|I might have some disaster movie tropes in here!|
So this is a difficult topic for me. I was reminded today that I hate it when characters take time to describe the awesome science and technology behind their everyday life in the book. I won't tell you how my elevator works if you don't describe your antigrav to me, k? I also don't like complicated worldbuilding that requires me to have a dictionary of the author's madeup words and whole paragraphs are in italics and must be translated. ("And our magic translators work by bending the known harmonics of the string theory universe..." Uh, NO.) A few key phrases that I can then enjoy repeating later - great. That I like.
BUT the subject gave me an excuse to run off to one of my new favorite sites, TV Tropes , where this is part of their mission statement:
The wiki is called "TV Tropes" because TV is where we started. Over the course of a few years, our scope has crept out to include other media. Tropes transcend television. They reflect life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, does its best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere.
I clicked on the Speculative Fiction genre and from there had an absolute smorgasbord of choices, including the Grand List of Overused Science Fiction Cliches, which then further divides into multiple parts. Some fun things there, which I share purely for enjoyment. If you can use them well in a story I wouldn’t tell you to avoid them! (Italics are the tropes from TV Tropes, regular font are my pithy observations.)
Super-intelligent computers blow up when the hero confuses them. Here’s looking at you, Captain Kirk!
Spacecraft features have been pointlessly carried over from water-borne designs.
A robot is shot and bleeds oil. Awwwww
"Reversing the polarity" is the solution to virtually every engineering problem. As opposed to kicking it, banging on the panel or similar high tech solutions!
Alien artifacts still work after being abandoned for a million years. HEY! Watch it now, I use that one in my Sectors novels and I swear it makes PERFECT sense.
When something explodes in space, the shock wave is ring-shaped. It’s NOT?????
Colored irregular crystals are the power source of the future. I think I have some in my jewelry box right now…
The chemicals in the lab are mostly colorful. The poisonous ones are always bright green. OK, ok, I’ll make them……red.
You can get from the common areas of a ship to the most sensitive areas via the ventilation and maintenance ducts. There are never any security precautions in place to prevent this. Well DUH.
If you enjoyed this random sample, there are hundreds, if not thousands more tropes over on TV Tropes. Go forth and enjoy….
And here’s my video today which I LOVE (might be a few tropes hidden in here too):