Howdy all, and welcome back to Trope-Tastic Thursday, my weekly writing challenge, where we explore the world of fiction through tropes! What is a trope? I’m glad you asked! Here’s what our pals at TVTropes.org have to say about it:
Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations.
In a way, tropes are like cliches (but not boring), in that they define what a reader has come to expect of certain elements of fiction. That could be the normal expectations of what to expect of an Evil Overlord, or the standard elements found in a type of fiction, like, say, Steam Punk! The point is, a reader will naturally expect certain things, and those things are defined as tropes.
And my challenge to you, each week, is to take this week’s trope and use it in a piece of fiction that is 1,000 words or less in length. You can use that trope however you wish, either playing it straight (using the trope as it is described, more or less) or turning the trope (going against the expectations defined by that particular trope). Either way, the goal is to explore the trope and see what kind of awesome fiction we can come up with. Don’t feel restricted by genre, either – just because a trope is common in, say, Fantasy, doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to use it in a drama!
Last week’s trope was “Vocal Dissonance” – check out the awesome stories that came from it:
“Songbird” by Quietude’s Junction
“We Are Roma” by Naomi Harvey
“The Wake of Pappy O’Bannon” by Mark Baron
“Zit-Faced Idiots” by Helen Espinosa
“The Boat” by Kate Spyder
“Vocal Dissonance” by Kate Loveton
And wow! Let me say, I am so glad we decided to open up this challenge a bit. What an awesome response from some excellent writers. If I missed your entry, let me know, and I’ll pop it in there – and remember, tag your stories with #woegttt to make it easier for me to find them! :)
And now, for this week’s trope….
NEVER WAS THIS UNIVERSE!
(follow the link for examples)
This trope covers settings which feel like Alternate History in this way, but don’t actually have a specified point of divergence: no matter how far back in history you look, their history has always been different from ours in some way (frequently, though not always, because it contains un-Masqueraded fantasy elements). In Spite of a Nail is necessarily in effect, in order to keep the setting approximately similar to the real world—indeed, sometimes the histories of these settings are more different from reality than their presents.
Compare Alien Space Bats; it’s nearly always possible to Retcon this sort of world into an alternate history with Alien Space Bats, by adding in a point of divergence that’s earlier than any other history you’ve introduced. Also compare Historical Fantasy. See also Close Enough Timeline and Rubber-Band History. Contrast Plausible Deniability.
What a fun trope! Definitely be sure to look at the examples given – this kind of thing covers comic book universes, parallel dimensions, and so much more.
Your challenge is to write a story in 1,000 words or less. Your deadline is next Thursday, August 28st, by noon Eastern time. Play with the trope, have fun with it, and when you are done, post it to your writing site, and come back here with a link to your post. If you can, include the hashtag #woegttt in your tags, to make it easier for other writers to find and read your challenge. Next Thursday, I’ll include a link back to your blog so that everyone can get a chance to read your story!
And one final caveat – next week, I will be at DragonCon, from Wednesday night through Monday afternoon. I should still be able to get a challenge post made, but if I get delayed by the biggest nerdfest on the East Coast of the United States, I do hope you will forgive me. ;)
Oh! And if you happen to be going to DragonCon too? LOOK ME UP! I’d love to meet some of my writer friends there!
If you have any questions or need clarification, let me know here! I’ll help however I can!
On your marks….