June 28, 2002
Suddenly, the sun went nova Regular readers of Teresa’s weblog will have read her recent post on the use of “Evil Overlord lists” as tools with which to devise story plots. You know “Evil Overlord lists”—those widely-circulated, often multiply-authored Internet documents such as “Ten Things I Will Not Do If I Am the Evil Overlord,” “Ten Things I Will Remember To Do If I Am the Plucky Sidekick,” and so forth. Teresa’s point, elaborated on in a lecture about “Stupid Plot Tricks” delivered at the Viable Paradise writing workshop, is that although these lists are tongue-in-cheek compendiums of cliche, they also tell us a lot about storytelling. Some things are cliches because they work.