Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Fandom Snowflake Challenge Day 10: "Tropes"

Day 10
In your own space, share your love for a trope, cliché, kink, motif, or theme. (Or a few!) Tell us what makes it work for you, and why it appeals to you so much. Talk about what you like to see in fanworks featuring that theme most. Feel free to include recs and examples! Leave a comment in this post saying you did it. Include a link to your post if you feel comfortable doing so.

I love just the concept  of tropes.  I was into the Aarne-Thompson index of fairytale motifs long before TV Tropes was a twinkle in some programmer's eye.  I look at those things the way Tony Stark looks at his workshop: Tools.  Tools everywhere!  :D

Trope: Fish Out of Water.  A character gets dumped into a totally unfamiliar, perhaps hostile environment; for example, thawing Captain America into the modern era.  From that look on his face in Times Square to "I understood that reference!" I sympathize with the poor spud.  Love Is For Children is my paean to Fish Out of Water, but most of you have read that by now, or are planning to.  Check out Schrodinger's Hulk for my idea of how to get Bruce-and-Hulk out of Thunderbolt's reach.  I love this trope in combination with all the other things.

Cliché: "My best friend is a ..." I love friendships, I love oddball friendships, and I especially love when people are stuck together who don't perfectly suit but won't let go.  Over in Schrodinger's Heroes again, racism is an issue because Texas. In canon, Pat is black and Chris is a good ol' boy; their friendship develops over time.  This lays the groundwork for the series Don't Try This at Home, in which a bullying incident gone horribly wrong turns into a tight friendship between Chris' nephew Eric and a black boy named TeJay.  Jaunt over to Terramagne, and I've tilted this a bit: Ansel has a black brother-in-law rather than best friend, although his BASH team leader is also black.

Kink: I have a huge competence kink.  Huuuuuge.  My competence kink is hung like the Hulk.  So #coulsonlives and Love Is For Children, and Frankenstein's Family.  In my original work, notably competent characters appear in Fiorenza the Wisewoman, Officer PinkP.I.E., and The Steamsmith.  For a wider variety of kink, I recommend Schrodinger's Heroes, since I did Kink Bingo once and many of the fills wound up in that project.

Motif: A motif is basically a running gag in its Sunday clothes, something that keeps reappearing.  For me, symbols are a percussion instrument; I like them for beating clues into the head of a clueless character.  Tarot is a favorite.  Often characters will have their own recurring mofit; Shiv is fixated on food and sharp things.  Because I often take titles from old sayings, I'm prone to repeating a phrase several times in different contexts.

Theme: This gets a little tricky, because lots of lists conflate theme (a universal topic) with message (what you have to say about it).  So for instance, the theme of Love Is For Children is "love" but the message is sankofa: "If you forgot it, go back and get it."  The people who love you will help fill in the gaps of what you missed growing up.  Over in my original work, the same theme and message repeat -- with very different details -- across CassandraOfficer Pink, and Shiv.

And I can't resist naming one the moderators didn't list: archtypes or stock characters.

Archetype: The Unsullied Hero.  This is the character whose inner goodness makes it possible to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.  Captain America in "I'm with you to the end of the line."  Superman in "Superman and the Jumper."  This is why I HATE the modern trend of destroying heroes, of making them all anti-heroes.  The idea that heroes are too perfect to be relatable is baloney; people have related to them throughout history.  The idea that they're too powerful is hogwash; just see the two examples I cited.  Do you think Cap and Supes feel powerful in those scenes?  No.  That's how you gut someone who's physically durable: give them a problem that can't be solved by hitting.  So my answer to that is creating characters like Stalwart Stan and Officer Pink.  They make mistakes; they can be wrong, or overpowered; but they don't make mistakes of virtue.  I feel that's important.  And of course, here's Captain America in "Against His Own Shield."

What are some of your favorites?

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