Television Tropes

Television Tropes
Terry Odell

Writing for Television

Image by Bokskapet from Pixabay

Since I’m still away, I thought I’d offer some smiles. I first posted this almost 2 years ago, but I think it’s still relevant.

Are you a fan of television mystery shows? Ever thought of writing one? Or any kind of television show? If so, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises wearing their most revealing underwear.
  2. If being chased through town, you can usually take cover in a passing St. Patrick’s Day parade – at any time of year.
  3. It’s easy for anyone to land a plane, providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down
  4. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off, even while SCUBA diving.
  5. The ventilation system of any building is a perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building without difficulty.
  6. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to speak the language. A German accent will do.
  7. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds
  8. When paying for a taxi, never look at your wallet as you take out a bill—just grab one at random. It will always be the correct fare.
  9. During all police investigations, it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.
  10. Cars and trucks that crash will almost always burst into flames.
  11. A single match will be sufficient to light up a room the size of a football stadium.
  12. Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.
  13. All single women have a cat.
  14. One man shooting at 20 men has a better chance of killing them all than 20 men firing at one.
  15. It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts. Your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one, by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessor.
  16. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your room will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish
  17. Dogs always know who’s bad and will naturally bark at them.
  18. Rather than wasting bullets, megalomaniacs prefer to kill their archenemies using complicated machinery involving fuses, pulley systems, deadly gases, lasers, and man eating sharks that will allow their captives at least 20 minutes to escape.
  19. A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.
  20. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.

Okay, tongue was inserted firmly in cheek. But sometimes, you just want to sit back and have some fun.

Any favorites among these? Any to add?

Next time, I hope to have tales from the far north to share.

And a little BSP. I’m going to be teaching some writing craft classes via Zoom, hosted by my editor.
12 Steps to Intimacy on June 17th

Creating Armchair Adventures on July 15th

Into the Heads of Your Characters, on July 29th.

The links will provide more details.

Please spread the word. Friends, writing groups, libraries … wherever you think there might be people interested in learning more about the craft.

Cover image of Deadly Relations by Terry OdellAvailable Now
Deadly Relations.
Nothing Ever Happens in Mapleton … Until it Does
Gordon Hepler, Mapleton, Colorado’s Police Chief, is called away from a quiet Sunday with his wife to an emergency situation at the home he’s planning to sell. A man has chained himself to the front porch, threatening to set off an explosive.

Terry Odell is an award-winning author of Mystery and Romantic Suspense, although she prefers to think of them all as “Mysteries with Relationships.”

13 thoughts on “Television Tropes

  1. Nice list, Terry O! I have a few:
    Any SciFi story after 1973: At the end of the show, the villain’s face will fall off, revealing electronics behind it, like a Radio Shack wastebasket.
    Cop shows: If the MC has a wife/g.f./daughter, she will get kidnapped by the serial killer before the show is over.
    Murder mysteries: The rich Caucasian dude did it.
    Terrorist plots: All time bombs will have a count-down LED display.
    For Westerns, every lynching scene must have the very same actor yell: “Wha wait fer the Law? Le’s♪ s♪tring ‘im up naow!” [♪ = denture whistle]

  2. This ties in to number 18…

    While the “death contraption” is being revealed, said megalomaniac is explaining why he did whatever megalomaniacal thing got the hero involved in the first place, lecturing the hero that he should’ve minded their own business…

    For that matter, the villain will feel the need to explain himself in great detail even if he is simply holding a gun on the hero… who flinches at the sound of the gunshot – which turns out to have been fired by the sidekick…

    Which reminds me that all gunshots sound the same… as do ricochets…

    And ammunition is self-replicating…

    Similar to A/C ductwork, mechanical rooms and utility tunnels in buildings are always dark and have enough room in them to run without fear of tripping or smacking one’s head on pipes, that always carry live steam…

    Flying cars that don’t explode can always be climbed out of and walked away from with only minor facial scratches… and maybe a limp that doesn’t last…

    And no matter the wound, when asked, the hero always answers, “I’m okay…”

  3. These are hilarious, Terry. I’m partial to #17. Dogs always know who the bad person is. As soon as Fido does that low growling thing at the handsome stranger, the game’s up.

    Looking forward to our arctic traveler’s return with northern stories to tell.

  4. Thanks for the chuckles, Terry.

    A corollary for #14 – Revolvers always have at least 24 shots.

    Hope you’re having a wonderful trip!

  5. Fun discussion, Terry.

    After suffering a life-threatening injury, undergoing emergency surgery, and recuperating in the Intensive Care Unity, the MC will be miraculously cured and back on the chase in one day.

  6. Love this post, Terry. And all of the comments. Looks like we all watch the same shows.

    One of my faves?

    A 12-member SWAT team making its way down the alley and into a side door, with guns pointed ahead . . . at the teammate in front of them. Oy!

  7. I remember this one from the first time around! Always fun.

    How female detectives dress: The tight, short, revealing dress that barely keeps the show from an MA18 rating can hide a large frame Glock.

    #18 inspired a game. “Before I Kill You Mr. Spy”. It had another name until the author discovered that fictional English spies have very real attorneys.

  8. Computer viruses are not only easy to find and defeat, but when they are found, they will reveal beautiful custom graphics describing what they do and who made them.

    The faster something is, the more exaggerated the slow-motion of it will be.

    The better a beat-cop is, the more upset the police commissioner will be at him for trivial reasons.

    Bad-guys being chased on foot, when squarely hit by a car, have a greater than 70% chance of jumping back up and continuing to run. And even if they are stopped by the impact, they are never killed or injured in a way that will prevent them from being questioned shortly thereafter.

    Important witnesses, upon being bumped-into by anything more substantial than a toddler on a tricycle will immediately fall into a coma, forcing the protagonist to pursue other angles of the investigation until the witness awakes just before the final confrontation with an eidetic recollection of the missing piece of the puzzle.

  9. I saw a funny YouTube last night of a guy explaining all TV mysteries by saying, “I am a detective who–uses math to solve cases, sees ghosts to solve cases, uses ridiculous forensic methods to solve cases, lives in Hawaii to solve cases, etc.” Brutal but true. Everyone has a trope.

  10. Haha. What a fun list, Terry! In alliance with #14: Guns never run out of bullets. Ever. Also, if you’re the one with the gun and the opponent only has a knife, be sure to toss it aside to even the playing field.

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