Here is a useful word to know: “Trope”
I learned the use of the word from visiting this web site: TV tropes and idioms It is a terrific wiki on common knowledge in the world of entertainment. It is also a great research tool for writing things like blog posts.
From the first page of the site:
What is this about? This wiki is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction.
Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means “stereotyped and trite.” In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them.
The wiki is called “TV Tropes” because TV is where we started. Over the course of a few years, our scope has crept out to include other media. Tropes transcend television. They reflect life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, do their best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere.
These are things you have seen, maybe dozens of times, but didn’t know there was a name for it. It’s sort of amazing that people have cataloged this stuff. It is a resource for explanations and descriptions of their use. But it also includes some history of entertainment that you might not have known about.
The website homepage doesn’t give much direction on where to go. If you are wondering about something, you can put it into the search function. Here are a few links to get you started exploring.
ANIMATION TROPES: On the animation page, there are a several sub categories, such as “voice acting tropes” or “stock visual metaphors” as well as a lengthy list of individual entries.
ANIMATION CREATORS A list of entries about famous animators and animation directors.
AMUSING INJURIES: a list of cartoon and slapstick injuries a character could endure. Each item on the list has it’s own page. This one is a lot fun.
CHARACTERS Each entry on this page is a category, and leads to further lists of entries.
SLAPSTICK a topic near and dear to me.
1 thought on “A great resource: TV tropes and Idioms”
TV Tropes is a great website. It’s also far denser than you would initially imagine. Besides the obvious tropes, there’s pages on things like the Animation Age Ghetto.
It’s a bit of a time suck, as reading a page on one trope leads to another leads to another, etc. All in all though, it’s time well spent 🙂