Autumn-cocoa

December unscheduled posting meme: Tropes!

[personal profile] theladyscribe asked: What are your favorite tropes to read and/or write?

TROOOOOPES! :D (This is a fun one! Thank you for asking!)

I have some trouble here figuring out where to draw the line between trope and narrative kink and just plain "what I like in fiction", so I'll lean more towards the idficcy stuff here. Not that this is limited to fanfic specifically; it applies across the board, though some things work better in fic and some work better in original stuff.

Hurt/comfort is pretty much a gimme here. I love it. Always have, always will.

I don't really get my particular h/c buzz off the light fluffy stuff, though -- taking care of someone with a cold, that sort of thing. (Though it totally appeals to me on a friendship-fluff level, which is another thing I like.) My particular set of favorite h/c tropes are mainly centered around worry and angst -- I am absolutely gone for "don't die on me!" type scenarios (bleeding out! heart attacks! desperate clinging! rescue breathing!) and characters sacrificing themselves for each other or thinking each other are dead (presumed dead is one of my biggies, especially if it goes on for YEARS), or being terribly angry at each other but still loving each other deep down and then having something ~terrible~ happen. I am SUCH an angstbunny.

... though, just to make things terribly difficult for myself, I don't really go for super heavy-duty emotionality, either. I love it when characters talk around their feelings and have entire conversations in which they never manage to say "I love you" but imply it, or express their feelings over someone not actually being dead by punching them in the arm and making them dinner while glaring at them the whole time for MAKING THEM FEEL THINGS.

(Obviously making allowances for individual character behavior here. Not everybody is an emotionally damaged bundle of glower. Huggy, emotionally open characters are gonna be huggy! Actually, letting the huggy, happy people play off the scowly damaged ones is its own kind of delightful.)

... so there's that. Another whole big trope-set for me is a bunch of stuff surrounding family and found family and groups of characters coming together and accidentally-on-purpose loving each other despite their quirks and flaws. Among other things, I adore platonic or semi-platonic house-sharing and bed-sharing, domestic fluff with characters who are not normally domestic types (especially as down-time between action sequences; as a kid I always had a huge fondness for seeing superhero characters out of their uniforms doing normal-person things, which was one reason why I liked the X-Men comics so much, because there was a fair amount of that sort of thing), stupid roommate shenanigans, having to deal with someone in the group who's drunk or sick, basically just all the dumb-funny-sweet hanging-out-together stuff, especially with a side of sarcastic humor and/or bafflement at how the hell they ended up with These Weirdos. I love characters having each other's backs, and characters who don't normally get along being forced into situations where they HAVE to get along and finding out they actually do get along pretty well when no one is watching.

I like complicated and hard-to-define relationships, and characters who are together but don't do most of the things that people in a relationship are "supposed" to do. I like explicit relationship and consent negotiation. I like characters being thrown into situations that should, tropishly, lead to sex (fake marriage, bed-sharing, huddling for warmth, AMTDI, etc), but NOT actually having sex and staying friends; and I like watching characters dealing with their close friends'/family members' significant others and kids. I like a particular kind of relationship I call "amiable enemies" (since I still haven't found an exact analog in TV Tropes) -- basically, two characters who are on opposite sides, who are dedicated to staying on opposite sides and respect the other one's dedication to their own side (as opposed to this kind of relationship being a prelude to someone crossing over to the other's side) but enjoy each other's company and do things together even if they're not supposed to. (Aziraphale and Crowley in Good Omens are a PERFECT example of this.)

I like a lot of dumb spec-fic tropes, like clones and time loops and generation ships and sudden!surprise!powers. I have a ridiculous weakness for long-lost siblings, especially if they already knew each other and couldn't stand each other, and then SURPRISE, YOU'RE RELATED! (Although I tend not to enjoy this one in fanfic at all; I don't usually like fics of the "X and Y are seekritly related!" variety because it tends to blow apart my established idea of the character relationship and I don't generally enjoy that. I eat it up with a spoon in origfic, though.)

