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"Each player takes a different volume of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and at the word "go" all open their books at random and start leafing through, scanning the pages. The winner is the first player to find the word 'clench'."

Authors have styles. It's common and acceptable that, when people write often, they start to develop a distinct way of writing, or an arbitrary favouritism for one of their characters, places, or even a specific name.

Some authors, though, have internalized a single style to such extent that it's noticeable in anything they happen to write, co-write, or in extreme cases, even inspire. There are extreme cases in which, without knowing who wrote the work you're watching/reading, you can say "Hey, it has to be <insert author name here>!", because his/her style is too distinct and famous not to recognize.

Visual artists, and movie directors, have similar styles in not only their stories but the Spectacle.

Related to Author Appeal, Author Catchphrase. See also Creator Thumbprint. Compare Hey, It's That Guy!.

Examples of Signature Style include:

Anime and Manga


  • M. C. Escher took a great deal of inspiration from the geometric designs in the Alhambra, a Moorish palace he saw on a trip to Spain. However, his works can readily be told apart by the one thing he found fault with in those designs — whereas they were all abstract, in accordance with Islamic prohibitions against realistic art, Escher's art always has something that's alive.

Comic Books

  • Chris Claremont could be said to have such characteristics, most notably his famously distinct yet uniform dialogue in which characters, regardless of education or current situation, inevitably speak in complex sentences, seldom finishing in less than a paragraph, using verbiage reminiscent of an educated Englishman, with influences of culture and personality appearing only as interruptions in or minor affectations to otherwise wicked smooth speech. This, however, inevitably strives to capture the essence of the character, despite the abandonment of a unique speech pattern in favor of a common one, by exposing opinions, motivations, and past details that might otherwise have been difficult to illustrate.
    • As well, certain phrases known as "Claremontisms" show up repeatedly in his work, and his foreign characters speak perfect English except for random interjections in their native language, tovarisch! A helpful list of typical Claremontisms here. Also, as noted below, Claremont characters tend to be well-versed in myth, and a larger than strictly plausible number of them are SF lit geeks.
    • Claremont is also well-known for creating strong, powerful heroines. Who happen to be ludicrously attractive. With not infrequent suggestions of attraction to one another.
  • Frank Miller is famous for his hard-boiled narration, including a play-by-play on every punch, broken rib (it was always a broken rib) and the even nastier things the hero would do to the villain. This was parodied to death during the first black-and-white comic boom, until the market crashed and burned, and started up again with the success of the Sin City film.
    • Also whores.
    • No, really. Whores.
    • And the repetition. Dear god, was was there no mention of the goddamned repetition?
    • And whores.
    • As an artist Miller is most famous for abstract figure work and scenery focusing more on expression, aesthetics and readability than anything resembling reality, done in high contrast black and white with sparing use of contour lines. Miller's black and white style is so strong that anyone in comics who uses the same high contrast approach will be inevitably compared to him.
    • Did we mention whores yet?
  • That would be Adam Warren Titans: Scissors, Paper, Stone. Who loves his even more over-the-top pseudo-Miller bits. His recurring favorite. "DON'T.. GO.. INTO.. SHOCK.."
  • With James Robinson, it's not so much writing style as it is a tendency to emphasize words completely at random such that most of his characters must sound like the bastard child of Mr. DeMartino from Daria and Torgo.
    • Robinson also has a propensity for long narrations, either internal, or regular.
  • Comics written by Grant Morrison tend to have endings that go way too fast so that everything can get tied up. The World War III arc of JLA — his last on the book — features all of humanity developing superpowers. We get to see it for three pages. However, works featuring his own characters rather than pre-created ones tend to have better endings.
    • Morrison also has a propensity to get rather... "out there" with his plot concepts, with speculative fantasy, genre mash-ups, meta-textual elements, alternate character interpretations, and general synesthesia being common. This all results in questions of his ideas origins.
      • With The Invisibles, Morrison has openly admitted he used his drug experiences as an inspiration for parts of it, going as far as including transcriptions of a tape of him and his friends tripping on LSD in a scene in the comic where King Mob and his friends do the same.
    • Many of Morrison's comics also feature a character who looks not unlike Grant Morrison. This is most explicit in Animal Man, where Morrison actually appears as himself, the writer of Animal Man.
  • Warren Ellis' comics often feature corrupt government officials, shamanism, cutting-edge technology (and humans enhanced by the same), and a protagonist who is at least two of the following: ill-tempered, British, a chain smoker, dressed mostly in white, or addicted to drugs or alcohol.
    • Don't forget "foul-mouthed and wearing a trenchcoat". "Atheist" is a pretty good possibility too.
  • Any character created, or heavily influenced by Steve Ditko, will be hated by the general populace. Because the masses are stupid, and the hero is morally (and, consequently, physically and mentally) superior to them. Furthermore, when he doesn't have a collaborator to hold him back, Ditko often has his characters say so in great detail.
  • Alan Moore will usually have older characters, who are retired or who have such a large body of work they might as well be retired. This is so they can discuss the good old days of their youth (and Moore's childhood) with nostalgic detail.
    • Bonus points if they have sex for no apparent reason. Particularly dark and gritty sex with a character much, much younger and hotter.
    • And Match Cuts. Don't forget the Match Cuts.
