If you’ve been reading this blog even semi-regularly you’re probably aware of my ongoing love affair with the TV Tropes website. This entrancing siren is a user-maintained database documenting all the fiddly bits and techniques we love to use and recognize in the creation or appreciation of fiction (and sometimes non-fiction as well), and whenever I go visit her I usually end up with far too many browser windows open as I giddily peruse what she has to offer. Maybe it’s just me speaking as a writer, but browsing a tongue-in-cheek explication of the tendency in movies and television for someone shot with a gun to go flipping acrobatically to their doom, complete with examples, is some quality edutainment.
I’ve decided it’s time to take this relationship to the next level.
You see, TV Tropes also allows for creative works to have posted entries that give details on the work, followed by a list of tropes embodied by its elements. You can see an example here with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. But you don’t have to be a world-famous classic to have a spot, in fact one of the first things TV Tropes tells you is that, unlike the exclusionary standards of stuffy ol’ Wikipedia, There Is No Such Thing As Notability. All works are notable. Even, theoretically speaking, a homegrown web comic about cowboys and cowgirls ranching a herd of zombies.
But Dawn and I are often humble to a fault. I could have added us as soon as we started, but even now, two years down the road, a little voice is railing against the egotism of doing so. If we truly belonged there, wouldn’t some fan have gone through the trouble of adding us already? Isn’t it horribly presumptuous for a creator to slap up their own work? Shouldn’t I just wait until it happens naturally as a result of us being inspiring and, uh… notable enough?
Well, I’ve been talking to other webcomic peers lately and a lot of them have not only “self-published” a TV Tropes entry, they’re seeing a decent amount of exposure out of having done so. Based on that, I resolved that I need to get over myself and get this done. After all, I know there’s at least a few of you out there who really love what Dawn and I are doing, and not just because you’re friends or relatives but because you genuinely feel we’re telling a unique and interesting story.
So within the next few weeks I’m hoping to get a Zombie Ranch page together and posted. I’ll do all the coding and the writing and such, but what I’m hoping from you folks is some help with suggestions on the tropes we’ve had examples of so far. Because there are a lot of tropes on the site, and I’ve only just begun to make my own list. This could be as simple as just naming a trope or giving me a link to check out. Tropes cover just about everything from situations, to visuals, to characters and beyond. For example, one of the first items on my list is the Determined Homesteader entry, which is a Western character archetype I feel Suzie embodies. In the examples section of the page I’m then intending to put:
Determined Homesteader: Suzie
But I’d love more suggestions. There may be things I’ve forgotten or not even thought of which would apply. We don’t have to cover everything, especially because once I get this up and running, anyone can add to it later on, but if you do have thoughts please post them in the comments or you can email them to me at clint @ zombieranchcomic.com — I figure the more brains (mmm… brains…) I have giving input, the faster this’ll go.
Hope to hear from you!