Reflection: TV Tropes

TV Tropes is undoubtedly one of my favorite websites.  The site is all about the various tropes, plot devices, types of characters, etc. used in fiction, giving examples of them, and exploring them.  If you are not familiar with the website, you can access it here.  Before you do, be warned, TV Tropes is extremely addictive.  They say it themselves: TV Tropes will ruin your life.

Despite the name, it does not focus on television.  That is simply where it started.  It covers tropes specific to many types of fiction: television, anime, movies, literature, comic books, video games, music, theater, and more.

The site has a page dedicated to many stories/series, including many obscure ones.  These pages keep a list of different tropes they contain (or play with), along with brief descriptions of that trope occurring.  I have to have been to the TV Tropes page for each of my favorite books/tv shows/anime/movies/video games etc. at least once.

Naturally, the site is riddled with spoilers.  Be warned.

Then, of course, there are the pages for the individual tropes, the real meat of the site.  They describe what the tropes are, talk about how they are used.  The pages give examples as well.  Browsing the trope pages has given me lots of great inspiration.

These pages also indicate which tropes should probably be avoided, such as things that are cliché, outdated, or just plain signs of bad writing.  But even these tropes can be done right if used properly.  They repeatedly make clear throughout the site that tropes are not bad.

I’ve gotten lots of great ideas just by browsing the website, clicking on the various trope links and learning more about them.  In college, I remember spending hours between classes just sitting at my laptop and browsing the site.  Many times, I’ve stumbled upon a trope page about a trope that might help give me an idea on how to resolve a dilemma about how to continue the story.  TV Tropes is also a wiki, so anybody can edit it.  I’ve yet to do so, but have some plans to get involved in the future.

In fact, as I wrote Evaira, I have been keeping track of many of the tropes I used.  I am currently working on a TV Tropes page that I will eventually post there (unlike Wikipedia, TV Tropes does not care about notability, or even if the page is written by the work’s author), though probably not for a while, as I’ve already included some information from a few unpublished stories.

But the biggest thing TV Tropes taught me is this: there is no such thing as originality.  Everything I write has probably been done before, so I shouldn’t be afraid of copying pieces of other plots (so long as I don’t blatantly steal and make it obvious), or using common plot devices.  Even if it’s been done before, a good story may use an unusual combination of tropes, make them unexpected, play with or subvert the tropes, or simply do one extremely well.  Plus, of course, you have parodies that poke fun at the different tropes.

My brief reflection post cannot give a fully detailed description of this site and do it justice.  If you want to know more, you’re really just going to have to go check the site out yourself.  Though remember, it is addictive.  Anyway, this is White Rakogis, signing off.

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