marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

Tropes and Your Audience

My first panel at this year's Arisia.

Writers use tropes whether they intend to or not, because writers have to produce something that will be recognizable as a story.

And cliches are not just bad writing.  They are overused tropes.  Which means they are used.  A lot.  And nothing gets used a lot without having something going for it.  How ground-breaking works can lose their lustre because it was all "look at these new tropes" and as soon as other people take them and run with them, better, the first work loses to them because it no longer has any attractions.

Genre tropes.  I told my little parable about the country of the blind where they practice sculpture -- tactial of course -- and how their criticism of visual sculpture is often wildly off-base.  How 1984 and Brave New World were favorites among non-fans because they really were about the modern world (at which point a fellow panelist interrupted me to say that they really were about the modern world and would not let me go on until I told him explicitly to let me finish) but Mission of Gravity was not really about the modern world and so they couldn't handle the tropes.
Tags: aesthetics, arisia, cliches, genre
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