Random Bookish Stuff

You know how you visit IMDB intending to look up that guy in the Gap commercial because he was in Six Feet Under, or maybe it was LOTR, and it’s sort of bugging you, and then two hours of your life are gone?  Well, here’s another timesink–TV Tropes, a site exploring  “the tricks of the trade for writing fiction. ” Don’t be put off by that so-dry-it’s-flaking description, or by the dreadful layout that forces you to scroll way past a series of ads to reach the menu (in tiny font, of course).

TV Tropes identifies common tropes in television, film, and literature,  and presents them in a unified framework solely for the reader’s edification delight. An example:  if you read Calvin and Hobbes, you’re probably familiar with the noodle incident. Here it is anyway.

So, the Noodle Incident trope refers to a past incident that is often mentioned but never actually explained (the underlying assumption is that the said incident is too complicated or outrageous to elaborate upon).  The noodle incident in the Sherlock Holmes series, for instance, refers to a case featuring the giant rat of Sumatra, which Watson claims “the world is not ready to hear about”.  In Wodehouse:  “repeated references are made to the never-actually-recounted “Story of the Prawns” which relates a humiliatingly hilarious incident in the youth of stuffed shirt Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe.” I only looked at the noodle incidents in literature, but there are tons of examples in all genres, all spellbinding.

Another useful trope is the Woobie,  “that character you want to give a big hug, wrap in a blanket and feed soup to when he or she suffers so very beautifully.” Examples of the Woobie on the site include Tom Robinson (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Velutha (GoST).  And to end, a tiny sample of  some (self-explanatory) tropes. There’s  “Normally I Would be Dead by Now” (where you might see  a “My Name is Inigo Montoya” sequence), “Did Not Do the Research”, “Important Haircut”, and “Forgets to Eat”.  You know you won’t sleep tonight.

Hat tip: The Morning News


Bloggers everywhere are reviewing their favorite works featuring murder and mayhem, for The Golden Age of Detective Fiction is touring the blogosphere over the next four weeks. The Golden Age refers to the period spanning the 1920s and 30s  when detective fiction reached its high watermark; the best known writer of the era is probably Agatha Christie.

I have a insatiable craving for the cozy mystery, totally getting off on sleepy English villages filled with homicidal maniacs dabbling in untraceable alkaloids. So I’m very glad to participate in this challenge, and I’ll be reviewing the work of a writer who, in my very humble opinion,  deserves to be up there with Christie and Co.  Patricia Wentworth is the creator of Miss Silver, a retired governess turned private eye. Miss Silver is often compared to Christie’s Miss Marple, but she’s quite unique, and I’ll be elaborating on that next week, in my review of The Case of William Smith. (Btw, Miss Silver has her own noodle incident: the case of the poisoned caterpillars. Yes, TV Tropes does that to you.)

Other authors reviewed in the challenge include Allingham, Tey, Chandler, Hammett, Chesterton and Ngaio Marsh, to name a few, so do visit this challenge if you like classic mysteries. The tour schedule can be found here.

6 thoughts on “Random Bookish Stuff

    • Try reading the Miss Silver mysteries by Patricia Wentworth. She is a former governess and came along way before Miss Marple.

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