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"There is nothing new under the Sun."
I feel like this statement can be argued for and against over the course of many essays from a philosophical, theological, scientific, literary etc perspective, but this is beyond the scope of the site.
But I wonder if this part of the page should be updated. But I ain't gonna try.
I'm not that smart.
I think what isn't considered in this trope, is merely the fact that people can come up with the same idea completely independently. It's not only about copying or being influenced. Even in science or math the same things come up and up again from people without knowing the original idea or being influenced by similar works (an important example is the Hahn-Banach Theorem, which was discovered by Hahn and Banach independentely around the same time without knowing each others work. That's also the reason it is named after both mathematicians).
It may be implicitely stated here, but I think it should be pointed out that in a world with thousends of years of civilisation with billions of people that it is not so unlikely to come up with similar ideas.
It's not that these people are not creative, it often just happens that there was someone before.
Why would an Instant Death Bullet to the shoulder be realistic?
Where does it say Instant Death Bullet?
An addition that I would make to "Tropes are bad," is the reason why I've been trying unsuccessfully to wean myself off this site, for probably the last 18 months now.
Something I realised during my third LSD trip, is that "tropinese," is essentially another form of Newspeak. In other words, we run a serious risk of ending up in a scenario where pre-fabricated tropes and memes, constitute our entire vocabulary. Robert Jay Lifton described that very practice as one of the core elements of mind control; he referred to it as, "loading of the language."
I've been watching a number of the videos of Doug Walker and friends recently, and they have been providing good examples of what I'm talking about, here. The degree to which Nostalgia Chick in particular uses pop culture as an actual language, is genuinely frightening.
Another related, serious issue that I have with this site, is the belief that nothing new exists under the sun, or that every single idea that possibly can be developed, already has been. I'm not even necessarily saying that that assumption is false; but I *do* know that being a jaded arbitrary skeptic who insists that they've seen it all before, and that literally everything belongs in a pre-existing neat box, is seriously detrimental to a person's thinking.
To me, this site honestly does have disturbing implications, for the idea of intellectual freedom.
I suppose you make some good points. TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Vocabulary is certainly an issue, and hopefully we can all start working backwards from that. I don't know what the site itself can do, but the first step, I'd say, is making people aware of the issue.
I will say that I believe all our ideas come from our experiences, that that which exists in the Universe is all we can know or conceive. I take comfort, however, in the idea that the Universe may be infinite, and that there is just so much mystery in it that we have barely scratched the surface off.
I share your sentiments about jaded cynics who've "seen it all before". To me, they're doing themselves a great disservice. I definitely don't think all ideas are in some "neat box", it's more like some sprawling, chaotic jungle island resting in a sea of turmoil. Ideas and stories are free as plants and the wind. I would say this site has helped me better appreciate the intricacies of stories and writing, but I also think improvements can be made.
I think there should be one more thing in "Tropes are bad". It would go something like this:
Tropes Are 2X4's Tropes don't observe themes, they simply show the things in a theme. Therefore, they are not always idea for setting up a story.
I made too many comments on accident...
"There is a reason why we have an entire category devoted to Acceptable Breaks from Reality. That category only applies to video games, but there are some good non-video game examples as well."
No it doesn't. Someone should fix that.
Suggestion: mention something about how using "Tropes Are Not Bad" is a common, now obsolete Pothole that a lot of Justifying Edits like to use to mitigate the sour taste of stereotypically-negative tropes (like Executive Meddling).
Sometimes even Strawman Has a Point. I checked out Purple Prose and despite the very clearly defined definition of this trope, many people had their own idea of what it meant. Basically:
1. Purple Prose is any use of flowery, extensively descriptive narrative that can be done well.
2. Purple Prose is by its very nature a bad trope, and if a flowery narrative manages to be done well, it can't be Purple Prose.
Methinks there needs to be reminders that Tropes Are Like The Force; they can be used for good or evil.
The specific Executive Meddling issue is the subject of a current debate in the Trope Repair Shop. Seems to me that there is an ambiguity in Tropes Are Tools, in that it could be taken to mean that:
1. Calling something a trope, or having it included on this site, does not mean it is a Bad Thing. This is how I would take it.
2. Each individual trope must be considered as neutral, and if a trope lends itself to a usually-negative connotation, then it must be rewritten to take out the negative connotation. This is how the person complaining about Executive Meddling took it.
I don't think the main article here makes clear which of these options is the Word of God for TV Tropes. I don't think we should impose an artificial value neutrality on each individual trope.
What happened to the Pratchett quote? Was it not good enough to move to the quotes section when taken off the main page?
Yes, I understand the aversion to the word 'cliché', but that ignores the fact that at the time Terry wrote that line 'trope' was not exactly an everyday word. Strictly speaking, it still isn't. One man's 'trope' is another man's 'cliché'.
This page should not be referencing stuff like Magnificent Bastard or Moment Of Awesome. Those are subjective. We don't consider subjective stuff tropes anymore, and Audience Reactions are definitely not tools. They're how an audience perceives and reacts to a work.
They can certainly be invoked. Certain elements of a story can add up to such stuff as Moment Of Awesome (ie: Awesome Music, Dying Moment of Awesome, Heroic Sacrifice, Forgiveness, Stuff Blowing Up...) and Magnificent Bastard (Xanatos Gambit, The Chessmaster, Lelouch Vi Britannia), and both have the potential to screw up. See what I mean?
