To Trope or Not to Trope
By To Trope Or Not To Trope
...that is the question. Three opinionated writers argue over whether ’tis nobler to take up arms against a sea of overused tropes or give in and write them anyway. Tune in for a different trope every episode as we cover the good, the bad, and inescapably tropey.
Threshold Guardian Archetype
From your classic bridge trolls to your very effective brick walls, Threshold Guardians are here to cause minor problems for your hero and maybe teach them a thing or two in the process. Join us for discussions on pacing and plot and just how exactly the three of us would get past a grumpy bridge troll. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, but maybe do listen to this episode before you write a Threshold Guardian.
January 25, 2023
Evil Is Sexy
Sometimes the temptation to the dark side is just too much… especially when the dark side is so much sexier than the boringly attractive good guys. With their sharp angles and slicked back hair and suave, competent mannerisms, it’s hard to resist loving the villains. But should we? Join us this episode as we talk about sexy villains, what makes them sexy, and all the potential problems with writing them. It’s a fun time of rants about tumblr writers, rants about sexism and basement boys, and ridiculous gushing about sexy actors. Go forth and be sexy. (And write more sexy villains. But, like, thoughtfully, maybe.)
January 10, 2023
Hear ye! Hear ye! Join us this episode as we discuss the character archetype of the Herald and why we don’t really think it should be a character archetype at all. Heartrending betrayals, exciting plot twists, and hot takes on bad writing—this episode has it all! Don’t miss it!
December 27, 2022
It’s the holiday season and we’re here with a fun wintry episode all about making characters fall in love, revealing murderers, worldbuilding infodumping, and choosing which character to eat first. Join us as we discuss the best places to be Snowed In, explain how one plot contrivance might not work but six or more totally would, and offer such timeless and insightful writing advice as “just don’t be boring.” Happy Holidays!
December 13, 2022
Cowboys and eye candy and gardeners, oh my! Allies come in all shapes and sizes, and this episode we’re covering all of them. Join us as we talk all things BFFs and sidekicks, take a brief foray into how feminism affects the hero’s journey, and eventually land on some very counterintuitive writing advice. (Best listened to with 4 to 7 of your very best friends, family members, or various other allies, then shared with 4 to 7 more.)
November 29, 2022
He’s big, he’s bad, and he’s got a plan to take over the world that would have worked, too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids! The Evil Overlord is the quintessential villain trope, and as such, there are a lot of really bad examples of it out there. Don’t be another cautionary tale of an Evil Overlord gone wrong—listen to this episode and write a convincing big bad! Or at least join us as we tear apart your favorite villains and try very hard not to reveal our secret plans to take over the world. You know, the usual.
November 15, 2022
Where there’s a Hero, there’s someone to tell that Hero he’s an idiot. Enter the Mentor. Join us in the second installation of our Archetype series as we discuss all the ways a Mentor can be neither old nor wise, and all the instances in which they’re stereotypically both, because humans sure do like their comfortable tropes. So wax on, wax off, and give our wise mentoring advice a listen as you continue along your writing journey.
November 01, 2022
Witches, Witches Everywhere
It’s spooky season! So we’re here with an episode all about witches. From alewives and the Spanish Inquisition to Harry Potter, Frozen, and mass produced romances, we’ve got witchlore coming at you from every which way. Join us for rants about worldbuilding, arguments about magic systems, and just enough writing advice to keep calling this a podcast for writers. Pull up a broom and come fall under our spell!
October 18, 2022
He’s here to save the world! Or slowly devolve in a downward spiral of madness and obsession. Y’know, whichever works. Welcome to our Archetype mini series, in which we deconstruct character archetypes and talk about how to write them (and, of course, how NOT to write them), starting with the inescapable Hero. Join us this episode for arguments about whether or not Star Wars actually counts as sci-fi, whether antiheroes even exist, and why morally gray fiction very well might be ruining the world. It’s a good time.
