Skip to content : Bane or blessing?

September 20, 2012



The above, while hyperbolic, is a common occurrence on a few of the forums I frequent/lurk.  Links to Tv tropes are routinely prefaced with a warning, or hidden underneath a spoiler tag, to protect the unwary.  Why, you ask?

Because TV Tropes will ruin your life

Or maybe not.


You may be asking yourself “What is Tv Tropes?”  Good question!  It is a website dedicated to describing, discussing, and some would say devaluing common themes, situations, and cliches in all types of media, from the ancient stories of early civilization to the latest popular sitcom on television.


The organization of the site is simple.  Take either a situation, archetype, or idea, and list all of the media it appears in.  The links on that list send the user to pages dedicated to specific media, allowing users to see all of the tropes that occur in that book/TV show/movie.  Pages are written in an informal, comedic tone, and most examples have a short description of the trope in action attached to them.  As a result, it can be frighteningly easy to go from researching a single topic at 3:00PM to having 50 tabs open, eight hours later, with no idea where the day went.


There is virtually no barrier to adding to or edit pages on the site, and almost zero restrictions on what can be posted, a very different stance compared to a certain other site.  As a result, some pages concerning wellloved media can become very, very detailed.  Considering it is based entirely online, there is a definite bias towards ‘nerdy’ topics, but there’s generally enough information on any topic to enjoy.


Page content is not just limited to media, however.  People themselves can have pages dedicated all to his or her own, and every page comes with a built in discussion tab.


I can not stress how useful this site is for learning about all facets of creative fiction.  Genre Writing, plot structure, basic narrative convention, its all there, all with relevant examples provided by thousands and thousands of people who love media in all of its forms.  Points and counterpoints are made, allowing users real insight into the narrative process.  This site is a treasure trove of information.


Use it wisely.  But remember, stare too long into the abyss, and the abyss stares back.




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