The Periodic Table of Storytelling Re-Released With New Features

The Periodic Table of Storytelling Re-Released With New Features

Table

James Harris's Periodic Table of Storytelling has been updated with new click-able tropes and story molecules.

Despite the best efforts of the world's many would-be storytellers to be original and unique, the foundation of fiction is generally still founded in tropes so numerous you could probably fill a book with them. Or, in the least, a periodic table.

And because this is the internet, someone, of course, did just that. Back in February, graphic designer James Harris unveiled his custom made Periodic Table of Storytelling which organized the tropes cataloged by TVTropes into a handy info-graphic styled after the periodic table of elements. The Table was a big hit, prompting Harris to return to it to make some interactive improvements.

Now, Harris has unveiled a new interactive version of his Table with tropes that links users back to the corresponding page at TVTropes. Also among the new additions are "story molecules" that break down popular shows and movies into the tropes that make them up. Firefly, for instance, combines the tropes Mal (Rebellious Spirit), Lrg (Loveable Rogue), Rcy (Recycled In Space) and Sbn (Screwed By The Network). Similar formulas are included for Star Wars, Ghostbusters and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, among others. All in all, it's a fun way to kill five minutes and we'd strongly urge to take a peek and perhaps even piece together your own molecules based on your own favorite shows and stories.

Source: Design Through Storytelling

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I would like to see the Game of Thrones molecule.

Tropes. Why does everything have to be tropes? I miss themes. Themes are great, there's nothing wrong with themes.

SecondPrize:
Tropes. Why does everything have to be tropes? I miss themes. Themes are great, there's nothing wrong with themes.

Well sure themes are all well and good, but you can't really apply Theme accurately to a lot of the things listed on here. A 5 man band or a large ham just can't accurately be called themes; they're devices.

Quazimofo:

SecondPrize:
Tropes. Why does everything have to be tropes? I miss themes. Themes are great, there's nothing wrong with themes.

Well sure themes are all well and good, but you can't really apply Theme accurately to a lot of the things listed on here. A 5 man band or a large ham just can't accurately be called themes; they're devices.

Well that's the thing. I don't care whether a five-man band or large ham is contained within something. Such knowledge does me no good. I don't want book reports, I want essays.

I'd like to think there are still original ideas out there, and if not there must be original ways to tell old ideas. If one stops and considered how contemporary storytelling has evolved into a churn factory one can see why originality is so difficult.

Telling a whole new story based on new ideas has always been a dream of mine. I still firmly believe it's possible, people just need to find ideas outside the pool and influences that inspire rather than dictate ideas.

At some point, I feel like tropes are utterly meaningless.
If everything's a trope, then nothing should be a trope, right?
I mean, if you simplify something enough it'll eventually include all the things.

chikusho:
At some point, I feel like tropes are utterly meaningless.
If everything's a trope, then nothing should be a trope, right?
I mean, if you simplify something enough it'll eventually include all the things.

not everything is a trope.

Also great that he expanded on the original table, really missed the link feature.

SecondPrize:

Quazimofo:

SecondPrize:
Tropes. Why does everything have to be tropes? I miss themes. Themes are great, there's nothing wrong with themes.

Well sure themes are all well and good, but you can't really apply Theme accurately to a lot of the things listed on here. A 5 man band or a large ham just can't accurately be called themes; they're devices.

Well that's the thing. I don't care whether a five-man band or large ham is contained within something. Such knowledge does me no good. I don't want book reports, I want essays.

Fair enough; it's easy to get lost in the details without understanding the point (are you a teacher by chance?). I wasn't thinking about it in an academic context, but rather that of a pseudo-writer (as making up plots for your rpg group to run through isn't really writing so much as it is a long improv skit). As you can imagine it's fairly useful to have a pretty decent knowledge of popular devices in media and the means by which they have been implemented to varied degrees of success.

I wouldn't go so far as to stay tropes are useless however, because isn't their usage within the context of a given work what gives that work it's meaning? Sure simply knowing that a ham is present in a work isn't too important, but if the work in question is, say, a fictional story where the characters ham up national stereotypes in order to create a microcosm of international relations and conflict it'd be important to acknowledge and analyze the aspects of said character to accurately and comprehensively understand the themes.

Or maybe I'm just pulling stuff out of my ass. The line between literary analysis and pseudo-academic BS got pretty blurred by my high-school english courses so I honestly can't be sure what side what I just said falls under.

Icehearted:
I'd like to think there are still original ideas out there, and if not there must be original ways to tell old ideas. If one stops and considered how contemporary storytelling has evolved into a churn factory one can see why originality is so difficult.

Telling a whole new story based on new ideas has always been a dream of mine. I still firmly believe it's possible, people just need to find ideas outside the pool and influences that inspire rather than dictate ideas.

Well if you break down most works, they tend to boil down to just variations on the same few basic stories; but just because every story is a variation on those few stories doesn't mean they are unoriginal, bland, mediocre, boring, or just plain bad. It is those variations that gave us all of modern media, good and bad, of dozens of different genres and sub-genres.

Sure, the capitalist influences behind those with the resources to create and publish movies and video games and TV and such have caused something of a stagnation on the sheer variety we had not too long ago in these very media, but it's hardly a churn factory right now. So long as something in the world changes, there will be a new way to tell an old story.
.
.
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Oh dear that sounded dangerously close to preachy. If my head has disappeared up my own ass please don't hesitate to inform me. My proctologist charges me by the inch now and if it gets much worse I won't be able to afford a present for my Dad's birthday!

SecondPrize:
Tropes. Why does everything have to be tropes? I miss themes. Themes are great, there's nothing wrong with themes.

Tropes are what themes grew up into. It isn't a bad thing, it just means that we are more aware of literary devices than ever before, and that IS good for writers. It helps them avoid cliches.

Spade Lead:

SecondPrize:
Tropes. Why does everything have to be tropes? I miss themes. Themes are great, there's nothing wrong with themes.

Tropes are what themes grew up into. It isn't a bad thing, it just means that we are more aware of literary devices than ever before, and that IS good for writers. It helps them avoid cliches.

I don't think the phrase grew up fits the transition from themes to tropes.

 

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