The Brilliance of Worm|A Complete Web Serial


Image sourced from Google.

In the world of fiction, no matter the medium, there are tropes – motifs, cliches, that transcend individual works. In fact, there is a website devoted to the study and categorization of these tropes and their examples. One such example, relevant to this blog post, is the idea of the Invincible Hero. This is a trope that explains itself – the hero, or main character, is more or less invincible due to plot devices or chance and circumstance. Odds are they survive the story, and probably have a happy ending too.

Isn’t that boring?

Two of the core concepts of a college education – like one from USG – are critical thinking and creativity.  Sure, it takes creativity and critical thinking to make an interesting story or movie – but if you can recognize tropes, you’ll find that everything sort of looks the same these days.

How about this – Iron Fist, and Arrow. Two shows on Netflix. Both main characters end up away from home for a period of time and then return later to stake claims and become vigilante heroes. Now, where have we heard this before…oh, yeah – Batman, training with Ra’s al Ghul with the League of Shadows for a few years before returning to Gotham.

Tropes are patterns which humans seem to naturally constrain themselves with in the creation of fiction – and it is through breaking and subverting tropes that a deeper exploration of critical thinking and creativity can take place. To take things even further, you can subvert a subversion – but lets not get crazy.

This brings me to Worm|A Complete Web Serial – a free (and very lengthy) word web serial created with the intent to subvert conventional tropes in fiction. Here’s the summary, written by the author – “An introverted teenage girl with an unconventional superpower, Taylor goes out in costume to find escape from a deeply unhappy and frustrated civilian life. Her first attempt at taking down a supervillain sees her mistaken for one, thrusting her into the midst of the local ‘cape’ scene’s politics, unwritten rules, and ambiguous morals. As she risks life and limb, Taylor faces the dilemma of having to do the wrong things for the right reasons.”

Worm is a story with no plot armor – the author rolled dice numerous times to decide who lives and dies during major events, including the main character. The given powers of individual “capes” tend to have limitations that force the users to be somewhat creative, and many of the powers are abstract and original. People actually struggle. There are interludes focused on side characters, providing extra insight that would otherwise be unavailable. There is a paradox of bountiful information about characters and the world they live in, yet plenty of room for speculation – which leads to the absolutely massive collection of Worm fan works on the web.

It is difficult to espouse the virtues of this web serial, or to get more specific about what tropes are subverted and how, without spoiling it. I ask that you read the first chapter, and decide for yourself whether or not you’ll be pulled into it. Fair warning – this is not a children’s book. If you do decide to delve into Worm, try to learn something from it – whether it’s a new approach to creative writing, a new sense of empathy, or just a good sense for foreshadowing. Believe me – there’s foreshadowing for foreshadowing.

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