skieswideopen (skieswideopen) wrote,


I've been thinking about tropes while contemplating [community profile] tagyourit nominations. So for day seven of the "ten posts in ten days challenge," have a few favourite tropes/scenarios.

Five Favourite Tropes/Scenarios/Plots/Character Types

1. Integrity. I'm a sucker for heroes and white knights and protectors in general--for people who can be counted on to do the right thing and who will look out for other people. But I'm especially fond of the characters of integrity, who do the right thing even when it's hard, and who abide by their principles even when it would be easier to bend them a little. (Not blind obedience, mind you, but thoughtful adherence to rules and principles.) And so I adore Benton Fraser, and the moment I fell in love with Lee Adama was the moment when he stood up to both his father and the president in support of the rule of law. But really, I love most characters who recognize that certain lines should not be crossed. (Not that I don't love the odd anti-hero too! and I loved Mal's unexpected killing of the henchman and Raylan allowing the man who threatened his family to be murdered. But on the whole, I prefer anti-heroes with principles.)

2. Secrets. It's not so much that I love secrets as that I love the revelation of secrets. I love that moment when someone finds out something fantastic and unexpected, and I love seeing their reaction to that discovery. I think it's one of the reasons I'm so fond of crossovers--so many opportunities for reaction shots! Actually, it probably also explains my love of first time, how they got together romance stories. The caveat, of course, is that the revelation has to be earned. Either the secret-holder has to be a position where they have no choice but to tell the truth, or the recipient has to earn the revelation somehow. (Really, this binds together a bunch of tropes I enjoy. In Vino Veritas. Truth serums. Telepathy. Eavesdropping. But I only enjoy those tropes when the secret isn't being used against the secret-holder.)

3. Competence. I like characters who are good at things. I love con movies where the sympathetic-protagonist-cons artists are shown to have thought of everything and outsmarted their enemies, and I love characters who draw on their accumulated wisdom and knowledge to win the day, and I love badasses who can beat anyone in a fight, especially when it's important. Basically, I like characters who are good at something and I like watching them do what they're good at.

4. Outsider POVs. This one isn't about secrets, but it is about reactions. I enjoy seeing characters through other people's eyes. What do they think of the characters, or their actions, or their relationships?

5. Nurturing caretakers. I like characters who take care of other people (in an everyday way, not just in a heroic way), and I have a particular fondness for male characters who look after other characters' emotional needs, or who take care of minor practical details for others, both of which run a little counter to stereotypical male roles.

The tropes I don't like mostly centre around betrayal, people getting blamed for things they didn't do, and miscommunication/characters not talking at key moments. (I really, really dislikes scenes where one character tries to start a conversation about something important, and the other character asks if it can wait. Because generally, it can't.)

(I wrote up a list of favourite tropes about a year ago. I think this is pretty consistent with that list.)

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Tags: fanfic discussion, meta
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