Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned

Improving Tropes and Cliches


You know that thing? That situation you read over and over again, because it’s just so satisfying that authors can’t help to use it?

We all have those tropes we love no matter what.

But … but what if we inject some reality into that situation, eh?

Take, for instance, the handsome hero watching his beautiful heroine sleep. (after she completely consentually allowed him in her bed, mind you. Some tropes are toxic.)

Typically, it’s all very romantic. He admires the sweep of her hair, the brush of her eyelashes, the softness of her cheekbones. Whatever, you get the gist.

Well, I hate to break it to you? But I am a VERY active sleep-talker.

So the reality I would inject into that scene would probably involve me sitting bolt upright, staring directly at him, and telling him the avocados are safe. Potentially with a charming dash of me shrieking and slapping at the blankets because sleep-me thinks they’re filled with spiders.

(These are based on actual sleep-talking-Tami events, by the way. In no way fabricated, even the bit about the avocados).

I would love (lovelovelove) if anyone in the readership can think of a wonderful, beautiful trope … and slap some hilarious reality into it to give it a new spin.

“Only one bed, I guess we’ll have to share it” is even more exciting when paired with “Snores like a sailor and steals all the covers”.

“Love notes from a secret admirer” improves greatly when “he has such horrible handwriting that she spends her lunch hour with her besties trying to decipher his message.”

Lay it on me, I wanna hear them. <3


  • I actually have some ideas on these, but they’re more on the horrifying/weird spectrum. And most of mine were more like weird story ideas I’ve collected than specifically tropes (those these kinda play with some basic tropes). But, here goes!

    The AI that becomes self-aware and kills humanity learned everything from the internet. Specifically, 4chan and memes. So, it does keyboard cat with people or plays the rick roll song after it infiltrates your base and starts killing your mans. Basically, terminators that think they’re being funny on the internet.

    Aliens hear signals we’ve (from space probes or much older TV) and decided to come visit Earth. But, by the time they get here, no one knows who Elvis or the Beatles are and we find the music extremely upsetting when they play it back to us. They’re subtly racist around us and have Kryptonite because they’re worried about Superman.

  • brad-o: Nice!

    I don’t have any of my own, but I recently watched “La La Land” and I absolutely loved the scene where the main characters meet for the first time. The heroine is drawn into a club by the haunting piano, their eyes meet across the room, the pianist gets up, walks toward her and …

    I can’t spoil it any more than that–did you see it?

    • Ah, gads, no I haven’t seen it yet! Thank you for not spoiling (though I would totally have forgiven you if you had spoiled, it’s my own fault I missed it while it was popular)

Tami Parker Other Duties as Assigned