corbae: A close-up of raven feathers; blue and grey and purple and black. (Default)
corbae ([personal profile] corbae) wrote2014-06-18 07:59 pm

Con.txt Panel: Fun With Inverted Tropes

This is the writeup for the [community profile] con_txt 2014 Fun With Inverted Tropes panel, hosted by your mods [personal profile] corbae and [personal profile] v_greyson. We had a lot of fun moderating this panel, and want to thank everyone who came out! The audience participation was stellar, and we turned many tropes (and occasionally a mod) upside down. We did not call anyone’s remarks out by name, but if you’d like credit for your clever quip, please let us know in the comments!

  1. What is a trope? The TVTropes (aw yeah) definition of tropes is “devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations.”

    • In fandom, we’re already relying on the canon being in the audience’s mind.

    • On top of that, we have a fannish vocabulary of common tropes.

  2. What is an inverted/subverted trope? Taking the pattern your audience expects and making a metaphorical u-turn. Turning the trope on its head.

    • Sometimes fandom subverts or inverts romance novel tropes or general genre tropes.

    • Sometimes we subvert or invert our own tropes!

Why Inverted Tropes?

  1. It’s fun!

  2. It can take something the reader has seen a million times and make them see it in a new way.

  3. Critiquing the existing trope or calling attention to something problematic.

    • For example, the a/b/o and d/s AU tropes sometimes take a relationship (e.g., a slashy one between dudes) that would be queer or kinky or both in our universe and normalize it in the context of that universe. Sometimes it’s cool to read an inverted trope story that re-queers the relationship.

    • Or, in a D/s universe, the “vanilla” people having to go to a secret club to have their in-universe “kinky” het missionary sex.

    • A great quote from an attendee (let us know who you are if you’d like credit!) regarding Steve/Tony: "[I only like the trope of] ‘rakish libertine reformed by virgin with a heart of gold’ if the virgin can bench press cars."

  4. The aspect of “look at me, I am so clever, and you are so clever as a reader because you understand what I’m doing here!”

    • Or as [personal profile] v_greyson likes to say, “being a smartass.”

    • One attendee used the analogy of a bilingual pun - to fully appreciate it, you have to understand both languages, the trope and the inversion.

    • It can strengthen the bond between author and reader.

How Do They Work?
  1. The panel came up with the following approaches for inverting a trope:

    • Critique the trope

    • Play it straight, going to the logical consequences for realism/horror/absurdity

    • Changing the role of the characters

    • Doing an in-universe transgression or subversion - where the characters rebel against the trope

    • Deciding "fuck you, I won't do what you tell me."

  2. Does the audience have to know what the trope is beforehand, or that it’s going to be inverted?

    • Some stories have an "ah-ha" moment in some stories - where the trope happens midway through, like John Sheppard waking up straight instead of waking up gay. In others, the inverted trope is obvious from the beginning.

    • Should we give away the trope in the summary, notes, or tags? Is it more fun if the trope is a ~surprise~?

    • We discussed tagging for both the trope and for a trope inversion, so that someone coming to the trope for comfort may not be surprised and so people interested in inverted tropes can find it more easily.

    • Resource: Some thoughts on how inverted tropes work from [personal profile] niqaeli.

We had tons of great recs for both fanworks and mainstream media! We'd like to note that many of the fics include additional warnings (e.g., dubcon, body horror, homophobia) in their tags.

Blood for Dracula
Flesh for Frankenstein
The Family Man


Tooth & Claw by Jo Walton
A Companion to Wolves series by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
Bad Prince Charlie by John Moore
The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett
Tough Guide to Fantasyland, Dark Lord of Derkholm, and Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Frog Prince was also recommended, but we weren't sure which version

A/B/O and D/s Universes

Untitled John/Teyla "vanilla" as kink (BDSM AU) (2972 words) by bironic
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: John Sheppard/Teyla Emmagan
Summary: In a BDSM world, John meets Teyla at a secret underground vanilla club. Or: What does kink look like in a culture where what we'd call kink is standard practice?

