like he's giving sincere advice, and some of the advice at the start of the video, such as making sure to read a lot, is genuine. However, while his tone lacks sarcasm, he gives advice like avoiding clichés, which contradicts his other Sincerity Mode video "The Nature of Clichés". He also tries to pass off his sample story (A brooding Youtube artist meets a quirky girl) as original, even though this is the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope.
    • Some of the Freeze Frame Bonuses in JP's videos do contain genuine advice, or further elaborate on advice that gets ignored.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Suggested in the "Alien Ecosystems" video, because it saves the writer effort.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: In "Grimdark", the protagonist and antagonist both wear armor with skulls on it.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: His "Taking Criticism" video encourages this behavior in writers. The video starts with him stating that negative criticism is more important than actual death and real life political issues.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: "War Stories" recommends that the story include a stock psychopath character in the unit that the story focuses on, so that he can commit war crimes which will allow the story to pretend it's morally complex. It also recommends avoiding the question of why he's still serving on the front lines despite his obvious mental instability.
  • Sock Puppet: Gives the advice to use them to respond to negative comments.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • In his "Nature of Cliche" video, instead of giving silly advice, he gives a frank, serious lesson about cliches. The video is dubbed "Honest Thoughts".
    • "Cyberpunk" has a major stylistic departure. The fonts used are different, the "terrible author" now has sunglasses and a vaguely sci-fi pencil, "Best Story Ever!" is a hologram on a stick, and so on.
    • Downplayed with his "Survival Horror" video. While it still has the sarcasm and silly advice of his other videos, it's advice for a video game genre unlike his other videos which focus on genres in literature.
    • The "Holiday Special" video contains conversations with multiple characters rather than J.P. just monologuing to himself (albeit obviously all voiced by JP).
    • The "Megacorporations" video takes the form of a long ad for "MegaCorp: the only villain you'll ever need!"
  • Space-Filling Empire: Gags involving maps will include this, often even named blatantly, such as the Noble Kingdom of Map Filleria in "Evil Empires" and the Space Filling Empire of South America in "Cyberpunk".
  • Space Whale Aesop: In "Giant Monsters", the POV Drone explains that the reason giant monsters attack humanity is because we abandoned the Gold Standard and failed to keep kids off drugs.
  • Spoof Aesop: His "Chosen One" video ends with the message that people should just wait for a special person to solve all their problems.
  • Spy Fiction: This is the main topic of the "Spies" episode. JP splits the video into two sub-genres: the action thriller Tuxedo and Martini variant, and the gritty, realistic Stale Beer variant.
  • Square-Cube Law: "Alien Ecosystems" recommends flat-out ignoring it.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: "Love Interests" claims that a simple arm grab can disable even the fiercest and most competent Action Girl.
  • Standard Royal Court: "Noble Houses" has Beaubien say he'll just use the most off-the-shelf stock version of this trope that he can.
  • Stock Characters: His videos often suggest having this be the supporting cast, with each character only having one trait that gets beaten over the audience's head.
  • Stock Gods: "Myths, Legends, and Gods" suggests copying the gods of a mythology like Greek or Norse mythology, and then changing their names to avoid copyright lawsuits.
  • Straw Character: This advice comes up a lot:
  • Stupid Evil: "Megacorporations" advises that the evil corporation should take actions that would kill people, ignoring the fact that said people are customers who buy their products and are partially responsible for the success of the corporation.
  • Stylistic Suck: Most of the examples he gives are very poorly written, mocking clichés found in amateur fiction.
  • Sunk Cost Fallacy: "Avoiding Scams" gives the advice for writers to keep giving money to scammers and sinking further into debt because so much money has already been invested in the scam company, rather than accepting your losses and moving on.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: "Alien Ecosystems":
    Beaubien: Huge predators need a large amount of energy, so choosing between attacking a slow-moving but large and injured herbivore or the comparatively small and less nutrious protagonist, the apex predator will obviously drop everything it's doing, and chase down our interstellar explorers instead! It will likely hunt our main characters for a good portion of the plot, expending far more energy than it would gain from eating a human. It will not give up the hunt even if our explorers manage to injure it and drive it away temporarily. Never should an apex predator know when to cut its losses for easier prey. Just treat them like a videogame monster! [+2000 XP]
  • Take That!:
    • The Na'Vi from Avatar appear in the "Environmentalism" video and are described as "Mary Sues".