    • Also, his major works tend to feature enlightenment through drug use - Ozymandias does it in Watchmen (he briefly mentions ingesting a ball of hashish in the desert), Eric Finch takes LSD in V for Vendetta (which gives him the insight he needs to get what V is doing), and From Hell ends with a massive opium trip, while The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has featured Allan's use of taduki leaves (from the original HR Haggard novels) in the bonus story of Volume 1 and Mina having an awful synthetic taduki trip/ psychic showdown with the Big Bad in Century: 1969.
    • On the subject of dialogue, his characters tend to interrupt themselves mid-sentence. At first it might seem unusual, but then you realize that that's how people talk in real life. There's just not many other writers who use that particular realistic element.
  • Jack Chick will usually have anyone who doesn't agree with him portrayed as working for Satan, or literally being Satan. He is also known for working in his message with all the subtlety of a sumo. Strangely, despite most of his comics taking place in 21st century America (or other first world country), people who are non-Christians are usually non-Christians out of ignorance or malice. In other words, most of of the non-Christians in his stories honestly never heard of Jesus or read any scripture, and are very easily swayed by the evangelists words, despite no arguments or evidence whatsoever.
    • The sad thing is, Jack Chick thinks this crap is realistic.
    • He also really likes to emphasize words in his characters' dialogue using a bold font.
    • HAW HAW HAW!!!
  • Simon Furman, who has, of all the dirty jobs, the position of writing approximately 85% or so of all Transformers comics since the mid-80s, has a number of "Furmanisms" that will inevitably crop up, hanging above the reader like some vast, predatory bird. You won't believe the things he can do with them: this constant shoehorning of odd phrases into the texts never ends, so what chance do we have of avoiding them? One would think he needs a short, sharp lesson in better writing, but the fans seem to enjoy his odd quirks, and he has reaped the whirlwind of popularity he's gained. He writes virtually everything with these "Furmanisms" and more; can we do any less? (A full list can be found at the Transformers Wiki.)
  • Stan Lee writes everyone as a Large Ham. Although he is this way in Real Life too (or at least in interviews) and in his cameos so that makes sense.
  • Fabian Nicieza tends to write long, intricately structured monologues enlivened with lots of dashes — and he also loves bisexuals, genderbending, and Ho Yay.
  • Jhonen Vasquez's works tend to lie far in the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, set in Crapsack Worlds where most of the populace are either Jerkasses or Too Dumb to Live. There's also a lot of references to tacos, piggies, bees, doom and other Inherently Funny Words, and he likes adding sci-fi elements like space ships or mech-suits even when the story probably doesn't really need them. Expect Nightmare Fuel, too. Lots and lots of Nightmare Fuel.
  • Mike Mignola's art style is immediately recognizable: the use of circluar and angular shapes (especially the way he draws people), and the way things are defined by large shadowed area more than anything else. His writing style/plotting tends to focus on both Lovecraftian themes, antiquity, and the like.
  • One of Jack Kirby's most distinguishing art features is the aptly-named Kirby Dots. Kirby's overall artistic style is perhaps more of an ur-style, being the style of Jack Kirby, distinctly recognizable to just about any fan of comic book art. He loved to create characters who embodied cosmic power if not outright godhood, a trait which seems to bear some relation to equally cosmic-looking hats. As an example, one of his most well-known characters is Galactus.
  • Sergio Aragones (Groo the Wanderer, Mad Magazine) is easily one of the most distinctive cartoonists/caricaturists around. His art style favors thin lines, swooping curves, and an eye-watering level of detail. His men tend to have spindly legs and flat feet, while his women are either fat matronly mothers or curvaceously thin waifs sporting bubble breasts.
  • Similarly, Fred Hembeck has a distinctively cartoonish hand, with his signature technique of placing swirls in knees and elbows.
  • In a time where Disney's comic artists were uncredited, the quality in the stories of one Carl Barks stood out enormously from the rest of the pack, leading readers to nickname the then-anonymous author as "The Good Duck Artist".
    • Duckist Don Rosa. Not only is his style of drawing highly different from any other artist who draws Donald Duck comics, his stories are littered with funny background events, in-jokes, continuity porn and are always very well researched.
  • Marvel comics writer Brian Bendis has a Hatedom related to his style.
    • To elaborate, typical Bendis dialogue will likely include fucktons of gratuitous swearing, repetitions, repetitions, Buffyspeak up the tuchas, and repetitions.
      • Repetitions?
    • Repetitions.
    • Bendis also does this thing where his - his characters, they'll stutter fr- from time to time when talking for a long time. Whether it's realistic enough depends upon your - your personal opinion.
  • Brian K. Vaughan's characters are all too often very well informed with a propensity of regurgitating tidbits of (admitedly relevant) trivia.
  • When he wrote Lucky Luke, Rene Goscinny would often have people who had held a grudge or acted like total jerks for the entire story suddenly come to their senses on the last 2-3 pages.
  • Mark Millar has powers of ten show up a lot. Someone will be ten times smarter than someone else or something will be calculated to the tenth decimal point or will be miscalculated by misplacing the decimal. He also had a tendency to use Nazis repeatedly in his works until someone called him out on it with The Ultimates. He hadn't even realized he was doing it.
  • Garth Ennis dialogue features slang appropriate to the background of the characters using it(including profanity, especially Country Matters), Funetik Aksents, and frequent omission of relative pronouns.
  • Scott Snyder's a relatively new writer, but so far he's shown a real affinity for Animal Motifs (especially birds), architecture motifs, and fangs.
  • Good old Josh Whedon usually writes his characters with a small amount of self-awareness of them being fictional, but in a very subtle way, along with everyone having a sense of sarcastic wit to them.