Free Consultation (12691 words) by DevilDoll
Fandom: Teen Wolf (TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Summary: Stiles Stilinski, professional knotting surrogate.

have a mind to just let my whole body go (14355 words) by verity
Fandom: Teen Wolf (TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski, Erica Reyes & Stiles Stilinski, Vernon Boyd/Erica Reyes, Past Jennifer Blake/Derek Hale
Series: Part 1 of congratulations
Summary: Derek's a pregnant omega werewolf; Stiles and Erica do steady business as the only supernaturally qualified omega midwives in five counties. Clearly, it's meant to be.

Accidentally Acquiring Parents
Stealing Harry (99937 words) by copperbadge
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Relationships: Sirius Black/Remus Lupin
Series: Part 1 of Stealing Harryverse
Summary: In an alternate universe where Sirius Black never went to Azkaban, Harry divides his life between the Dursleys' house and Mr. Black's bookshop -- until Sirius realises what the Dursleys are doing to him, and takes him away from their care.

Action Hero Breaking Things

Midnight Judges (16708 words) by lettered
Fandom: Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek, Star Trek: Alternate Original Series (Movies)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Summary: In the two weeks following the events of Star Trek Into Darkness, a Starfleet officer tries to put Starfleet back together again.

As a friend pointed out, anyone looking for a fic with plot and subtlety should probably not read this fic. It might work whether you liked the movie or not, but I wrote it in order to address multiple aspects of fail. It should probably be titled, Why I Love Starfleet.


The Work of Wings (47426 words) by thefourthvine
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin
Summary: Sidney Crosby gets hit on the head and wakes up with extra memories.

Arranged Marriage and Marriage of Convenience

Drinking the sea and then laughing loudly (42316 words) by lalejandra
Fandom: Bandom
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Brendon Urie/Ryan Ross, Brendon Urie/Spencer Smith
Summary: Brendon didn't believe his father would really make him leave. That was Brendon's mistake.

Theft of Assets, Destruction of Property (23175 words) by Helenish
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Neville Longbottom/Draco Malfoy, Hermione Granger/Harry Potter/Ron Weasley
Summary: Surely it is a mistake to allow a single youthful indiscretion to cloud an already promising career.
N.B. from your mods Giant shout out to Helenish for putting this on the A03 for us because talkoncorners is down. ♥


Good Morning, Penthesilea (7696 words) by Stultiloquentia
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Daniel Jackson/Jack O'Neill
Summary: The gizmo had zero effect on any cultural signifiers of femininity, naturally.

Modern Love (2906 words) by Penknife
Fandom: Discworld
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Original Character/Original Character
Summary: It's amazing how the world rarely gets less complicated.

Mirror Universe

The Show Must Go On (6837 words) by joandarck
Fandom: Galaxy Quest (1999)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Summary: When Mathesar returns to beg the intrepid cast of Galaxy Quest for help against an ancient enemy, will a twist of fate, time, and space mean another chance at love for Alexander Dane? UP NEXT.


Choice (3815 words) by esteefee
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Rodney McKay/John Sheppard
Summary: This is not your Pegasus miracle.

Tiny Houses (77138 words) by ohmyjetsabel
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Graphic Depictions of Violence, Rape/Non-con
Relationships: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Summary: "So this is what Stiles does. He lies in Scott’s bed and waits for Melissa to say she’s found someone to get it out of him, to cure him of the wrongness and the bad, and he dreams.

God, he dreams.

He dreams of fire and swollen bellies and that scene in Alien, of giving birth to jackals through his urethra, the whole horrific nine yards. His head is a terrible place to be, he can’t imagine his stomach is much better, why anyone would want to put a thing inside of it."

Sex Pollen

To Those Who Wait (7404 words) by KouriArashi
Fandom: Teen Wolf (TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Series: Part 1 of All the Rewards
Summary: Derek and Stiles stuck in a room together while Derek is under the influence of a magical spell that makes him really, really horny. Basically I just felt like writing smut today.


