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02/10/2021 21:12:20 •••

It's funny that most of these reviews are negative, since I like the series

Although I can see why the other reviewers don't like this series, I've always enjoyed it for the insights it gives into storytelling. Given that I don't read many books, or consume much media in many of the genres JP mentions, it's helpful to gain insight into these genres that I otherwise wouldn't have. And if you're familiar with the genre, it can be just as fun to go "Ohh, that does happen a lot!"

While I'm sure that many viewers find the show's nonstop irony and sarcasm irritating, I think it makes the commentary funnier. It makes the show less of a "don't do this" and more of a satire of the genre in question, poking fun at the absurdity of tropes, which lets JP get away with not explaining in detail why he personally dislikes a trope and makes the analysis seem less subjective. He certainly has moments where it's clear that he's being sarcastic out of contempt, such as when talking about comic relief, which I think slightly undermines his point, but it can be nice to get some edge occasionally.

I think it's pretty clear he doesn't just go Tropes Are Bad, he explains why some common tropes make the storytelling worse for the reader or are unrealistic in general, even though there are certainly instances where he dislikes tropes because they make the story predictable. His points on realism/research might be a bit much for some, since plenty of good stories don't have to be realistic, but as someone who admires the effort of research I think that avoiding clearly unrealistic elements makes it much easier to avoid having to Hand Wave away why things don't work the way they do in real life, and following methods employed in real life can give an air of authenticity even when the reader has no idea how things actually work, if the writer explains said methods well enough. Using realistic elements that are usually left out (like accounting for biochemical barriers) can create complications which most stories ignore.

It's also pretty easy to get good advice from the show in my opinion, given that it seems like almost half of JP's comments are ironic dismissals of actually good advice, and if you can't pick up on this always he uses the green question marks to clearly telegraph ideas he actually likes. Many of the ideas are much more than "avoid this trope," with many being clever subversions or whole new story concepts (like a vampire dictatorship).

Another plus is the advice to writers in general, even if said advice isn't as useful to people who don't have serious plans to write novels. JP's also expanded recently into things like analyzing comedy and propaganda, and while these analyses aren't always as strong, it's good to see his approach.

02/10/2021 00:00:00

Part of the problem I have with the series is that while he doesn\'t simply go with \"Tropes are Bad,\" he doesn\'t always seem to acknowledge that Tropes Are Tools. Most of the time, he seems to act as though there are only two routes to take- subverting/deconstructing tropes or playing them painfully straight to the point of cliche. For example, he seems to think that the Love Triangle is only a way of injecting romantic drama into a story that doesn\'t need it.

Perhaps part of it is that I often find his brand of sarcasm obnoxious, since when you use such a tone, it\'s clear that you don\'t take what you\'re discussing seriously. This ties into how it often seems like he believes that writers who don\'t subvert or deconstruct tropes are lazy and uncreative.

As I said in my review, I personally think How Not To Write A Novel does a better job of providing humorous writing advice, particularly showing bad habits and explaining how to avoid falling into them, although there isn\'t much genre-specific advice in that book.


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