October 04, 2022
He’s suave, he’s hot, he’s here to steal your heart…and maybe your grandmother’s jewels while he’s at it. Join us this episode as we discuss all things Gentleman Thief, that villain we all love to love. We talk ethics, we talk worldbuilding and business cards, we talk heists (of course), and we spend an inordinate amount of time playing “is he actually a gentlemen thief?” with various fictional characters. The answers might surprise you.
September 20, 2022
Sometimes true love is written in the stars. Other times the stars are just petty and cruel. Join us this episode as we talk all things Star-Crossed Lovers, argue repeatedly about Romeo and Juliet, and discuss the real questions, like “can you write star-crossed lovers into an early 2000s style rom-com?” and “is Ansel Elgort the new Leonardo DiCaprio?”
September 06, 2022
Get in, losers, we’ve got a totally fetch season finale for you. Cady Heron isn’t like regular Nines, she’s a cool Nine. Join us this week as we talk Mean Girls, Marvel, and how to write an interesting Enneagram Nine character who’s still a Nine by the end of the story. Grool!
May 31, 2022
To Retell or Not to Retell
This week we stray from strict tropes into the land of retellings and adaptations, discussing when you should, when you shouldn’t, and what makes us ridiculously annoyed at stories. We also spend an inordinate amount of time arguing about whether Marvel is fantasy or sci-fi, which doesn’t really have anything to do with retellings, but seemed like a good idea at the time.
May 17, 2022
“Fight me.” –Lizzie Bennet, probably. No matter the challenge, Eights will rise to it. Join us this episode as we talk about megalomaniacal dictators and strong independent women and every Eight in between. This week, we’re asking the important questions, like, How do you write every Enneagram type in one story? and, What if Lizzie Bennet had been cruelly experimented on and ended up in the movie Sky High?
May 03, 2022
Stuffed in the Fridge
Sir, that’s my emotional support dead woman in a refrigerator! If you’ve ever considered killing off a character in your writing, listen to this episode. We discuss in depth when it’s okay to kill off characters and when it’s just a lazy plot trick or cheap emotional manipulation, with a side of when it might be sexist, just for kicks. From Batman’s parents to Sean Bean, this episode has everything you ever needed to know about writing satisfying character deaths. Spoilers for Harry Potter, True Blood, Fullmetal Alchemist, Lord of the Rings, The Avengers, The Umbrella Academy, and Game of Thrones.
April 19, 2022
To live is an awfully big adventure, and Sevens are all about that adventurous life. Join us as we discuss the many iterations of Peter Pan and more than you ever wanted to know about writing Enneagram Sevens. It’s a wild and fun time. Much like Enneagram Sevens.
April 06, 2022
Enemies to Lovers
I hate you. I love you. I hate that I love you. Join us this episode as we talk all things Enemies to Lovers and offer some very unhelpful advice on how to write this trope. Did you know that the key to writing good books is, in fact, to write good books? You will after listening to this episode!
March 22, 2022
Me? An Enneagram Six? Shut. Up. From loyal faith in preexisting systems to skepticism of literally anything outside their comfort zones, Sixes show up in fiction in a variety of ways. Join us this episode as we talk about Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia, and the many ways you can shove a Six character out of their comfort zone and into a plot. We also talk about Chris Pine a lot, because come on. It’s Chris Pine.
March 08, 2022
It’s twosday! We’re coming at you on 2/22/2022 with an episode all about magical numbers, numerology, and symbolism. Head back to middle school English class with us (but, like, in a fun way!) as we discuss how and when symbolism should be written into stories and the kinds of symbolism that should generally be pushed away with a very sharp stick. Enjoy!
February 22, 2022
It’s elementary, dear listeners. At least, that’s what a Five would have you believe. Join us as we discuss Sherlock Holmes and other Enneagram Fives both real and fictional, and talk about how to write them. Specifically how to make them human. And female. Featuring other important questions such as: “Would Sherlock understand TikTok memes?” “Should the three of us plan a heist?” and “Is building your wife a castle and then only visiting when she invites you over normal human behavior?”