Fastening One Heart to Every Falling Thing (51519 words) by thefourthvine
Fandom: Hockey RPF
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin, Evgeni Malkin/Alexander Ovechkin
Summary: Geno can't. Sidney won't.

#soulbond (2490 words) by pollyrepeat
Fandom: The Avengers (2012)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Clint Barton/Phil Coulson, James "Bucky" Barnes/Steve Rogers, Temporary Steve Rogers/Phil Coulson
Summary: “Coulson?” Clint said, dropping to one knee beside them. Someone on the other side of the room shouted, “DON’T TOUCH THEM; THEY MIGHT BE CONTAMINATED.”


Flights of Angels (4533 words) by Daegaer
Fandom: Good Omens - Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Summary: Rather than wing-fic, this is fic where characters who canonically have wings suddenly don't.

Woke Up Gay

Straight as a Circle (20364 words) by toomuchplor
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Rodney McKay/John Sheppard, Kate Heightmeyer/John Sheppard, John Sheppard/Original Female Character
Series: Part 1 of Circle!Verse
Summary: John Sheppard wakes up straight.

Perfect (8271 words) by Sinope
Fandom: The Avengers (2012)
Rating: Mature
Warnings: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Clint Barton/Phil Coulson, Clint Barton/Darcy Lewis (background/secondary)
Summary: "But you were at least interested in men, right?"

In which Loki left Clint with an extra gift, and everything is perfect, right up until it isn't.


Responsible Science (Series, 217k words) by lettered
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Summary of first story: Uninterested in being an Avenger, Bruce goes back into hiding. Once more Natasha is sent to recruit him, but she has an agenda of her own. They navigate being human. At least one of them sometimes fails.

Inverted Tropes We Want to See (More Of)

  • Psychic soulbonded wolves

  • Wake up divorced, fake divorced, forced to get divorced

  • Happy prostitute and/or sex work positive (e.g., the partner who is a sex worker doesn't stop once they find true love)

  • BDSM AU with less and/or no sex

  • BDSM AU with an asexual and/or adynamic character

  • The yenta being wrong! so wrong! about a relationship

  • A hockey (or other sports) player saying "what the hell is wrong with you? That's personal" in response to questions regarding their sexuality or relationships

  • Sudden, unexpected babies being difficult

  • Wish no-baby, couples happy being childless, one partner doesn't want a kid and they therefore end up with no kids

  • A character in the story tries to induce a trope

  • The mirror universe character is more well-adjusted than the version in the canon universe

  • A character hates being transported to a universe where they're in a relationship and/or have a family

  • A woman who lives in the big city but was raised in a small town goes home, meets her ex, and hates them

  • A world without the significant other is basically OK

  • Derek Hale Has a Good Day/Will Graham Has a Nice Day

  • Dodging your soulmate or soulmate indicator

  • Fuck your love triangle, we have OT3!

  • Women who are evil for fun, not because of a past trauma

  • The Manic Pixie Dream Girl ruins your life/Manic Pixie Nightmare Girl

  • Your soulmate is unbangable and/or you have a platonic soulbonds

  • Your soulmate has horrible handwriting or speaks a different language than you or their mark is otherwise illegible

  • Your soulmate's name has changed or they're dead or everyone has the same name (e.g., John)

  • A character accidentally acquires parents

More Inverted Tropes Recs (Not By Us)
[community profile] fancake took submissions a little while back for a thematic rec set based around inverted or subverted tropes, so if you’re hungry for more, here is a link to their Pinboard tag for that recs set! Happy inverting!

Do you have more recs or tropes you want to see inverted? Let us know in the comments!

lannamichaels: Astronaut Dale Gardner holds up For Sale sign after EVA. (Default)

[personal profile] lannamichaels 2014-06-20 01:14 am (UTC)(link)
This is a really awesome write-up! Mind if I just link directly to this from my con.txt post?