Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Trope Talk" is Required Listening For Authors

If you're a writer of any stripe, then you recognize tropes. These literary building blocks come in all shapes and sizes, and they range from the recognizable (like Paragon Heroes) to the infamous (like the dreaded Mary Sue), but all of them act as a kind of storytelling shorthand. It's a package readers are familiar with, so even if the world and characters are new to them, they can easily get a sense of what's going on right away.

Some old tools endure perfectly well.
Some writers like to use tropes in their work. Others don't. Some few of us are lucky enough that our work becomes influential, and we are crediting with creating new tropes. However, if you're going to write, then you should study tropes. You should think about them, and try to understand them in ways average readers simply won't.

That's a big task. Fortunately, it's one that Overly Sarcastic Productions is here to help with.

Check Out Trope Talks!

What is Overly Sarcastic Productions? Well, it's a YouTube channel that was started by the host Red back when she was in high school as an offshoot of a creative class assignment. Earlier episodes of the show discussed classic literature, since she was already elbow-deep in thoughts and discussions about it anyway, and it was a fun little project to do on the side. As the show grew and evolved, taking on a second contributor in the form of Blue, the channel quickly expanded to cover mythology, history, and other aspects of literature.

That's where Trope Talks comes in. This show, which is still relatively new to the channel, is where Red sits down and holds forth on some of the more common tropes we come across in literature, but also in pop culture, and mythology (it's really all one big mess, so an interpreter is quite helpful). Rather than explain the show, though, check out the debut episode Beginnings.

There are 12 episodes (at time of writing), and each one is definitely worth listening to. Even the ones that are controversial, or likely to provoke strong reactions from the audience, are worth talking about (which is, incidentally, why Red didn't shy away from making them in the first place). And if you don't see a trope you think is important in the list yet, don't worry. Red is already working on Damsels in Distress, and one about the ever-constant stakes-raising gimmick of Saving the World. So stay tuned!

Don't forget to stop by Overly Sarcastic Productions to follow the channel, and bookmark the page! Also, if you really like what they're doing, and you want to help them do it, head over to the Overly Sarcastic Productions Patreon page to leave a few coins in their cup. Every little bit helps!

Well, that's all for this week's Craft of Writing post. Hopefully the resource provides a lot of folks out there with some insight, and it gets the creative juices flowing. If you want to keep up to date on all my latest releases, then follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you've still got some patronage to throw around, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page. $1 a month buys you my everlasting gratitude, and gets you a free book or two as a thank you.

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