Tropes. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a trope? A figure of speech? A metaphor? A cliché?
Some people tend to think of a trope as a negative thing; a way to describe or categorize something overused or poorly presented. But that’s coming at it from a very narrow perspective. The quality and effect of tropes, like any tool, is dependent on the wielder. In a creative/ literary sense, you can use a trope poorly, or you can use a trope well. In any case, tropes are common and used practically everywhere there is human behaviour and expression.
Perhaps, even after saying that, you’re not familiar enough with the word to glean the full scope of its meaning.
The dictionary definition of a trope is this: a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression. ALSO a significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
The definition of a trope in literature/ creative media is this: the use of figurative language, via word, phrase or an image, for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech. The word trope has also come to be used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.
Essentially, a trope is a multi-faceted tool, able to be utilized in a variety of interesting and explanatory ways: a symbol, a theme, or a device such as a metaphor, hyperbole, or irony. It also encompasses character traits, settings, motives etc. A trope is something that is easily recognizable, due to its reoccurrence and intended purpose (as a plot element, figure of speech, or symbolic imagery) throughout creative works.
Counting Sheep–A character is having trouble sleeping, and attempts to improve his/ her chances by closing their eyes and counting sheep jumping over a fence (or something similar).
Knight in Shining Armour–A knight (or equivalent in the form of a brave and selfless hero) who fights evil, rescues maidens, behaves honourably, and saves the day with his sword/ heroric prowess.
Big Bad–The primary source of all the bad things that happen in a story. Could be an Evil Overlord, or a virus, or a natural disaster; so, not necessarily a ‘villain’.
Achilles’ Heel–When a nigh-invulnerable character, place or object inevitably has some key weakness, which the heroes (or villains) can (and likely will) exploit (e.g. Superman’s achilles’ heel is kryptonite).
Love at First Sight–A staple trope often found in fairytales. Speaks for itself. Two characters fall in love with each other right off the bat (sometimes only one character falls in love straight away, and spends a large part of their arc trying to win the other’s affection).
Now you have a pretty solid idea of what a trope is, let’s hone in on a site that hoards tropes, like a dragon hoards treasure! 😉
TVTropes. This is a wiki that compiles and documents descriptions and examples of plot conventions and devices, (aka tropes), within many creative works. It’s a smorgasbord of fun and fascinating information, where you can look up numerous story articles, old and new, and read into how the plots, story arcs and characters are broken down and fleshed out through the tropes found within them. And TVTropes doesn’t just cover TV series and films; it also delves into other mediums including comics, anime, manga, video games, music, and literature!
And since it covers literature, you can search for numerous books and series (hopefully your favourites have been added to the site) and enjoy their diversely dissected Trope Forms.
And now, that includes the Dragon Calling series!
After extensive exploration and research into TVTropes and its immense array of tropes and indexes, I slowly accumulated tropes for my five-part fantasy series. I compiled literally hundreds of tropes, and began the extensive work of creating the pages and profiles that made up the characters and story.
Along with a centralised accumulation of Dragon Calling tropes (placed in folders, in alphabetical order on the main page) I also went ahead and added individual character folders and assigned tropes tied directly to each individual!
There is also a Nightmare Fuel page (dedicated to the tropes assigned to the scary elements of the series) as well as a Heartwarming Page (where trope-searchers can find a list of tropes highlighting various scenes and character interactions that are inclined to make a reader go ‘awww’ and smile.
There are other pages I’ve yet to add, including the Tear Jerker page (designed to categorize all the sad and painful scenes in the series); the Awesome page (for all the tropes that encapsulate scenes and moments considered ‘wow’ or ‘cool!’); the Funny page where all the funny, humorous moments can be troped and alphabetized; plus others …
But there’s currently enough content on the TVTropes site to keep any avid Dragon Calling fan entertained for while a while!
It’s a work in progress, and one I will continue to add to whenever I have the time and mental capacity (it takes a surprising amount of effort to find and write up tropes!).
So, if you’re curious and want to explore the world of tropes in a more interesting and in-depth way, TVTropes will happily host your curiosity. Beware though that it’s a rabbit hole and can easily suck away your hours. But at least you’ll be having fun! 😉