In books and movies and television, have you ever noticed something that keeps showing up in the story? Perhaps it's a word or phrase that gets repeated over and over in a book, or an image or some other visual indicator that you keep seeing in a television show or movie. Either way, you've probably picked up on this intentional clue from the storyteller about the message they are trying to send you. You've discovered a motif.
You have likely heard the term trope used today in reference to common themes in popular media, especially movies and television, especially ones that are overused in each genre. In fact, there's a very popular website that's been around for a long time dedicated to finding and calling out these things, called TV Tropes, which I encourage everyone to get lost exploring whenever you can. Today's use of the word has taken on a negative connotation, but the true definition of the word trope doesn't have to always mean "lazy, over-used piece of writing."
Have you heard the term "Chekhov's gun" before, when talking about a scene from a story? Maybe it was in the context of a negative review of a movie or show you just watched, or maybe someone critiquing your work suggested there's a case of "Chekhov's gun" that you should address. So what is it, exactly, and how can you spot it from now on?
The following letter is part of an ongoing conversation between two clerics, Professor Recamundus de Gelgadongo and Professor Cesario de Torium. The correspondence, which began as a rebuke of the work of a poem by Prof. Cesario for being too dangerous for laymen consumption, has shifted to direct attacks on each other's bodies of work.