Tropes & Clichés and other blocks of storytelling

I write this because I believe that English uses the word “trope” in a different way than in French. It’s a rare word here, and I had to check in dictionaries to understand it.

I hear that in the world of telling stories, a trope is like a “little structure”, linked to other words : conventions, stereotypes, clichés, but also “twists and turns”.

  1. Big tropes, archetypes with capitals like : The Chosen One. The Artifact of Power. The Damsel in Distress. The Knight in Shining Armor.
  2. Typical narrative structures like : enemies to lovers, tough guy secretly sensitive, forbidden love,
  3. Situations or plot elements : “there’s only one bed”

 

It leads to many questions & paths :

  • Tropes by categories (ex : Fantasy Tropes : quest, dark lord, hero, good vs evil, blah blah)
  • Clichés are boring, aren’t tropes boring?
  • New tropes?
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clich%C3%A9 Clichés are irritating, right?
  • Platitudes. Stereotypes.
  • Tropes are good because familiarity.
  • When tropes are predictable to the point of boredom.
  • Are predictable tropes clichés?
  • Tropes as metaphors.

 

Well, it’s too big. Creativity and storytelling, finding the frontier between good tropes and boring ones, etc. I need a book. You have an idea?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Instagram : _bodylanguage_

 

 

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Mrs Fahndrich & The Cliff House

I don’t even remember how I found this little picture of the Cliff House. First I saw this woman in a dress, meditating about the sea on the sand, and liked this big strange house in the background… I was sure it was a painting.

The same morning, watching portraits made by Hugo Erfurth, I met this young woman, a romantic dreamy face, like an old Virginia Woolf cousin.

Two haunting pictures the same day. Two ladies, watching in the same direction… Maybe thinking to each other?

 

 

Hugo Erfurth (1874-1948) was a German photographer known for his portraits of celebrities of early twentieth century. I never found who Mrs Fahndrich was, but this picture was taken around 1930 (I think).

The Cliff House was a hotel near San Francisco, who survived many incidents, including explosions (!) and the big Earthquake, but burned – in 1907 (I think).

 

Well, nothing else, sorry. I just wanted to share what I’d call two “romantic seeds”. You get two old photographs and your imagination begins to run. Mine did anyway. What’s the story behind? What caused the fire? Who are these women?

I want to read a book on each. I want to write a book with Mrs Fahndrich visiting the hotel. Maybe causing the fire. Because of a terrible love affair. With another woman. Or her mother. Also, I find the way the hotel was build was like…. calling for disaster. Too cliffy, right?

 

Have a nice day!

http://scribol.com/anthropology-and-history/history/the-night-san-franciscos-cliff-house-burnt-to-a-cinder/

https://mashable.com/2015/05/07/cliff-house/

 

 

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The Juxtaposition Principle

ONE

I’m a bookseller, and this morning I talked with a lady who needed books and inspiration to write something for a funeral.

It’s easy to find this, but always in “squares”. Wells.

I mean, you’ll find things from Catholics, from Philosophy, in Spirituality books, in Literature, Buddhism, etc.

But I know a book from a woman who helps the reader to cope with ordeal, in one single book, from texts and quotes from : journalists, priests, masters, buddhists, writers from other centuries, from today, etc…

It’s a great book because “help” seems to come from everywhere, and also because you feel these things are universal, and because it’s interesting to find links between different states of mind. It’s not a well, it’s an ocean…

TWO

I call the Juxtaposition Principle a way to (maybe casually, at least with a certain freedom) to present an heterogeneity.

Serve yourself.

THREE

In the bookstore I do this constantly :

If, for example, there’s an offer for pocket books, I will present 25 different books in a single front display, with : self help, sociology, philosophy, art, anthropology, music and history. Juxtaposition. I do it on purpose, and so there.

Usually, managers don’t understand that.

They want “massive bestsellers front walls”, with one single book presented by the hundreds. This says to the customers : “I’m huge, obey, don’t think : BUY!!”.

My way says :

  1. Let yourself be surprised
  2. There are many levels on this knowledge ladder : choose your stair
  3. It can be fun to find the links between the books
  4. You can be curious if you want
  5. I’m a bookseller and I present these to you, you can follow or not
  6. Maybe theres’s a message here : do you find it?
  7. What is the common trait here?
  8. These are NOT new books, but classics, or different ones : explore
  9. Disobey advertising, find your way into this tree!
  10. Be smart
  11. Etc

FOUR

I wrote an article about this Juxtaposition Principle about my Instagram. Because, evidently you see me coming : Constantly Random is an Instagram flaw

And I absolutely and willingly and by choice do this for my blog.

It’s not about fashion, or traveling, or IA. It’s about MANY things. Juxtaposition.

And of course, I know you know that there’s a little music hidden in this Juxtaposition here.

It doesn’t work that well, but I reached “real” 251 followers today, which gives me 430 followers in total. Not thousands, but I’m happy though. You my followers are curious explorers. And I love you.

Have a great day!!

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Instagram : tashaenpapier

…and the “horror short stories” lost writer.

Yesterday in the bookstore I met an author, an unknown man who wrote and self-published a little book of “horror short stories”.

He asked for a book signing day.

I answered that we only do that, since a few years, for really published bigger authors, and also that he shouldn’t regret it : nobody probably would have come for him to our big store to have their book signed…

I know : not cool.

As he was talkative I suggested he asked to do this in smaller human-size bookstores, but also said that he’d probably see no line in front of the table.

We then talked about the writer’s disillusion of Level 2. The first is when he desperately want to be published. The other one is when he IS published, but nobody cares about his book.

