How have i not posted this yet?! I’ve been meaning to do this post for like, a year.
Before i continue, let me just start by saying whoever did this is or contributed to this: I LOVE YOU. Crazy, stalk you, try to breathe in exact rhythm with you while you sleep and pet you like a Bond villain pets his cat kind of love.
One of my favorite sites on the net, and i do mean all time favorite sites, i can spend HOURS on here and often do, is TV Tropes. TV Tropes is a site dedicated to defining and exploring the use of every type of plot device, motif or cliche used in any kind of narrative. If it’s a device, if it’s a trope, TV Tropes will define it, explain it and show you a plethora of examples in books, movies, TV, comics, art, etc.
For instance, let’s take a classic trope: Checkov’s Gun
Chekhov, master of the short story, gave this advice: if it’s not essential, don’t include it in the story.
The term has come to mean “an insignificant object that later turns out to be important.” For example, a character may find a mysterious necklace that turns out to be the power source to the Doomsday Device, but at the time of finding the object it does not seem important. The necklace was essential to the story, but its introduction downplayed its importance. Chekhov’s advice was not necessarily to conceal importance, but to just not spend time on things that are not important.
Now, many great shows and movies are on TV Tropes which then break down the tropes they use.
Some Awesome Soul, maybe a bunch of them, i don’t know, has put DONA, A Steampunk Opera on it. AND TNARH, A Dieselpunk Opera on TV Tropes! You cannot imagine the squeal that left my mouth then day i stumbled across this.
Here is the Steampnk Opera’s entry, although you REALLY should follow the link to the actual site so you can click the links and follow the trope trails (that’s the best part). Much of the text does not show up here becuase you need to highlight it in order to see it. This is done to not reveal plot poinit to the uninitiated who wish to avoid spoilers.
The Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera
A Steampunk Opera is a 4-Act play composed and written by Paul Shapera. So far, there has only been a workshop performance, but the audio version of the entire play can be found here.
- All-Knowing Singing Narrator
- All Love Is Unrequited: The only character with a requited love interest marries her ex-fiancee when he threatens to keep her from her father, whom he just brought back from the dead.
- Also, even though all of the Mc Alisters are strangely in love with Jasper, Priscilla is the only person he truly loves back. It doesn’t end well
- Back from the Dead: Jasper. After Annabelle brings him back and then kills him because he asked her to, Edgar brings him back AGAIN.
- All of the dolls in New Albion are this really.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Jasper, after four generations of begging for death, he finally get’s his wish- at the cost of Priscilla’ life
- Chekhov’s Gun: Annabelle’s notes.
- City of Weirdos: Annabelle struts around New Albion with a life-sized mechanical doll and no one seems to care, probably because there is a lot of weirder stuff going on.
Narrator: “New Albion today / With bustling streets, machines, cafes / And the nice, the wise, the eccentric and insane”
- Death Seeker: Jasper is one thought all four acts Eventually he gets his wish, but at the cost of Priscilla’s life
- Dystopia: After Act III, New Albion becomes this.
- Generational Saga: Each acts follows a new generation in the Mc Alistair family.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Edgar, big time. Destroyed the home and livelihood of the man his girlfriend left him for in order to make her desprate enough to give into his blackmail
Edgar: There’s a man they call Sillof, and he once stole my girl. I want him destroyed, all he has in this world. His business, his home, and his carriage all crushed. I want him left penniless, face down in the dust!
- Heroic Sacrifice: Priscilla sacrifices her life so Jasper can die (again.)
- Jasper stays alive, despite wishing to return to the afterlife because if he is caught, his entire family will be killed.
- Incompatible Orientation: Amelia to Byron. Have I mentioned All Love Is Unrequited?
- Intellectual Animal: The cat burglars’ “pet albatross Simon and a brilliant mouse named Sam.”
- Ironic Echo: There’s like ten of these. Some of the more obvious examples:
- When Priscilla dies, the Narrator reverses her lines from Annabella has a Doll.
- Also, Priscilla reverses Annabella’s lines back in Annabella Raises the Dead.
