Just Another Struggling Writer

The lamentations of yet another person struggling to write a novel.

Trope-Day: Evil Sounds Raspy

Hello friends and welcome to the blog’s newest series, a fun one in which we explore some popular or famous, or even unpopular or infamous, tropes one might find in the fantasy genre. 

Everyone knows the classic tropes: the chosen one, the dark lord, the hero’s journey, and so on. So, for this blog series I’ll be focusing on some of the smaller tropes, the ones we all still use but may not know by name. 

But, first thing’s first. What is a trope?

A trope is technically defined as “a common or overused theme or device,” similar to a cliche. However, I have a more generous view of tropes. 

To me, tropes are the building blocks of all storytelling. We’ve all heard the suggestion that no idea is truly original. Every plot twist you’ve ever written, every setting, every character arc… it’s all been done before. And that’s essentially what a trope is: some sort of storytelling or character building convention. Sure, you can play with the conventions and make those things unique to your story, but they are still tropes.

Personally, I love tropes. One of my favorite pastimes is trolling tvtropes.org for my favorite media and reading the trope lists. Which is actually how I got the idea for this blog series. Well, that and the tier ranking trope videos on Youtube which always seem to focus on the most well-known ones. So, I’m going for something different: shedding light on some of the goofier, hyper-specific, or forgotten tropes we all know and love. 

Also, I won’t be talking about tropes in any specific order. Actually, I’m just going to tvtropes.org and hitting random until I find one that might be interesting to talk about. This isn’t targeted in any way at any specific piece of media or creator. Please remember this is all in fun. 

First up?

Evil Sounds Raspy

Emperor Palpatine, Return of the Jedi (1983)

Giving a character a raspy voice is one of the most tried and true ways writers use to indicate right off the bat that character’s innate villainy. Because, after all, who doesn’t love a baddie with a creepy voice?

Some of the most well-known examples of this trope are Mark Hamill’s Joker from the Batman animated series, Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars, and He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named from that boy wizard book series that shall not be named. 

Evil Sounds Raspy often applies to elderly villains, like Palpatine, or those who have been through a trauma like a fire. Sometimes, creators subvert this trope by introducing a character with a raspy voice only to have them clear their throat a moment later so they can speak normally.

Which is not to say, of course, that only evil characters can boast a gravelly voice, but it does seem to be a more common characteristic of those with less than good intentions. 

I myself have used this trope at least once, in the horror-leaning story path of my hot mess 300k+ word project The Nexus. The POV character starts hearing a voice at the back of her mind, luring her into a forbidden area of her betrothed’s castle. It is low and raspy, perfect for unsettling her at a time when she is already feeling isolated. 

What about you guys, my fellow creatives? How do you feel about this trope? Let me know in the comments!

By the way, if you’re wondering where today’s Drabble Rock prompt / post is, don’t worry it’s coming! I’m still figuring out how to schedule all these new blogs I’m doing, so posting is going to be a bit wonky until I get into a rhythm. 

Until next time!

Kerry Share

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2 responses to “Trope-Day: Evil Sounds Raspy”

  1. […] Trope-Day everyone! I had a lot of fun with last week’s featured trope, Evil Sounds Raspy. It was a good reminder that tropes aren’t these horrible things to avoid in your writing, they […]


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About Me

Kerry Share’s love for writing started, as it so often does, as a love of reading at an early age. At age 11 she wrote her first short story, a Harry Potter knockoff of dubious quality, and her love for creative expression was born. Throughout her teen years she continued to foster that passion through derivative work, and at 23 she turned her eye to original fiction.

Now in her thirties, having taken a break from creative endeavors to cope with an ever changing life and landscape, she is determined to make her dream of a writing career reality.

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