We talked : sending his book to influencers & editors, about blogging, writing fan-fictions to get a name. We also talked about losing time – as he was – trying being a press secretary, an attaché.

I have no advice to tell to writers, but this man was a bit lost, obviously. Thus I asked him :

– What do you like?
– Writing.
– What don’t you write, then?

 

Is it the good path to get published with no audience, when you write horror short stories? What for? Hoping for money? Really?

Isn’t self editing a no-man’s land between putting the text online and having your book on tables in every store?

(Well, there’s this little pride when your brother-in-law buys you one to please you…)

Or is it better to just write, develop a talent and possibilities, find your music and determine something important : are you good, or not? Do you want to sell, or do you want to be read?

What happens when you work out of your skills, just besides, where you feel lost, untalented, and bored? Do you have to recenter, or do you learn things while you do it – thinking about the time you’ll be back to what you love and where you’re good?

 

Have a nice day!

 

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One-Lined Ideas for Writers, Part II

The suites of transformations you need to express things, respecting the conditions your have to respect.

You write, you read what you just wrote, in a loop. A closed balanced between you and you. A pleasure can resonate.

Pull weapons out of other people’s work – to use you own resources.

Find the person you write for – even if this person does not really exist. Golem it.

Use what is made for use. Find a drawer : open it. Break what is fragile. Push what tilts.

Try what has never be done, but appears as possible.

Your work can always been gone back over. This is your job. Find your “until”.

Try a thousand ways to write an idea until you meet a favorable words figure.

Find a force. Find where to use it. Apply a force.

At one moment you are attracted by what is needed, by what goes forward to the goal.

You dream to write, you desire to write, you call. But it’s not to be confused with the state where you MAKE.

Our most precious states are unstable – the artist answers trying to stabilize them.

What you feel. What you do. What you want to make feel.

 

All these microseeds come from Paul Valéry‘s Poietis (Poïétique). They aren’t quotes, I kneaded them for your pleasure. Have fun.

One-Lined Ideas for Writers, Part I

Thanks for reading!

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Stand up Blogging : “What begins commands” & Lost Branches

There are many ways to blog. You can write a novel chapter by chapter, or you can “react” to news in the world, or comment fashion, or new trends in food. You’re good.

My article talks about bloggers who needs ideas and inspiration. This is what I try to do, and I like this way, because it puts your brain in alert. You glean

Gleaning in loop : the “Gathering Seashells” Type

Finder Keeper Sharer, “What is my blog about?”

Blogger’s Words Horniness & consequences

You read a magazine, you talk with a friend, you got and email, you have a walk around the block, you bake, or you take a shower : Bim! (this is the sound of an idea coming to you).

Bim!

(The symbol is a bulb over your head, right?)

You hurry to sit in front of your computer. You click on “Write”, while your brain is already organizing things…

What begins commands. We all have our patterns, and when you start you more or less know where you’re going.

My tool here is :

Dial : Beware of “What begins commands”, because it’s too easy. You follow one path but :

  1. you could lose branch points
  2. you could ignore good bypasses
  3. your steam can hide possibilities.

Lever : Stand up, for blog’s sake! Finish your article if you’re too excited, but at one point, don’t publish. Stand up. I mean for real! Stand up and go away. Open a window. Wash a cup and a fork. Pet a cat. Breathe.

 

 

Flaubert, the French author who wrote Madame Bovary, had “un gueuloir”, a “scream room”. He was walking and yelling his texts in this room. It’s crazy? Not that much. You’ll have to find your own way. Just do something else while you think about your article or your page. Maybe print it and take a pen. You’ll find ideas, “furthers”, new branches, words, style nuggets, inversions, interesting bypasses, etc.

OK, go back writing now, you fool 😅

Thanks for reading!

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Paul Valéry about “writing for someone”?

Paul Valéry writes in one of his Notebooks a dozen lines about… writing. I translate it – sorry for my English :

One must work for Someone; and not for unknowns. One must aim somebody, and the more you aim this someone clearly, the best is the work and the yield of the work. The work of spirit is entirely determined – only if someone is in front of it. The one who addresses, aims at someone, addresses to all. But the one who addresses to everybody addresses to nobody.
It is all about finding this someone. This somebody gives the tone to the language, gives the extent to explanations, measures the attention one can ask.
To picture someone is the great skill of the writer.

Again : sorry for my English. It’s very hard, here. I bolded the bold.

This declaration has a strange effect on me. It’s like being inside the head of a thinker (and in fact, that’s it).

  • You want to say “Noooo that’s NOT that simple”.
  • You want to say : “One must care about an audience”.
  • Or maybe “You must write to please yourself, and the audience will come”.

Questions for bloggers, right?

But somewhere there’s a bell in my head saying “He’s right”. Some of us maybe invent a human someone, aggregating people we know, people we imagine, followers and readers, old friends, until we have this strange modeled golem : our Reader.

 

Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!

Jean-Pascal

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Instagram : _bodylanguage_

 

Il faut travailler pour Quelqu’un ; et non pour inconnus. Il faut viser quelqu’un, et plus nous le visons nettement, meilleur est le travail et le rendement du travail. L’ouvrage de l’esprit n’est entièrement déterminé que si quelqu’un est devant lui. Celui qui s’adresse à quelqu’un, s’adresse à tous. Mais celui qui s’adresse à tous ne s’adresse à personne.
Il s’agit seulement de trouver ce quelqu’un. Ce quelqu’un donne le ton au langage, donne l’étendue aux explications, mesure l’attention qu’on peut demander.
Se représenter quelqu’un est le plus grand don de l’écrivain.