Print Story Trope Stew
By Kellnerin (Tue Nov 01, 2011 at 10:25:01 PM EST) (all tags)
Not to be confused with thrope stew, whose flavor can vary greatly depending on the particular variety of thrope.

Within, the usual autopsy of my WFC entries.

I have a book that dissects 20 common plots, breaking them down into their archetypal components and outlining what happens in each of the three acts. There is a chapter on "Metamorphosis," which contains the statement, "The metamorph is an inherently sad character." It also goes on to describe how the metamorph longs for release from his curse, which is usually achieved through love.

Neither of my entries follow the structure of the Metamorphosis story as described in the book.

Den Creature

So, I can't write songs. I don't think I would even have tried except that prompt #2 fit so well with a snippet of conversation I'd recently overheard. Besides, WFCs are about writing stuff without worrying about what you can't do.

To make things worse, I've never been involved in scouting of any kind. I'm sort of 1.5-generation immigrant and missed out on that particular rite of passage. Strike two.

I couldn't quite decide on the exact kind of creature, either. I started with the idea of a werebear (following naturally from Cub Scouts) who only transforms into human form for scout meetings. Then it sort of slid in the direction of selkie and then to swan maiden (which Wikipedia taught me is AaTh number 400). As a result it ended up as a pile of would-be evocative images that don't quite add up. Strike three.

The line that Scrymarch quoted is my favorite; if not for that, I might have abandoned it altogether. And toxicfur's review was far too kind. The ferrying around of kids is the quintessential aspect of soccer parenthood, but I wanted to get in a bit of the pride in the kid's accomplishments, along with the ambivalence about the entire (human/suburban/etc) lifestyle. To actually achieve the effect I hoped for would take defter hands than mine.

Unstill Life

The reviews are all right on about the gaps in this story. This is actually a bit of auto-fanfic (like my entry for the previous WFC, only less successful). Some of the holes were due to trying to make it WFC-sized, but some of them I honestly didn't see until afterward, because in my head, they're more filled in.

I've been working on a story with a certain collaborator with the stated goal of ripping off as many other works from as many media as possible. It starts like this:

It was a pleasure to turn.

It was a meditative pleasure to watch the wood become lethal, sharpened, transformed. Knowing that later, with that flawless fang in her first, its smooth contours perfectly balanced, the blood pounding in her head, her feet would become the feet of a virtuoso dancer executing the choreography of slaughter and slaying to bring down the decaying remnants of a centuries-old foe. With her pendant hanging around her neck concealed under her clothing, her eyes cold steel in anticipation of the move she would make next, Lundi would flick her wrist and the monster would burst into a cloud of ash that floated down from the evening sky red and amber and grey. A fellow trainee had once called them 'pireflies. That young girl, Chloe, had wanted above all, like a paranormal romance heroine, to seduce and be seduced by a creature of the night. She had had a sweet smile, sweet enough for her to get her wish.

Lundi wore the grim expression of all pirefighters who had been forced to stake a former friend.

Thropes and bies (not present in the WFC) were introduced in the story soon after the pires. Chloe turns out to be a bit more than initially met Lundi's eye. Chase was introduced later as Lundi's on again, mostly off again love interest, but I always figured that he was a werecat. I wanted to write about Chase for the WFC, but tossing him together with Chloe seemed like an efficient way to explore both their side stories at once. Both of them are your typical tragic metamorph, I guess. The cross-section of this universe that ended up in "Unstill Life" was more or less Buffy meets Being Human meets your typical Kellnerin story of troubled love under slightly weird circumstances. Hence, trope stew. It probably needed to simmer a bit longer with a few more ingredients in the pot to round it out.

The line that Scrymarch called out in his review comes from my current musical obsession. The full verse goes:

There's a radiant darkness upon us
But I don't want you to worry
I was careful but nothing is harmless
Baby, you better hurry
It doesn't sound like a bad way to break the news to your child that he's a thrope. The lines "Everything's weird and we're always in danger / Why would you shatter somebody like me" also seemed fitting for a Chase and Lundi theme song.

Despite not making a very strong showing in the poll, this was a very satisfying WFC experience in that I know exactly why it didn't work — thanks for the meaty comments from hulver, Scrymarch, and toxicfur. I wouldn't mind trying going back to expand on this, though I don't know if I should aim for a novel or a spec pilot for the CW (or maybe SyFy or a merged entity named CyWhy?) Scrymarch's reviews made me realize that some of the less successful entries might have been better as comics than stories, but that never occurred to me while writing. Then again, maybe I should just write the iPhone app. Thrope Tracker is maybe one of the best ideas I've ever had.

Finally, here's the over-extensively annotated version of the story.

< that's just peachy. | Pretentiousness follows >
Trope Stew | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)
1.5? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #1 Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 08:53:46 AM EST
Were you an Anchor Baby?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

well, no by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Nov 02, 2011 at 09:07:06 PM EST
I was born overseas. I'm a naturalized citizen, so technically I'm first generation. But my parents were also first generation (or is that zeroth generation) and I have very little memory of life before we moved. So I basically grew up American without being raised American. Or something like that.

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician
[ Parent ]
I really liked by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #3 Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 04:24:08 PM EST
The word "thrope" and the "thrope tracker".
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
thanks by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Nov 04, 2011 at 07:07:16 PM EST
I didn't come up with "thrope" (my co-conspirator did) but it feels like something that should already be a word. I encourage you to try incorporating it into everyday conversation.

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician
[ Parent ]
... trope stew? by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #7 Sun Nov 06, 2011 at 03:54:21 PM EST
... more like thrope stew, am I ... oh, never mind.

[ Parent ]
You may call it auto-fanfic by Scrymarch (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Nov 03, 2011 at 07:42:03 PM EST
Another way to phrase it might be embedded in a bigger world. It's the worldbuilding prework that makes this feel right. And what better source for consensus surreality than fiction that rips off every conceivable source?

I only just worked out what 'bies are.

Iambic Web Certified

BOMG by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Nov 04, 2011 at 07:18:51 PM EST
I characterize it as fanfic because this story lives in a sort of alternate continuity from the original one, although it doesn't mean that it can't be incorporated somehow. The larger story is really a kitchen sink of stuff, which is fun in and of itself, and it does provide lots of raw material. This was an attempt at a more edited version, with mixed (but somewhat encouraging) results.

Oh, and the bies. You can find them in the Hive.

"Plans aren't check lists, they are loose frameworks for what's going to go wrong." -- technician

[ Parent ]
Trope Stew | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden)