Questions tagged [tropes]

For questions about commonly-used storytelling devices, such as character stereotypes, plot devices and other tricks of the trade.

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6
votes
2answers
2k views

Resource for generic plot hooks?

I'm in a long and painful recovery from many years of writer's block. Coming up with even quite simple story ideas costs me unreasonable amount of effort. Sometimes inspiration is generous and I'm ...
86
votes
9answers
16k views

Using real words from a foreign culture feels like 'Calling a rabbit a "smeerp"'

I'm working on a novel, that's set in pre-Islamic Persia, in the same general way that The Lord of the Rings is set in Britain. (Meaning, it's set in a world all its own, but there's this source of ...
40
votes
8answers
7k views

Avoiding the "as you know" trope in exposition

When writing fiction, especially in universes other than our own such as sci-fi/fantasy genres, the reader often has to be given a piece of information about how the world works in order for what's ...
25
votes
4answers
7k views

How to Write an Eldritch Abomination?

My trilogy features an otherworldly monstrosity called Fenrisúlfr as it's primary antagonist, whose characterisation takes cues from Nyarlathotep, Sauron, Showa!King Ghidorah, Sutekh, Makuta Teridax ...
18
votes
6answers
3k views

Avoiding Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy

Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy is when the audience is put off by the incredibly dark nature of a fictional work and won't care what happens next, lose interest or want all the characters to die off....
5
votes
6answers
640 views

From a writing standpoint, what is the value of Deus Ex Machina?

Deus ex machina is considered by TV Tropes to be a sub-trope to asspulling, and thus, often considered a bad writing trope. Now, unlike most other bad writing tropes, that have their roots in ...
42
votes
12answers
12k views

Averting Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses

Real Women Don’t Wear Dresses is when writers portray female characters possessing traditional feminine qualities as being less desirable, competent and reliable instead of their tomboy foils. They ...
41
votes
13answers
17k views

Avoiding the "not like other girls" trope?

The "not like other girls" trope is pretty common in young adult fiction, arguably misogynistic, and usually applied to a female protagonist or love interest. Attempts to make a female character ...
16
votes
9answers
4k views

How to compactly explain secondary and tertiary characters without resorting to stereotypes?

Sure, I understand the characters, but that's because I've been thinking about them. But how do I transfer that knowledge to the reader without taking the time and space to flesh them out further?? ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Non-cheap ways to make villains evil?

Do you have any tried and true techniques to make villains of your stories truly hated by the audience? I mean, frequently it's "eh, sure, that's bad, he's got to be stopped" but the audience would ...
30
votes
16answers
6k views

How do you write boy & girl protagonists without turning them into a love story?

I've played with the idea of a multi-book fantasy story for years, where a female and male protagonists' lives intertwine with one another, the series running from 12-22 years old for them. There ...
8
votes
9answers
10k views

Is killing off one of my queer characters homophobic?

(For reference, I am queer.) In my post-apocalyptic novel and in the short story from the novel's antagonist's perspective, my MC, Eris' love interest, Caspian, has/had two mothers, Saskia and Ezrith ...
12
votes
3answers
9k views

What does it mean to subvert a trope?

Recently, I've been seeing a lot of discussions about works that subvert a given trope. I think I have an understanding of what this means (from context) but can someone offer a clear definition or ...
10
votes
7answers
810 views

Can dream reveals make good climaxes for a POV’s internal struggle?

Dream twists just spoil our senses of disbelief. I can see how that can be excetuted carelessly, but if done for the need of showing what the main character wants or fears most then maybe it would be ...
6
votes
11answers
580 views

Can writing actually be creative?

I've been pondering this a lot just now. After reading and learning about tropes online, rhetoric devices, and all relative things, it's come to my attention that writing seems less of a creative, ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

How can I convey an absolute truth from the author to the reader without a mentor character?

There are sometimes moments in works of fiction where the author needs to convey something to the reader without ambiguity. Let's say the situations around the characters get so weird that the author ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

What makes for a successful resurrection?

If you've seen Avengers: Infinity War, you'll recall the line "No resurrections this time" being said in the scene just after the first (arguably second) on-screen death of a main character at the ...
2
votes
2answers
135 views

Action-packed opening events: cliché or not?

Not a duplicate of Trying to avoid being cliché as that question asks about the opening line, rather than an opening event. I am trying to avoid the many clichés out there, so I had a question about ...
0
votes
3answers
158 views

Trying to avoid being cliché

Has opening a story with something like "I hurtled to my death", "I had destroyed the earth", or other outlandish statements like these become cliché? And if so, what are some alternative methods to ...