What does it mean when someone calls a story “trope-y”? Are archetypes always necessary? What makes something a cliché? If you’re writing stories, you’ve probably heard all of these terms at some point. You may have encountered conflicting definitions, or gotten feedback on your writing that has included these terms. How can you take that feedback and make use of it? How can you use these concepts in the early stages of drafting your work? Together we’ll explore these words and see how we can use these ideas to inspire writing and revision.
In this four-week intensive course, we will examine these terms and look at how they are different and where they overlap. We’ll look at stories from genres such as fantasy, fairytale and science fiction and also use film and television references in our discussions. Students will come away with new writing and ideas about how to use archetypes, tropes and even clichés until they break into something new.
- Explore archetypes, tropes, and clichés to discover ways to use these concepts to spark ideas for stories, build and structure stories, and create delight and surprise for readers.
- Write new pages to build skills that will help you use story tropes in your own work.
- Receive and provide useful feedback on writing, which will help you revise work.
- By the end of this course, you will be able to identify tropes that resonate for you, and gain tools to create new stories.
WHAT THIS CLASS WILL OFFER
Week 1 We will develop a solid definition of a story trope (and cousin concepts like archetype and cliché) through reading and discussion. Our writing this week will be informal freewriting to loosen up and explore which tropes you might use for future assignments.
Week 2 We’ll continue our exploration of archetypes, tropes and clichés. We will share and discuss our first week exercises. We will pick a common tropes and write scenes using it for inspiration.
Week 3 In our readings, we’ll examine methods for subverting tropes and upending expectations. We’ll read and give feedback on each other’s scenes and work on revising our own pages. You may be given personalized exercises tailored to your story.
Week 4 We’ll continue our discussion of tropes and archetypes. We will turn in our revised pages and discuss what’s next for our story or character.
ABOUT HALEY ISLEIB
Haley Isleib is a fan of Story, all kinds in any format – books, movies, games, graphic novels, poems, miscellany found abandoned at bus stops, et cetera. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared Daily Science Fiction, Plasm and Fireweed: Poetry of Western Oregon, among others, and she is the recipient of a fellowship in poetry from Literary Arts of Oregon. Her script Drones & Drivers won the Feature Script category at the Other Worlds Austin screenwriting competition in 2015, and her short films have screened in festivals on both sides of the Atlantic. She serves as \ the Program Coordinator for the Oregon Writers Colony Annual Conference and volunteers with the Cascade Writers Workshop.