- Jasper also mimics the “Be my angel” lines from Annabella, which may be more or less ironic since he actually knew her and heard those lines.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: The exact process Annabelle uses to bring Jasper back to life is never said, but the line “With voltage I invoke!” seems to imply this.
- Mad Scientist: Annabelle.
- Only Child Syndrome: All four generations of Mc Alistairs appear to be only children.
- Revenge: Big time. Edgar makes this his life’s mission after Fay leaves him. Once he succeeds, Fay vows revenge unto him.
Edgar: “One day, you will learn, and you will burn like my heart burns!”
- Soldier 7285 eventually vows this Upon the government of New Albion after Priscilla’s death
- Steampunk: The Dolls of New Albion:A ”Steampunk” Opera
- Word of God: Paul Shapera has a blog where he sometimes gives extra background information about the world and the characters.
- You Are Number Six: Soldier 7285.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! OMG THAT IS SO FRICKIN AWESOME!
“But Paul, aren’t you weirded out that they just reduced your whole story to cliches?”
HELL NO. Look folks, stories are stories. They use plot deviced. ALL stories do this. You can subvert them, you can milk them, but you can’t avoid them. It’s okay. Sometimes the very act of properly using a trope IS what makes it enjoyable. Sometimes you go to a restaurant to get a VERY particular meal. You WANT the specific familiarity. Now with stories, there should be surprises and originality, but at the end of the day, you’re not going avoid plot devices. I am very proud of the list of plot devices pointed out. It’s a quality list. Just make sure you choose a quality list of tropes and you’ll be okay.
PLUS, you SHOULD be more aware of what are overused tropes. Dumb stories are annoying. Better stories are better. Ever watch a TV show from like, 40 years ago an think “JEEZUZ CHRISTANGELS THIS IS SOOOOO STUPID . HOW COULD PEOPLE WATCH THIS TRIPE?” and then you feel very grateful that show today are WAY the hell better? (Because for the record they are. TV is in a golden age. I’m not saying there isn’t a HUGE hunk of terrible television, but there’s SO much good stuff and the good stuff is of a caliber NEVER EVER seen on TV before. Like is said, watch some thing from the 80s or 70s. It’s SO FREAKIN BAD) This is because all the people making the great tv shows you’re seeing today were raised on that crappy stuff, recognized all the tropes and work hard to either subvert them, avoid them or better them. THANK YOU TV TROPES! YOU DO THE WORK OF THE ANGELS>
I gotta do the Diselpunk Opera too! Once again, you REALLY should go to to the actual TV Tropes page. Most of the text does not show up here must be highlighted in order to see.
The Dieselpunk Opera occurs ten years after the events in Dolls of New Albion, and the featured family this time around is the O’Brians. The story is told by an all-knowingNarrator, who describes a New Albion torn apart by war.
This musical provides examples of:
- All-Knowing Singing Narrator: Of the Radio Broadcaster variety.
- Descent Into Darkness Song: The Pitch starts out with a very catchy and upbeat tune. Then, about two-thirds of the way through, the music cuts out into a brief interlude that calls the dark nature of the super soldier program into the forefront before going back to the happy upbeat music.
- Fanfare: The Pitch from Act I.
- Heroic Sacrifice: John and Jackie do this to protect Constance at the Battle of Cryer’s Boulevard.
- “I Am” Song: The Green Room Pale. Doubles as a Grief Song.
- MacGuffin: the MCG serves no other purpose.
- The Mole: Thomas, Constance’s boyfriend, is an undercover cop.
- Parental Abandonment: John left Constance with his sister Jackie to join the war effort after his wife is killed in a bombing.
- Phlebotinium Rebel: John becomes this by the end.
- Rebel Leader: Jackie turns out to be one.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized
- Super Soldier: Freedom Corps will make you a new man! By replacing various bits and limbs with iron parts. John is apparently the only one who survived the process.
- Truth Serums: Putting it in the water supply under Parliament is what kicked off the revolution.
WHOEVER DID THIS, SERIOUSLY, YOU ARE FRIGGIN AWESOME. You guys have no idea what a thrill, hell, an HONOR it is. *sniff* *sniff*