Does this include Unfortunate Implications?
I'm just wondering, why would Action Girl be thought of as bad? Since a lot of people seem to dislike Damsel in Distress (causing the creation of Damsel Scrappy), it seems kind of weird.
Because some people tend to see Action Girl as automatically meaning "a Straw Feminist Blood Knight who likes to mutilate phalli", instead of simply "a girl who kicks ass". Damned if you do...
This article needs a big "in my opinion" at the top of it.
Tropes ARE BAD - if i see too many in in the trailer even I'm not going to watch it. If there are more than 2 in a show i don't return.
Tropes are writers being lazy, and whilst one dude may wish to sing their praises it shouldn't be presented as a fact.
So, how do you enjoy.... well, damn near any piece of fiction in existence, then?
Tropes =/= Cliches
It's even on the Home Page.
Yeah, Tweeit, you're a little confused. You're talking about cliches, not tropes. Tropes are the basic building blocks of all fiction—if you're watching something with no tropes, that means the television is turned off.
See also: The Tropeless Tale.
Tweeit, it is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to have any piece of non-interactive fiction, of a length of more than 3 minutes, that contains 2 or fewer tropes. It CANNOT be done.
The Hero is a trope. Love Interest is a trope. Story Arc is a trope. Those are all incredibly basic, versatile concepts.
And besides, who is "my"? All of TV Tropes? Articles oughtn't reference the writer.
Top poster: Are you effing for reals or just a troll? Here's a piece of fiction I know you'll absolutely enjoy!
I cannot see it anywhere on this site, and maybe it is, but it cannot be stressed enough that a lot of writers just write from the heart and don't do what they do deliberately. As a writer ( not professional ) myself, it's disheartening to read this website and see it list everything I ever thought was a good idea....not that I thought it was original in the first place, but it was original to me when I thought it up.
Listing them all out like this, and having this page ( implying that artists and writers use tropes consciously ) somewhat makes it look like most stories were written using trope books, and that's just not true.
Try not to be disheartened. Just about everything has been thought of before, stories are cyclical like that. Sure, most authors don't consciously use tropes, but storytelling as a medium has existed for as long as human civilisation, so certain recurring elements are bound to be picked up by an attentive audience. I know your comment's old, and it's probably not an issue anymore, but please remember, this site is about recognising these techniques and cataloging them in the hopes of enriching people's enjoyment or skill at the crafting of stories. Other than that, I, for one, agree with you that stories aren't written with guidebooks. I mean, what would be the point if that were the case?
"Moments of Awesome" is misspelled "Moments of Awseome". I'd edit it, but yeah...
Also, I'm pretty sure "indexically" should be "identically."
Yeah, and My Name Is Inigo Montoya needs to be replaced with Heroic Second Wind
You're harshing free expression with this lock, man
Dear Captain Riker: Freedom is power, and with great power Comes Great Responsibility. Sadly, there are many trolls out there who will abuse their power and fuck up the page, so for the safety of this page and Your Mom, the lock must be had.
Thought about adding another line, something about how subversions/deconstructions aren't necessarily evidence good writing; which heading do you think this would fall under, Tropes Are Not Bad or Tropes Are Not Good?
It seems that every adjustment that Evilest Tim makes to the page subtly alters it meaning negatively. I wish he would cease.
I don't see what you mean in the slightest. The first heading is a plain and simple lie in its current format; nothing is totally new, that's true, but nothing new at all is stretching the concept beyond a factual statement and into the realm of fanboy logic used to excuse copy-paste plotting. As it stands now, the second line actually contradicts the first; the first basically declares it impossible to be original, the second says there's a difference between being influenced and being overly derivative. How can that be, if there's no way for anything to be new? To settle which is true, I can come up with something new right now: a mob drama set in 30s Chicago plotting the rise and fall of a Mafia family as they battle against a sentient earthquake. Doubt anyone's tried that before. * Granted, this is because it would be really stupid, but hey
As for the second, the opening line adds nothing to the section other than repeating the well-worn argument that reality is tiresome and dull and thus something you necessarily want to escape; the paragraph functions perfectly well without having such a dubious claim in it.
It's a saying, a several thousand year old saying, not a literal truth.
Yeah, but it's addressed on the page as if it is a literal truth, that's my issue with it.
Not really. We also do not claim that Thor exists nor do we make any literal claims about his metal-working abilities.
So... Bad Writing isn't bad?
Well I guess it ISN'T bad, when They Plotted a Perfectly Good Waste, or when it's So Bad, It's Good.
There's a few tropes that actually are bad, though mostly things that aren't tropes per se. Game Breaking Bugs springs to mind, since they're bad by definition, otherwise they're Good Bad Bugs.
Bad Writing or Game Breaking Bugs are bad, but they're not bad because they're tropes, if that makes sense.
While that is true and gets to the heart of the page...Bad Writing and Game Breaking Bugs aren't tropes.
What if a bad game has Game Breaking Bugs, said bugs stop you from playing the game, and the game is bad for reasons that have nothing to do with the bugs, so fixing them would not improve the game's quality at all?
That makes little sense.
I don't mean to launch an Edit War, but the Action quote, although long, fits the theme perfectly.
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