I love teamwork fights and characters saving the day together. I love it when the main heavy-hitter characters need to be rescued in a fight and the "weak" ones use cleverness and resourcefulness to get the job done.

I love surprise!twists that make you re-evaluate everything that's happened up to that point. (Er, assuming the twists are clever and sensible and have been adequately set up by Our Story So Far, as opposed to the ones that make you wonder what the writer is smoking.)

Apparently I like a lot of tropes. :D

Usually for me there isn't a big distinction between reading tropes and writing tropes -- if I like it, I'm about equally likely to write it as to read it. In many cases it'll be influenced by whatever I'm into -- I mean, some tropes don't work for some characters at all, and some I don't want to see with certain characters even if it's technically possible. There are a few that I'd rather write than read because they can so easily go to places I don't want and therefore I'm more comfortable staying in control of the whole process -- fic involving non-canonical children is a good example of that, because I really love to write kid!voice and I have adored a handful of kidfics, but the vast majority of them either leave me cold or actively squick me; I think whatever I want from kidfic is not what most people want from kidfic.

So yeah, I guess that's Me And Tropes: The Novel.


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Well, that's a lot of tropes, lol, but I can relate to some of them - especially the found-family-team thing and most forms of angst (though I also don't like characters talking too much about emotions if it's OOC, something I may have done in the odd early fic of my own unfortunately). But yes, make them suffer emotionally (though not too dark), add in some hope at the end, and I'm usually happy! :)
Yeah, it's really easy to go overboard on the emotionality for characters who wouldn't be that emotive (I have certainly done it!).
It always seems like if you write something around 3am it tends to swing into the wildly emotional direction more than if written at reasonable hours! (Or maybe that's just me...)
I like characters being thrown into situations that should, tropishly, lead to sex (fake marriage, bed-sharing, huddling for warmth, AMTDI, etc), but NOT actually having sex and staying friends

This is more like trope-reversal!

I share the love for a lot of these tropes -- not surprising considering I originally found this blog through your SGA fanfic ^^ -- but I think the one in particular that I enjoy is

when the main heavy-hitter characters need to be rescued in a fight and the "weak" ones use cleverness and resourcefulness to get the job done

That is a big one for me. I mean this ties a lot into my love of H/C, but I love it when people's normally underutilized skills come into play and it all ties into some kind of an unexpected scenario. A simple example might be someone who is normally in charge having to be taken care of as they have hypothermia or something like that. And the person that isn't normally someone who would find themselves rescuing people in the wild takes care of them to the best of their ability, generally freaking out the whole way (but quietly).
This is more like trope-reversal!

Ahhh, see, this is why I have trouble figuring out the difference between trope, literary kink, etc. :D I wouldn't have thought of that!

But yeah, I think most of the people who follow me on this journal came in through a shared fandom, which means I expect a lot of people have at least some of this list in common with me -- I can't imagine they would enjoy my fic much if they didn't!

I love it when people's normally underutilized skills come into play and it all ties into some kind of an unexpected scenario

Yes! I love watching characters be good at what they're good at, but even more, I think, I love watching them be good at what they didn't think they were good at. :D
*high five*

I am so into angst, it's not even funny. It's my all time favorite thing to read and write.
I'm even okay with an unhappy ending. I wouldn't want to read them all the time, but so few people in fandom write unhappy endings that I find them refreshing to read now and again. And I get why people don't write them often; many people are coming to fandom for fun and escape and not a three hankie evening. LOL
I share some of these: especially hurt-comfort with characters who don't all want to open up emotionally. You write some of my faves in multiple fandoms!
Awww, thank you! :) It's no surprise, really, that so many of the people on my flist share so many of my favorite tropes -- most of us met and bonded over fic, so of course we like a lot of the same things!

BTW, I am SO sorry about not mailing those books yet (the Winter Soldier ones). Could you PM or email me your address again, please? I *know* you already did -- at least, I think you already did -- but damned if I know what I did with it. (And when you do, could you tell me your husband's name ... again? /o\ I want to include a Christmas card as well, and I cannot believe that I can't remember his name after having lunch with you guys; ffs, I'm so terrible with names. Ironically I am much better at remembering people's LJ names ...)
Hah, those first four paragraphs are basically me, word-for-word. (Except I do get some of that h/c buzz off fic of people taking care of someone that's sick-- as long as it's from the POV of the sick person. I think it's because I enjoy altered consciousness/unreliable narrators, and fevers make people pretty wonky.)

or express their feelings over someone not actually being dead by punching them in the arm and making them dinner while glaring at them the whole time for MAKING THEM FEEL THINGS

yessss, this. I dunno what it is about emotionally constipated people-- they're not so great in real life!-- but as characters I adore reading about them.
.... okay, I admit that I do have a squishy h/c weakness for characters in altered states -- drugged or out of their heads with fever. :D I like that, too, the unreliable-narrator thing, and/or characters who are so out of it that they aren't sure what's real.
Haaah, it is a surprise to no one that I could pretty much c&p most of this for my own post on the topic! :P (long-term presumed dead, mmmmm~~~)

The 'amiable enemies' thing, oh, I know exactly what you mean! The archetype of that trope, for me, is the old Looney Tunes cartoons with a wolf and sheepdog, who clock in at the beginning of the day, play out the whole predator & prey-protector thing, then clock out at night and wish each other a friendly farewell.

Long-lost siblings, hmm. Siblings in general are one of my Favorite Things, but that specific trope I haven't encountered much - I agree that I really dislike it in fic, since it changes relationships so much; and a canon I was ficcing for it might bother me for the same reason. The two examples I can think of off-hand (Harry & Thomas, Luke & Leia) I adore, but neither of them quite are what you mentioned, of two chars who don't like each other (Harry & Thomas is halfway this, since Harry is rather divided about Thomas but Thomas knows all along)...are there specific canons you can recommend, I'm curious!
Ha! I remember the wolf and the sheepdog! Yes, that, exactly. I'm surprised there's no TV Trope for that, or at least none I've been able to find that hits it exactly; there are similar ones, like the Batman and Catwoman one (falling in love across the good guy/bad guy divide), or a lot of the bickering-friends ones, but nothing that nails that aspect of it.

Harry and Thomas were one of the main ones I was thinking of -- so, I guess I shouldn't say it's accurate to say they hate each other, maybe just are uneasy/wary of each other before their relationship comes out. The other main one I was thinking of is actually a pair of brothers from a soap opera I used to watch when I was a teenager, All My Children, so not a character relationship anyone on LJ would be aware of. (But nevertheless one I imprinted on heavily. ^^ Actually, I have been tempted to make a post on LJ for them, liberally illustrated with Youtube clips, because I discovered awhile back that someone uploaded a TON of scenes with them to Youtube, and I, er, watched pretty much all of it. As absolutely ridiculous as the writing and acting are, they do still hit a bunch of my narrative kinks -- in addition to the two of them starting out as enemies and then turning into an adorably affectionate odd-couple pair, the writers used to do things like, oh, there's one story arc where one of them is handcuffed to a drain pipe in a flooding storm drain and the other ~won't leave him~ and so they both almost drown; they did presumed dead at LEAST twice, and so forth. Unfortunately for pimping purposes, this takes place over about a decade of a daily soap opera in which their storylines are interwoven with a couple dozen other characters', then they recast one of the actors, then one of them turns permanently evil and then EVERYBODY DIES. It's terribly depressing. But it was fun while it lasted ...)

But anyway, yeah, it's interesting how few of these I'm coming up with, considering that it's a trope I really do enjoy. I know there have been others, but I'm currently drawing a blank (except for an example or two from the Amber books, but that's not really long-lost siblings so much as everybody turning out to be related to everybody else in one way or another over the course of the books due to the main family tree having about a million branches ...).
Well, an lj post on those soap-opera brothers sounds fun to me, anyway! (I've never actually watched any soap, but from what I've heard in their flailing for any plot whatsoever to fill airtime they hit a lot of my buttons...until the actors change and one goes evil and they all die, ahahahah!)

...also, not having read Amber, everyone turning out to be related sounds like Once Upon a Time: the book XD