This wiki is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction.
Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means "stereotyped and trite." In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them.
The wiki is called "TV Tropes" because TV is where we started. Over the course of a few years, our scope has crept out to include other media. Tropes transcend television. They reflect life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, does its best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
Trope is from the Greek tropos 'turn'. Besides troposphere, it occurs in words like heliotrope and zoetrope. In Latin, versus 'furrow; line, row (of poetry)' is the origin of our verse. There is the universe.