Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tropes of the Trade

I saw this over on Julia Sevin's blog ( and liked it, so I did my own.

Top Ten Ways to Know You're Reading a Story by Kim

1. The protagonist, while possibly being female, undead, or a child, is always a bookish loner who feels excluded by others, but nonetheless feels an overwhelming responsibility to his/her community and family.

2. People's hair and eyes are always described in great detail.

3. What people eat is always described in detail, including its taste, texture, and its associations for the characters.

4. People's clothes are almost never described; if they are described at all, it is a perfunctory note when they first appear and it's never part of the action.

5. The story includes marital infidelity and/or the death of a close family member (spouse, child, or parent).

6. The protagonist has one close friend, but no others.

7. Every character is either an only child, or has one sibling; even if they do have one sibling, it is just to avoid the unlikely scenario of a world populated solely by only children, and the sibling has no active role in the story.

8. The color of things has been fit into some kind of iconography for this one story, based on characters' associations with the color.

9. Everyone's name is symbolic - either onomatopoeic, from the Bible, or from George Romero's films.

10. There are zombies. Slow ones.

In other words, Kim needs to expand his repertoire.


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