February 08, 2022
Moody Broody Sad Boy
He’s here, he’s hot, and he’s got a chip on his shoulder the size of Texas. He’s got a lot of feelings and he’s not afraid to use them. He’s also probably got a leather jacket, because of course he does. Join us this episode as we go off about the Moody Broody Sad Boy, talk about how to write him as a character, take a couple weird detours into what he could look like IRL, and reveal way too much about our feelings toward Adam Driver.
January 25, 2022
But you just don’t understand! From tortured artists to empaths, from serial killers to characters who have so many feelings they just can’t help but sing about it, Fours just want to be special. Join us this episode as we discuss Klaus Hargreeves and the possibilities of a devoted cult gone wrong, and put out a heartfelt request for more Enneagram Four villains in fiction, because chaos energy and a strong personal aesthetic are where it’s at. Plus, you know, some stuff about writing Enneagram Four characters, because that’s what we do. Enjoy! (Or don’t, whatever’s best for your brand.)
January 11, 2022
The Great Elf Showdown
When someone says “elf,” what do you think of? If you didn’t answer, “a toymaker bearing the white hand of Saruman” or “an orc in jingly shoes,” you need this episode in your life. Join us as we discuss such hard hitting questions as: Is Santa a sexy high elf? Is the Naughty and Nice list an unbreakable fae contract? Are Rhys and Tamlin really any different from Legolas or Thranduil? Tolkien, Santa Claus, and Sarah J Maas square off in this semi-useless, mostly coherent collective rant about unpaid labor, sexy bat wings, and writing mythological beings. Happy Holidays!
December 28, 2021
Anything you can do, Threes can do better. It’s just a fact. (If you ask them, anyway.) Join us this episode as we discuss Tony Stark and his stereotypical Enneagram Three selfish selflessness, and disagree over whether or not he would make a compelling supervillain. From imaginary fans to Pokémon masters, this episode is here for all your Enneagram type Three writing needs.
December 14, 2021
Is it incest if you’re not technically related? Do evil scientists who specialize in human experiments actually create found families? If you’re all legally declared dead, can you still go through the adoption process? All this and more in this week’s episode on how to write Found Family!
November 30, 2021
Do you want to build a… type Two character? Join us in our second Enneagram episode as we discuss Anna, Princess of Arendelle, and how we think she could be a more compelling character. Featuring other such side topics as Dolly Parton’s dystopia and whether Sam was the real hero of Lord of the Rings, this episode is here for all your Enneagram Two writing needs.
November 17, 2021
Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Sad boys here! Come and get your sad boys! Join us this episode as we discuss the real questions, like can a manic pixie dream girl exist without the dreamer? do sad boys really need more stories written about them? and should Jack have survived Titanic? All this and more in the episode.
November 02, 2021
From the benevolent rule of Mary Poppin’s cheerful dictatorship to Thanos’s perfectly balanced soufflé, join us as we discuss how to make an Enneagram One character come to life in your writing. Forget stick-in-the-mud moral guardians—Enneagram Reformers are here with a (morally justified) vengeance! (And maybe an army of chimney sweeps. You never know.)
October 19, 2021
The Mad Scientist
It’s spooky season! Join us as we discuss the limits of science vs fantasy and the separation between mad science and just, well, science. Byron might be offended, but hopefully Mary Shelley would be proud.
October 05, 2021
Friends to Lovers
Two people are attracted to each other. One of them has a boyfriend. Plot complications ensue. Join us this episode as we ask the serious questions, like is there a difference between friend chemistry and romantic chemistry? is there a proper amount of time for characters to stay friends before becoming lovers? and did Ron really deserve Hermione? Listen and find out!
September 22, 2021
The Chosen One
Have you or someone you love been inexplicably chosen by mysterious forces to drive the plot forward? If so, you may be entitled to hundreds of pages of questionable decisions and unaccountable triumphs! Tune in today for more information!
September 07, 2021