Ruby Nation

Ruby Nation
Ruby Nation: The Webcomic

Sunday, February 13, 2011

TV Tropes Reader Questionaire

Only recently have I realized the profound effect TVTropes has had upon me, both in the way I read stories, and the way I create them. For those who don't know, TVTropes is a website that chronicles storytelling devices, describing both the recurring themes and the works in which they appear. You can see an example of the tropes here, created with help from frequent commentator and friend Jared...

Anyway, I've been going to TVTropes for over three years now on a daily basis. When I'm looking for new stuff to read or watch, I look through their pages ( usually using Tear Jerker as a starting point). Whenever I finish a book, movie, game, or other series, I check out its entries on the page. I have even contributed to some of the pages. And I'm far from alone in my devotion to the site.

So here are my questions for those reading my blog...

1.) Do you visit TVTropes regularly?

2.) Do you use terms from TVTropes in discussions of fiction (both online and off)?

3.) Do you find yourself consciously recognizing examples of tropes when you read or watch fiction?

4.) Do you find yourself consciously recognizing examples of tropes in real life (personal interactions, professional life, news media, etc.)?

5.) If you are a writer, do you find yourself consciously thinking of tropes when you create and define your characters and their stories?

6.) What is your favorite thing about TVTropes?

7.) What is your least favorite thing about TVTropes?

8.) Have you come across any new stories thank to TVTropes?

9.) Do you think TVTropes is a good thing for fiction, or not?

10.) What are your personal favorite tropes?

11.) What are your personal least favorite tropes?

I'll have my own answers shortly.


  1. Oh, man. Now I have to check out TVTropes. Yet another diversion from my real work. tee hee.I am gonna take a gander before I answer. marilyn

  2. I discovered this site fairly recently. For some reason, there are blanks that appear in the text. Can't tell what's going on there. Images my browser can't read?

  3. Naveen,

    Thank you for checking out the site, but the only image in the picture is the profile image of my webcomic. I'll reduce its size later to see if that helps.

  4. 1) Yes.

    2) Yes.

    3) Not typically. Sometimes they'll occur after the fact when I find them on TVTropes.

    4) Only a few, such as Bunny Ears Lawyer, which I frequently recognize in myself.

    5) Indeed I do. Various tropes have inspired me with plot twists that I've incorporated into my own writing.

    6) The sheer number of tropes available, as well as the natter and Troper Tales, which are themselves frequently as entertaining as the site's main content.

    7) The anal editors who removed some of the most fun sections like I Am Not Making This Up.

    8) Not that I can recall, although it's possible.

    9) Of course I do. It's an immensely valuable resource.

    10) Some tropes I enjoy and want to incorporate into my work include Big Damn Heroes, Rogues Gallery, What You Are In The Dark and Seinfeldian Conversation.

    11) Tropes I hate include Wouldn't Hit A Girl, Overprotective Dad, A Man Is Not A Virgin, God Is Evil and The Chosen Many.

  5. Good grief, how could I have forgotten how much I hate I'm A Man I Can't Help It?

  6. I actually try to keep away from TVTropes-- because it-- (lightly) is a black-hole of Time Sink.
    Seriously, some people will get sucked into World of Warcraft-- for me, it's TVTropes. Which, I suppose is at least more cost friendly.

    I did want to note though: Working in Hollywood and having a lot of TV Writer friends, Tropes DO make their way into the language of the writers room-- All it really takes is one writer in a room to mention a trope term, and it becomes part of the room's vocabulary.

    You, of course, know my stance on Tropes-- they're all fine and dandy, but as a storyteller, you've just got to ignore them.
    As one buddy puts it: You can deconstruct anything-- the real challenge is to construct.

  7. Tim,

    But how can you construct something as a human without taking parts from humanity's shared experience? Your writing on Spy6teen (which I am far from criticizing) certainly fills more than a few tropes, even if it doesn't follow them to the letter.