A friend of the site recently introduced us to TVTropes.org, a community forum that has compiled a gigantic list of basically every trope you could possibly think of. Despite the name, the database is not limited to television tropes.
A trope is a common or overused theme or device. Another word for it might be a cliche. We all know the big tropes, like the rom-com trope of two people having an unfortunate misunderstanding that keeps them apart until the end. But the folks over at TV Tropes have dissected tropes down much more specifically.
Obviously, in your writing you want to look for ways to be new and fresh, so you might not think that a database of tropes would be that useful. But it can be in two ways:
1. It might make you realize that what you’re doing actually is a trope, though you thought it wasn’t.
2. It might help you find tropes that actually work well and could be appropriate for your script.
Navigate to the “Genre” menu on the left to pick out your preferred story type, or click on “Media,” then “Film” to find movie specific tropes. Or search for your favorite film using the search bar at the top. Here, for example, is the list of tropes found in Big Eyes.