Friday, July 18 2008 @ 11:41 AM CDT Views: 341
devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means "stereotyped and trite." In other words, dull and uninteresting.
When you sit down to watch a fiction TV show (or, heck, a reality TV show for that matter) or you sit down with a good book, what plot elements make you happy, satisfied, what do you like to experience in a good work of fiction?
As I'm an aspiring fiction writer (science fiction and, perhaps, fantasy fiction, specifically) I have a list of tropes which I'm looking at incorporating. I have two, perhaps three main fiction universes under development and for which I'm trying to write stories.
The first is called the "Guider Universe." It's a science fiction story, a huge space opera spanning the entirety of human civilized life on Earth, and beyond.
The second is tentatively named "U.S.S. Deadaliens" where this regular guy gets abducted by your stereotypical little Gray aliens, but wakes up on their ship to find all of the little gray guys mysteriously dead and actually kinda stinky, and the ship a barely functioning wreck.
The third is a fantasy, based in the great magical city of Arapan (which might be familiar to you who, twenty to thirty years ago, played D&D with yours truly). It's actually the least developed of the three fictional world concepts of mine, so far. And, as a twist, it might actually turn out to be somewhere in the Guider Universe. Or, possibly, all three of the storylines might somehow wind up being in the same fictional universe. You just never know.
Anyway, I was thinking about what tropes I want to include in my stories, and which ones I'd just as soon avoid. I decided to throw it open to you, the three readers of Medary.com, for comment and discussion.
Here's my incomplete list of tropes I plan to work with:
- Faster-than-light interstellar starflight
- Life is common in the Universe
- Ancient technology--exotic future physics/science unknown to current human science
- Evolution of humanity towards something better
- Humanity as a young upstart race among older, more powerful races in the galaxy
- Integration of humans with computing technology
- Use of genetic and nano-technology to lengthen life and enhance abilities of humans, animals, and aliens
- Fully intelligent, self-aware machines
- Aliens among us today and have been on Earth throughout human history
- Big starships/starship fleet battles
- Little guys vs. amoral/evil governments/aliens/bad guys
- Pre-starflight humans living elsewhere in the galaxy, with or without knowledge of Earth as their real origin
And here's the list of tropes that I currently wish to avoid:
- Time travel
- Alternate dimensions
- "Luke, I Am Your Father"
- "Ascension" into energy beings -- it's been done, and while I may do something similar, I want to avoid the glowing cloud-of-light, Human turns to energy-being-in-front-of-the-gaping-group-of-heroes type of Stargate SG-1 thing.
- Productive sex between alien species
- Intergalactic travel--the Milky Way galaxy is big enough for now, thanks.
- Cliched dwarf-elf-wizard Tolkien/D&D rip-off fantasy
- Humorless, overly serious writing...be serious but lightheartedly so...don't be a downer...should feel good after finishing the piece, not worse for doing so.
Agree? Disagree? Like something else, more, or different from your fiction? Let me know--send me your favorite tropes! Use the following electronic mail address (you'll have to type it into your mail program, I'm not providing a link 'cause I don't want to make it too easy for spammers:
This is, by the way, my preferred address for medary.com-oriented correspondence . . . if you want an account to post articles or comments here, or if you think you have an account here, or if I've previously told you you have an account here but have forgotten what it or the password is, you can contact me via this address--or my personal address which, if you need to know it, you already should have it. Or if not, drop me a line at the medary address and we'll get synched up.
Let the fun begin!
Trackbacks (0) Comments (0) Post a comment