Tropes

Terribly sorry about the lateness and lacking articles recently, a combination of scheduling and technical problems has caused me a lot of issues.

Anyways.

I’ve been reading a lot of TvTropes recently, and I must say, the entire thing fascinates me. I don’t know if it’s simply my desire to deconstruct everything in my life into bits and pieces or simple curiosity, it’s lovely.

For those unfamiliar, a “trope” is a device used in fiction writing for any purpose. For example, “Lampshading” is when you call attention to the absurdity of something in the story then move on, which is meant to draw the reader away from focusing too much on it. TvTropes is the Grand Epic Library of every trope that you can think of.

Who would have thought that we could turn the very art of writing into a science? It’s truly amazing. The ability to understand the mechanics and flow of a story by breaking it apart and examining it is a marvelous skill, much like a movie critic might watch Hitchcock’s Psycho. 90% of us will simply go “Hurr, dead lady in the shower”, but there are the cultured among us that would recognize that the movie is supposed to incorporate all the major categories of psychological tension.  The same applies to Tropers, they can deconstruct the story in order to get deeper meaning out of it.

I really do love thought deconstruction. The human mind is a fascinatingly complex machine that takes important facts and devices out of things, modifies them for its own needs, then gives them to others. The idea that we can track the evolution of an idea is… well, it’s astounding.

However, this comes at a cost. It’s like dreaming, once you start it’s hard to stop. For example, I was playing Starcraft 2 and one of the characters said something to the effect of “This isn’t science fiction” (keep it general to keep it free of spoilers, heh).  This is obviously lampshading, a thought that I reflexively grabbed and then felt guilty about. It’s like using cheat codes for a video game: Yes, you see the game in another way, but it isn’t how it was intended to be seen. Okay, so it’s not a perfect comparison, but whatever, you know what I mean.

TvTropes has an article on this, actually.

“Enjoyment comes from a balance of Recognition and Surprise — we enjoy things that we can relate to and have seen before, but we also like to be surprised. Total recognition is cliché; total surprise is alienating. Through comparing different works of fiction, browsing TV Tropes will merge surprise almost entirely with recognition and you will begin analyzing everything and taking a totally new (and possibly better) enjoyment from media – or reality“. The article goes on to say that Your Mileage May Vary in that you might enjoy movies more, or the surprise might be utterly removed from it.

So, yeah. It’s a fascinating practice that might ruin your life. But hey, it’s better than Wikipedia! And you’ll be able to learn exactly how many tabs your browser can support before crashing. Informative!

I’m out. -Cat.

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