1. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    Your Opinion on Tropes?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Fivvle, May 24, 2012.

    I personally try to stay away from tropes. I think that they are too static a way to describe something. I don't want to call a part in my story a "Chekhov's Gun", I just want to call it a part of my story. Tropes seem like pretty stiff and unimaginative categorizations, in my opinion; something people use to sound like they know more than they actually do.



    What about you guys? What do you think about tropes?
     
  2. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    Saying "I stay away from tropes" is like proclaiming "I stay away from words when I form sentences." They are the essential building blocks of fiction, and short of every single idea you ever conceive being pure and original, never before envisioned by a single other living entity, you will be using tropes in your writing. Don't confuse them for cliché. It is how you use these building blocks which counts.
     
  3. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    Agreed -- if you try and avoid trope's you will ultimately fail.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Tropes are simply a categorization of stories, for those who are obsessed with such things. The only significance to tropes is a realization that there are only just so many storylines, to a first approximation.

    They have as much value as the prediction, "Unless you are an Immortal, you will die."

    Duh.
     
  5. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    I'm not talking about archetypes and story outlines, here.... we all know that they exist. I'm not saying I'm completely original either. I think some of you guys are missing the point of what I'm arguing: that TROPES are a bit ridiculous. They bring categorization of story elements into a static state- it's overkill.
     
  6. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    And to you, sir, I simply mean that I try and stay away from identifying things as tropes. Also, I never brought cliches into this at all.
     
  7. thecoopertempleclause
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    thecoopertempleclause Contributing Member

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    By your veracity, I inferred that you regarded tropes as things tired or trite, not worthy of accomplished authors.

    I would argue that tropes can be your friend. They give you the ability to surprise audiences. If your audience is conditioned by experience to expect something, you can use it to your advantage, but only if you know what the audience is expecting.

    Show them a gun in the first act, they will expect it to be fired in the third act. That opens all manner of possibility. What if the gun turns out to be useless; what if it has power beyond its appearance; what if it explodes, killing its holder; what if it's loaded with blanks; what if it's a ferocious wilderbeast in disguise. Only by knowing what's expected, can you subvert it, giving the unexpected.
     
  8. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    If done correctly, Tropes are the stepping stones of a great story.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, but I'm not sold on Chekov's Gun. There's nothing wrong with a .45 caliber red herring.
     
  10. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I'm like the cobbler's children on this topic. To me, trying to stop tropes is like putting my finger in the dike. But then, a biker who's a wordsmith is tentatively like the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of literature. You've seen one, you've seen them all.

    Personally, addressing the subject is the stitch in time that saves nine. If I don't look before I leap, the result is a house of cards.

    But then, what can I do, the die is cast.
     
  11. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    Literary tropes have their place because they they're cultural signifiers. We look for Chekov's gun or the red herring because they work.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Chekov's Gun is not a trope, it's a guideline. A red herring isn't a trope either, it's a plot device.

    A trope is a broad story template, a more literary-sounding term than the hackneyed "cliche plot." It means nothing though, because ANY story can be compared with dozens of similarly-structured stories.

    Trope is only so much tripe.
     
  13. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    It depends what school of thought you're following. Harold Bloom using Vico's poetics suggested there were four 'master tropes.' -- metaphor, metonymy, irony, and synechdoche. However, a trope is more commonly understood as a rhetorical or literary device - including plot devices like red herring's - and can also extend into stereotypes.
     
  14. Gonissa
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    Gonissa Contributing Member

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    I don't care if something is a "trope" or not. Besides, even when people come up with something original, somebody else is going to call it a trope, or if it's not already one they'll make it into a trope. Paying too much attention to that sort of thing is irrelevant. Just write whatever speaks to you and move on with life.
     
  15. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    You have voiced the words of my inner soul.
     

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