Staying informed of what’s trending is exceptionally important in the writing world. What tropes are popular? What kinds of storylines are the ones agents are looking for? Actively staying informed takes work. Sometimes too much work. And sometimes that work is painful (I still can’t believe I managed to get through 50 Shades of Gray…).
Luckily for all of us, a fine fellow named James Harris put together a Periodic Table of Storytelling, which draws its popularity information from Wikipedia searches and details which tropes and characters are currently the most searched.
Now, I’m not one to bend to industry demands (I keep telling them I am NOT going to be writing that Dinosaur Erotica everyone seems to be raging about). But it’s still good to have an idea of what’s selling in the back of your mind as you create your masterpiece.
The other thing that I really enjoy about this Periodic Table is just the vast amount of tropes presented. If you find yourself at some kind of a block and need a bit of creative inspiration for one of your characters, this is a great little tool for finding just the right mix of personality and quirk to give your characters the edge they need. Want to grind against the tropes you see in lots of popular fiction these days? Try combining them to create an entirely different (and probably interestingly weird) kind of character or situation!