    • The "Urban fantasy" video is a big one to Twilight, mocking the Love Triangle and plot flaws of the books and movies.
    • The American Education System is heavily criticized in his videos.
    • The "Dystopia" video is essentially just this aimed at The Hunger Games.
    • The "War Stories" video ends with him showing a poster of Pearl Harbor to emphasize that no genre, even one primarily targeted towards men, is immune to the Love Triangle.
    • The "Alien Invasion" is a giant one to Independence Day
    • "Magic Schools" is a Take That! towards Harry Potter and its copycats.
    • "Survival Horror" takes potshots at the Dead Space and Resident Evil franchises.
    • "Antiheroes" is basically an episode-long one towards the idea that being Darker and Edgier automatically makes a story or character better. invoked
    • In "Worldbuilding Cultures", JP states that people won't notice any issues with your world building unless you really screw up, zooming in on a poster of Bright as he says so.
    • "Worldbuilding Cultures" is almost entirely a Take That! towards Star Trek, especially the Klingon Empire.
    • "Noble Houses" takes potshots at Game of Thrones.
    • "Science Fiction Weapons" has no patience for the Na'vi, frequently mocking their plot armor and ability to apparently take down virtually anything humanity fields.
    • "Love Interests" has a Jacob Black parody say "my violent and controlling disposition will be romanticized!" and then get roasted over an open fire by Beaubien.
    • "Giant Monsters" refers to Reptilicus as invoked "a highly entertaining trainwreck).
    • It's shown in the "Characterization" video that he is very unimpressed with character profiles.
    • "Apology Video Template," from start to finish. Not only does it takes shots at the common patterns of youtube apologies such as jarringly different format, having ads, and long sighs, and never actually apologizing, but it also takes shots at highly specific things that have actually happened. These include abusing a homeless man, luring young fans to gambling sites, and manipulative corporate apologies.
  • Technology Is Evil: His "Cyberpunk" video suggests that any story in that genre should invoke this to Anvilicious extremes with pretentious symbolism and pseudo-philosophical speeches. invoked
  • There Are Two Kinds of People in the World:
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: invoked Conversed in many videos. Beaubien mentions just sticking to cliches rather than trying new, imaginative stories with complex themes.
  • Throne Made of X: The "Taking Criticism" video features the Author Avatar sitting on a throne made of pencils as everybody praises his work.
  • Too Dumb to Live: "Survival Horror":
    Beaubien: As our characters lack any sort of preservation instincts, our writer is free to have them wander into increasingly suicidal situations no sane person would ever step into.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth:
    • Said verbatim in his "Mary Sue" video, though he does mention resurrection is an option for the protagonist.
    • According to "Grimdark", every good character should be killed off, and good characters should still exist in the setting despite how out-of-place they would be in a Grimdark setting.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Doing Character Development is too hard, and instead just have the character get more and more powerful to show how he's growing as a person.
  • Too Many Halves: In "Character Development", Mary Sue's character sheet says that she's "half-dragon, half-human, half-elf, third angel, fourth Cherokee."
  • Torture Always Works: Said word-for-word in "Spies". Cue an intertitle that says "no it doesn't".
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Touched on in "Giant Monsters", which says that the monster's appearance should be kept mysterious at first, no matter how much its design was already spoiled in the trailers.
  • Troll: Some videos touch upon them, and generally use the popular "trollface" meme to represent them.
  • TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Life: In "The Nature of Clichés - Honest Thoughts", he points out how spending too much time on TV Tropes can make someone more attuned to storytelling conventions, and thus more critical when judging a story.
  • Unexplained Recovery: In "Science-Fiction Weapons", the Ancient Conspirators come back to life despite the Dark Lord killing off the last of them in the previous episode. Their leader being mistaken for a ghost (even by people who never met him before) became a Running Gag.
  • Unfortunate Implications:invoked
    • Conversed in the "Fantasy Races" video regarding how races have inherent traits and how some races are better than others.
    • "Giving Criticism" plays this trope for laughs at the suggestion of the good guys using a burning cross as their symbol, with Beaubien saying "Um, I guess it could work?", with the screen showing the caption "Translation: Try Again."
