Categorized | Blogs

Flames

Markov on The Evolution of Tropes

Posted on March 16, 2016 by Flames

looped gif

Recently, Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates launched a Kickstarter to fund an anthology titled Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling. Today, in an exclusive update for FlamesRising.com, one of the collection’s contributors, Haralambi Markov, is here to share with you his insights into tropes and cliches. For more about the author, visit: haralambimarkov.com For more about the anthology, visit Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling on Kickstarter–and be sure to read our updates!

On the Evolution of Tropes

Written by Haralambi Markov

Tropes aren’t necessarily evil. Controversial opinion, but before their calcification into clichés readers can spot and predict after encountering their first marker, tropes begin life as beloved story phenotypes. They resonate with readers; create an insatiable and vicious appetite. Once upon a time, stories about brave knights saving damsels, villains far removed from humanity, special children and vast city planets felt limitless. Electrifying. Powerful.

Today, these tropes are, at worst, cringeworthy. At best, they feel like coming home. As much as I support inventive new writing, I can’t resist the call of apprentice-to-the-wizard stories where a novice practices the mystic arts and discovers herself in the process. Sometimes I need to come home and home is the familiar. There’s the old carpet I spend afternoons spread upon with a book. There’s the kitchen table where I watched grandmother roll out dough for mantu. The are no surprises. I don’t mind that I can guess the beats in the story I’m reading. As long as the writer has written the trope lovingly, I can fall in love all over again.

But herein lies the danger. Nostalgia for what made us happy as early readers threatens with stale storytelling and overall stagnation. Tropes are our past and belong in our tradition. That can never be disputed. However, their use without purposeful interrogation and examination is lazy and in direct contradiction with what speculative fiction has been all about: breaking rules, stretching the imagination and discovering new horizons. It behooves us not to pretend our self-made rules are unbreakable and beyond reproach.

Tags | ,

Print This Post

Leave a Reply

11 Tales of Ghostly Horror

    Monthly Newsletter Sign Up

    join our monthly mailing list
    * indicates required

    The Devil’s Night WoD SAS

    Free Devil's Night | White Wolf

    Become a Fan on Facebook!

    Reviews Wanted!

    The new Review Guidelines have been posted on the Flames Rising website. We are currently seeking a few good reviewers to help us expand our collection of horror and dark fantasy reviews. RPGs, fiction, movies, video games and more are all welcome on the site...

    What do you get out of it?

    Beyond helping out fellow Flames Rising readers by letting them know what you think of these products, we're giving away some pretty cool stuff. Regular Reviewers can earn free products to review, which is their to keep after the review is submitted to the site.

    Note: We are especially looking for folks interested in reviewing eBooks (both Fiction & Comics). We have lots of great titles in digital format and even get advance copies sometimes.

    Use the Contact Page to submit reviews or let us know if you have any questions.