TVTropes Saved Me


Like most writers, I’m in a constant state of worry that my writing is a five-alarm dumpster fire, even though I’m probably pretty good. I have over 5,000 words trimmed so far, reducing my total word count to 102,190 with only the first major story arc completed. Can’t wait to work on the second arc, where shit gets real. I’m also flipping between two or three titles and I’ve changed the name of one of my main characters partway through the second draft.

While I’ve been writing, my anxiety is pretty broad. I worry that my dialogue, writing and character development simply isn’t good enough. Then I discovered how addicting TVTropes and my worries became a lot more specific. The other day I spent over an hour scrolling through all the negative pages – which resulted in me sleeping through my alarm and ending up late for work – looking for any awful tropes I’ve fallen into without realizing.

There’s the ‘Idiot Plot’, which highlights a story that has a plot that could have been solved from the very beginning if all of the characters weren’t idiots. And then there’s the ‘Cliche Storm’, where you are trapped in an endless hell where everything is something you’ve seen before. Finding stuff like this had me self-conscious that my story is exactly this, but you know what?

Finally reading up on what can kill a story has potentially saved my manuscript. From now until I’ve decided I’m done with writing (so, probably never), I plan on keeping TVTropes around as a reminder of what not to. After all, I can’t stand stories with conflicts that could have been solved from the very beginning and I’d hate to create something like that by accident.

So, that’s where I am right now. Still scared. Still slowly going insane.