- Email me
- Nail Your Novel: books
- FAQ: I’m a new writer: which book should I read first?
- FREE Nail Your Novel Instant Fix: 100 Tips For Fascinating Characters
- My writing process: the picture tour
- Nail Your Novel: A Companion Workbook
- Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books and how you can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence
- Reviews of Nail Your Novel
- Who’s tweeting about Nail Your Novel …
- Writing Characters Who’ll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel
- Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart: Nail Your Novel
- Who am I?
Posts Tagged developing story
It’s called Television Tropes and Idioms. But don’t be fooled by its name. Tropes doesn’t mean cliches; it means story conventions and readers’ expectations. In fact, you can use the site as a cliche and stereotype warning – it tells you what’s already been done to death so you can keep your story and characters fresh and original. And the site includes movies and novels as well – of all types, all genres (and even stories that don’t fit easily anywhere).
I’m using it to fill gaps. At the moment I have a rudimentary cast of characters and a fundamental conflict, so I need to see what else could gather around it. Poking around in the subject sections (‘topical tropes’, in the left sidebar) suggested a lot more places I could take the characters and ways to develop the plot. It also gave me ideas for more defined roles my characters could play.
If you want to hit a particular genre, zip down the left-hand sidebar and look up ‘literature’ and you’ll find a list of categories to clarify where you fit. You can also check you’ve covered enough bases to satisfy readers and identify possibilities you might not have thought of.
But even if you don’t fit traditional pigeonholes (like certain folks I could mention), you can look up story ingredients, such as ‘war’, ‘betrayal’ or ‘family’ – just for instance, under the latter you get a delicious sub-list with suggestions like ‘amicably divorced’, ‘hippie parents’, ‘dysfunctional’.
Some writers get their first inspirational spark from a setting – if that’s you, you can research how other authors have done your setting justice, from pre-history to ‘4000 years from now (and no jetpack)’.
One of the other things I like about it – very much – is its tone. No judgements are made about whether genres are fashionable, overworked, lowbrow or highbrow. It’s all about celebrating how stories work – or sometimes don’t. As we know, that comes down to the writer’s skill anyway, not whether a ‘subject’ is en vogue. And after a few hours in the company of their rather breezy descriptions, not only will you be better informed, you will be spurred to avoid the lazy story decision.
If you’re sprucing up your outline – especially as NaNoWriMo looms – spend an afternoon exploring Television Tropes and give your story a thorough workout.
Do have any go-to sites when you’re planning a novel – and how do you use them? Share in the comments!
You can find tips for researching, outlining and what makes a robust story in my book, Nail Your Novel – Why Writers Abandon Books and How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence. Available on Kindle and in print.
authors, Character, cliches, deepen your story, Depth & Heart, developing characters, developing story, endings, fundamental conflict, having ideas, hippie parents, how to be more creative, how to be original, how to write a novel, idioms, inspiration, literature, My Memories of a Future Life, NaNoWriMo, National Novel-Writing Month, novels, original characters, outlining, outlining a novel, pantsing, pantsing versus planning, Planning, planning a novel, plotting, preparing for NaNoWriMo, Roz Morris, stereotypes, story, synopsis, Television Tropes & Idioms, tropes, writing, writing a novel - Nail Your Novel, Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel, writing life, Writing Plots With Drama
- Where should your novel begin? Ep 37 FREE podcast for writers June 22, 2020
- How to write in the holidays and at other disrupted times – Ep 36 FREE podcast for writers June 14, 2020
- How to get followers for your blog – Ep35 FREE podcast June 10, 2020
- After the red pen – a pain-free way to tackle beta reader comments June 7, 2020
- What is writing talent? A bookseller and author-publisher discuss. Ep 34 FREE podcast for writers June 5, 2020
- What is a holiday read? A bookseller and an author-publisher discuss. Ep 33 FREE podcast for writers June 2, 2020
- The book or the film? How storytelling differs in prose and live action. Ep 32 FREE podcast for writers May 29, 2020