So, you talk about tropes a lot, Steph

Storytelling for Success

Yep, I do. And I play pretty fast and loose with the term, too. But there’s a method to my madness. Won’t you join me as I saunter down the trope-y garden path?

But before we begin: A warning. Stay on that path. If you stray, you may end up lost in the dark wood, and stumble across a place called TV Tropes. And it will devour all your free time. In a glorious self-referential display, TV Tropes even has a page about how TV Tropes will ruin everything for you. I’m not kidding. That site is a massive time sink (but also excellent and useful for analyzing storytelling). So. Beware, abandon all hope, etc.

Back to tropes. What are they? Strictly speaking, they’re figurative language — similes, metaphors, figures of speech, that sort of thing. But like a lot of terms, the word has mutated over time and now means rhetorical or literary devices, the techniques that are the basic building blocks of storytelling. Like Legos. You can use the same blocks (knights and princesses) to build a spaceship (Star Wars) or a castle (King Arthur). Continue reading