    • "Cosmic Horror' also discusses how for as critically acclaimed the writings of H. P. Lovecraft are, he was also extremely racist and xenophobic and it's shown in some of his writing, and even in-character JP says that this is the one Lovecraftian trope you should avoid at all costs.
    • "Apology Video Template" invokes this by advising anyone doing an apology video to claim they have depression, which is the reason they ended up doing whatever got them in trouble in the first place. The person should ignore any backlash that comes from this, including people with real depression who will call them out on using depression as an easy scapegoat for their actions.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Invoked in "Dark Lords," with one of the symptoms of evil concentrate being using a tragic backstory to justify heinous crimes.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: "Love Interests" recommends using this trope to milk a romantic subplot for all it's worth.
  • Values Dissonance: invoked
  • Vanilla Protagonist: invokedThis is a recurring archetype character that shows up in the videos:
    • He first appears in "Characterization", with the biography of "Generic Protagonist Person" even stating his favorite flavor is vanilla. They shouldn't have any character trait except that they are the protagonist.
    • He shows up in "Giant Monsters" and is titled "POV Drone", and despite not being a specialist of any kind, is allowed input on how to defeat the giant monster. He's added into the story so for the sake of having a character the audience can relate to. His only trait on his character profile is "Likes Vanilla as much as he lacks insight."
  • Viewers Are Morons:
    • This comes up in a lot of videos, as he discourages the writer from delving into deep themes or trying to be nuanced and to focus primarily on action scenes.
    • "Dark Lords" in particular has Beaubien shooting down the idea of a story exploring the concept of evil, saying philosophy is the mortal enemy of power fantasy and Wish Fulfillment. He also says that if the story gets the audience to start thinking, they'll begin to have actual expectations for that story.
    • "Spies" recommends that the writer visualize their audience as bloodthirsty cavemen who talk in Hulk Speak.
  • Vigilante Man: "Antiheroes" suggests this as a possibility for the antihero, but that the "justice" aspect of vigilantism should be downplayed. He should kill enough minions to fill an entire army and be okay with torturing people.
  • Villain Has a Point: Defied in his "Environmentalism" video, since giving the villains a reasonable argument would undermine the protagonist's own arguments. Instead, he suggests making sure no one in the evil corporation is smart enough to realize that they need resources to make products, which allows them to employ people and grow the economy.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React:
    • "Intrigue Plots" suggests this dynamic, as it'll be entertaining watching the heroes endlessly react to everything no matter how dumb it makes them look.
    • It's also suggested in "Plotting a Story" that only the villain should drive the plot, symbolized by the sample Evil Overlord driving a car with some of the sample heroes as passengers, refusing to listen to their demands to stop and ask for directions.
  • Voice of the Legion: Employed in "Cosmic Horror".
    Couch Gag: I kept summoning Cthulhu when recording the voiceover for this video.
  • Warrior Poet: The "War Stories" video recommends having the characters pontificate on the nature of conflict and human existence in the middle of a firefight.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: Invoked in "Cyberpunk" when Beaubien points out that humanity is enslaving androids with super strength.
  • What You Are in the Dark: "Characterization" opens with Beaubien quoting the aphorism verbatim, and follows it up with "but money is what you will have in the bank if you can fake characterization".
  • Wine Is Classy: In "Noble Houses", a note reads: "Wine glass. Oh, yes, all nobles must sip wine for some reason!"
  • Wish Fulfillment: Encourages this a lot, and very prominent in the "Magic Schools" video which he suggests using to indulge in your darkest revenge fantasies.
  • Write Who You Know: Invoked in "Magic Schools" where he suggests making The Bully a caricature of someone the author knows in real life.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: invokedAccording to the "Intrigue Plots" episode, this is the best way to write an intrigue plot, rather than a writer detailing a plan in their personal notes.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: The "Slash Fic Writer" in "Antiheroes" is a woman who very clearly doesn't care about the plausibility of an M/M pairing, just how hot she thinks it is.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: The framing device of the "Holiday Special" episodes, including lampshading how overused this is.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Recommended in "Cosmic Horror", since it saves the author from having to actually describe the Eldritch Abomination.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Discourages agency from anyone who isn't a main character, as the universe will only allow The Chosen One to bring about changes to their world.
  • You're Just Jealous: "Taking Criticism" recommends rebutting critics this way.
  • Zerg Rush: "Fantasy Battles" has the recurring antihero character recommend this tactic.

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