Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tropes: genreness

Trope: A significant or recurrent theme; a motif.
Cliché: A stereotyped expression, a commonplace phrase; also, a stereotyped character, style, etc.

So says the OED.

From this we see that well a cliche is a bad and evil sort of thing a trope is good. The tropes in 'a cure for magic' apparently include government, productivity, and elves. Or were those themes? Elves aren't a theme, so I don't think so.

From this I can also say that trope is not exactly the word I am looking for. What I mean is that particular thing which keeps a genre together, the genreness. This Genreness acts as as glue to keep ideas, characters, plot lines, and magic all working together.

Sometimes people forget this; sometimes the genreness takes over. If it takes over you end up with something along the lines of genre-trash, but less interesting. A story is good because if the characters, and if the characters are subsumed by their roles as hero and villain you lose character. Next the plot line will be taken over by little hero-quest goblins that tell you to follow formats. The problem being that genreness isn't plot line, and you end up with weird series of not really connecting events.

But it goes the same way if you deny your genre completely. I'm happy for those who want to be new and original and I hope that they succeed, but they have no write to complain if they do not. I don't read fantasy for the new and original. I read it because it is fantasy. If I wanted something else I would read something else. But that isn't to say that I don't like clever and interesting stories, I just don't like people saying they write fantasy when they are really writing speculative fiction. I like a story that is individual and powerful, that stands out from everything else because it is just that good, not because you've written your fantasy without elves, heroes, magic, feudal institutions, or at the very least some disconnection from reality.

So there are different levels to the amount of genreness a novel contains. Dragonlance has a lot more then the Hobbit, but both are in the realm of the fantastic.

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