Lampshades Do Not Repair a Broken Bulb

Post title refers to the trope, ‘Better Than a Bare Bulb’. I disagree with the concept, at least insofar as I have thus seen works seem to cite it as some kind of argument.

For example, when there is a major plot hole or stupid cliché, and a character points it out. Never mind the tone in which this is done. Be it giggly, cynical, or apathetic. The tone changes nothing.

As it has been put before, pointing out that your plot is stupid does not fix your stupid plot. It also isn’t clever. It makes you look twice the moron.

In Hera, Queen of Gods–on the second page of chapter one–we get a prime example of this ludicrousness.

“We needed a better lie. That sounded weak, even to me.”

A character saying this, referring to the premise, is a kiss of death. It’s the author admitting s/he couldn’t think of something better, instead of fixing it. That is just as bad as misspelling a word and then stating in the narrative that you think you spelled it wrong.

The thing that really tweaks me about this stuff is that this lampshade-hanging is meant to be seen as witty. When I used to beta read, I had a lot of writers (read: all of them) who refused to change much of what they had written. They defended errors as intentional, inventive.

According to any of them, they never used clichés. Oh no, they were subverting expectations! …by playing the overused trope straight as a ruler.

There’s not some bright-eyed, smiling suggestion to fix this. Just a flat expression informing the world that this ought not to fly.

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