I’m on my first free morning in … weeks. Wee Dave is at a summer school day-camp function, and Wee-er Dave is out pushing over old ladies for candy money. Or something. Hard to tell, really. I’m gathering supplies for some basic automotive work, as well as continuing the build on the littles’ new beds. And planning a new hobby (how many is enough, Dave?) making picture frames for hanging the art I don’t yet have, but plan to acquire. Which will require more tools (moar tools for to act hoo-man). And continuing to plan another collaboration – we’re still working on primary characterizations – toward something to be completed this year.
This year, Dave? (So soon? Shaddap, weisenheimer. Hecklers’ gooses will be Koched.) Well, see, Mrs. Dave got some work-related news, and things are potentially very up in the air. We’ll see. More about that as developments occur. That said, my collaborator has enough drive and energy that I firmly expect you’ll see some fun things from us.
ON THE OTHER HAND.
Okay, lemme step back a few. At LibertyCon, I was on the Tropes in UF panel, which was a lot of fun. Each of us panelists had a different answer to each question posed. For example, I use tropes as signposts. “This way to the magical Chosen One!” “Here be demons/dragons/pink-haired metal bands!” “Mysterious dark figures wanted; apply within.” “No Vampires, or Irish.” Others of my panelists prefer to invert their favorite tropes as a means of keeping the reader guessing, which is also fun.
Case in point, I asked a question of Mrs. Dave the other night after seeing a cartoon on the visage codex. Said sequential art told a brief story wherein a monster leaps out of a closet at a child and yells, “Got you!” The child then said, “Okay, it’s my turn to chase you!” And the last panel showed just that. My question was, what would a child who plays with monsters grow up to be?
The best part is your answer is going to be different (possibly radically) from mine. The two of us noodled around and ended up with two pages of notes and several character sketches for a pulp adventurer and her loyal batman (named Bruce, of course) who travels the inter-world-war world settling supernatural issues raised (sometimes literally) by incautious explorers. And I’ll be outlining that and somehow fitting it into a couple of other series upon which I’m also working.
Ultimately, tropes are tools. They signal genre and subgenre (you don’t tend to discuss FTL travel in hardly any kind of fantasy). They provide helpful handles to the reader so they don’t get overwhelmed by our unspeakable brilliance convoluted ideas. Tropes are a feature of genre fiction, whatever the genre, and should be treated so. Have fun with them.