Tropes in your own writing

I'm a big fan of TV Tropes, a site devoted to cataloging all the conventions (or tropes), negative or positive in popular entertainment. I've been digging through the site, and finding Tropes that fit my own stories. Examples:

Cast Full of Gay, or Bi, as mine usually turn out to be, at leasti n 7 Days. That just kind of happened.

Six Student Clique. Also just kind of happened.

Anyone else stumble into any of these?

Anime Hair and Eyes, Cat Girls (or people with animal ears), some other familiar anime tropes that don't come to mind. I know most of all the characters fall into some type of archetype which was intentional (granted, I was 14 when I started this concept). I actually don't mind the tropes because as I've gotten older, I've been able to evolve the story beyond what it started out to be, but I did keep in some of the tropes so I can write parodies, which are always fun. I take writing the story very seriously, but sometimes the parodies are just really fun to write.

TV Tropes is amazing! I've wasted entire afternoons on that site. Sometimes when I see things I have planned or am executing on the site, part of me cringes. But the other part of me goes "Hell yeah that's exactly why I'm doing things that way."

For mine (that I'm willing to divulge):

Don't You Dare Pity Me

Bad Dreams

Parental Issues

Why did you guys put that on here??? Now I'm even more procrastinating!!

There's just so many of them!

Wow, that site really sucks up time. Talk about a procrastination tool...

Anyway, I found a couple that fit:

-One Man Army

-Beware The Nice Ones

-Brainwashed And Crazy

-Deal With The Devil

Tahjir: It's like Wikipedia for nerds (well, more so). I do love it so. One more I noticed, I have a few Wrench Wenches, but they're a little more complicated than just that. I'm not so embarrassed by that one.

i shall avoid going to look. i shall defeat the evil Procast. i already know the minions he has already put in my fortress and i shall slay every last one of them...


can someone see if there is something a trope thingy about all your characters having their mothers die? just wondering...

Maybe Missing Mom. I feel like there's one, because hey, look at half of all Disney animated movies, but this one seems to fit the bill overall.

damn! i went to look...

happily, i think only my one character fits that disney profile and in only one way... *phew*

I'm aware of some of mine, but either I actively fight their recurrence, or I don't think about them. It's all fine and good to know that, you know, you tend to write introspective novels about one man against a multitude of others, or that you are always writing a classic variation on Joseph Campbell's Hero Journey...but sometimes, it's best not to know about it. You might trip yourself up.

Well, it's true of me, anyway. I try not to think "Ah, THIS scene will enhance my ongoing multi-work themes of the exploitation of the working class" or whatever. I'd rather just write it and then, in forty years, someone can do a thesis that points out my common tropes and leaves me going "Bugger, I am uncreative."


Oh, Gods, not Tvtropes... last time I stumbled on that site, it took about forty-five hours of my life away. It's a shameful feeling to realise that it's four in the mourning, and you've spent the entire preceding night looking up the trope list for "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" And then you start integrating tropes into everyday conversation, followed by your general universe outlook, followed by... madness! Ahaha! Mad Scientist is a trope!

Anyway, I'd like to think I try for subversions wherever I can, but of course they count as tropes in their own right. I'm sure I've caught myself using:

Stable Time Loop.

Knight Templar.

Ensemble Darkhorse.

Timey Wimey Ball.

No Psychiatrists anywhere.

Enemy Mine.

Downer Ending.

Big Bad.

Affably Evil.

Xanatos Gambit.

Xanatos Sucker.

Diablos Ex Machina.

Harmless villain.

Break the cutie.

Kick the Dog.

Shoot the Dog.

Rape the Dog.

The Dog Bites Back...

...And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head! And now I have to stop, before I loose another two days of my life to... oh no, I've started opening tabs. Too late.

These are my tropes used, despite that I'm trying to be as original and revolutionary (I know nothing about tropes, but from the posts I assume it is the concepts commonly used in literature):

Demons are in the way

Search for the holy items

Mission to obtain the holy weapon

Main characters' love story

Aura (I haven't see any of this concept used yet)

Scientific Magic (I bet there is no one dared to use this concept)


Magic circle

Hero and Heroine

Perhaps I can add up new tropes in the next novel.

Well, what I like about TV Tropes is that it's really a celebration of story mechanisms, characterizations, and plot devices that I can say with confidence every story employs. It's not really so much a laundry list of cliches to avoid.

So if you find something you're doing on TV Tropes, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just a reminder to do the trope well, so people can forget that it's been done before, or at least mind a little bit less.

Of course there are tropes in my stuff. There's tropes in everyone's stuff. That's why they're tropes! :)


I started a page for Mirrorfall, but I got scared, because I know it's going to be long - filling it out is going to be a project like the wiki - one that's going to take ages. -_-

I was thrilled when I first discovered that someone had made this page:


For what it's worth, you probably won't have to do the work. I found a link or two to the Legion of Nothing in TVTropes, but no page for it. I created the page, put in a couple sentences and linked back to the two tropes about it. Then I linked to it in the sidebar of my site, suggesting people might want to add tropes. A few months later, they had.

Presently it's surprisingly large.