This blog looks at a website called TVtropes, which also includes some novel authors, including Rosemary Sutcliff.
Here's what the contributors say about tropes and the website:
Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means "stereotyped and trite." In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them.
Here's an example of an entry for Sutcliff:
- Author Catchphrase: Lots, including the coinages "woodshore" (the edge of the woods) and "house-place" (pointless alliteration).
- The North "went up in flames" about once per book
- "It is in my heart that" this is a long way to say "I think"
- Leaf-buds are like green flame or smoke, fire is like a flower, white flowers are like curds, and sea-foam is like cream
- "stirabout": because "stew" is cliche
- "wave-lift": also known as a hill, usually the Downs of southern England
- A Celtic woman invariably "carried herself like a queen". She may also wear braids "as thick as a swordsman's wrist" and her love interest may be able to "warm my hands at you". If she's really into him it's probably a case of "whistle and I'll come to you my lad" (a line stolen from Robert Burns' poem.)
- The green plover is always calling. Always.
Is that a green plover on this blog's background?! Did we choose it unconsciously as a being a good design for a blog about Sutcliff? Further entries for Sutcliff can be found on TVtropes here.