  • Quentin Tarantino films are talky, often with long, rambling, roundabout conversations full of old pop-culture references and hipster philosophy that somehow feel natural while still containing dialogue no normal person would ever speak. Most of his films are pastiches of other films and genres, and often feature cinema or the entertainment industry itself as a recurring subject. Some of his films are episodic in plot structure, with "chapters" or chunks arranged out of order. Due to Author Appeal, women's feet will often be highlighted. Tarantino is also fond of a particular shot where the camera passes through a wall or ceiling, which is only later revealed in a subsequent shot. Also has at least one Trunk Shot in each of his movies. Also, all of his films contain the phrase "Your reputation precedes you", or some slight variation.
  • David Cronenberg loves gore, body horror, sexual deviance, and Mind Rape.
  • John Woo uses slow-mo, Guns Akimbo, and lots of doves flying in his Heroic Bloodshed movies. Themes in his movies usually focus upon family, loyalty and betrayal, and usually feature two brothers or other people on opposite sides of the law who develop a bond of friendship and usually have to join forces against a mutual enemy who is threatening both.
  • The films of Guillermo del Toro will often favour a specific and small palette (amber for Hellboy, blue-green for El Laberinto del Fauno, yellow/blue for night/day in Blade 2), will frequently go Beneath the Earth, put something slimy in a jar, and always always always include some reference to Roman Catholicism. And clockwork.
  • In Alejandro Jodorowsky movie and comics, you can expect more religious symbolism than you'll find anywhere else and a Shoot the Shaggy Dog ending. (sometimes — like in Fando & Lis and The Holy Mountain — played for laughs). Jodorowsky displays a keen style of absurdism and everything absurdly symbolic, probably meant as a mockery of various religious beliefs and contemporary practices. His work mixes the celebral and intense with the satirical. He also has a thing for bald women.
  • Things written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright tend to have clever foreshadowing and dramatic-ironical dialog. Phrases will be repeated, once innocent, once really sad or menacing. They tend to be filled with homages to other works, usually geeky ones. They also feature main characters eating a Cornettos. Wright's directorial style includes fast cuts and lots of close-ups.
  • Woody Allen movies generally feature a nebbishy, fussy Jewish New York Author Avatar who is stuck in psychotherapy, spouts self-deprecating one-liners and Ingmar Bergman references, and wooes an attractive woman who is inexplicably attracted to him. Visually, his films tend to have a specific look and feel: Warm colors (when he's not shooting in black-and-white, and scenes with as few cuts as possible, occasionally using oners.
  • If you're watching an 80's John Hughes flick, expect it to have some humor with at least one angsty teenager thrown in. It's often set in a Chicago Suburb with yuppies.
  • Alfred Hitchcock films have a number of recurring features. Often there's a guy or girl unjustly accused, on the run from someone, who has at least one dysfunctional parent, and/or who suddenly vanishes when the love interest takes center place. The motif of abuse of hospitality (either by the guest or the host) is also prevalent. Most female main characters will be blonde, due to Author Appeal. Hitchcock famously made a nonspeaking cameo in every film. In fact, his cameos became so widely known that he was forced to do them in the beginning of his films so viewers wouldn't be distracted from the plot while they looked for him.
  • The Coen Brothers like to make pastiches of other works. Their films often play with language, using heavily stylized dialects from various locations and time periods. Proper heroes are few and far between, with even the most sympathetic characters being criminals or morons. They like to use exaggerated camera movements, an influence from their time working with Sam Raimi. They often have one character who personifies pure evil.
  • John Milius (of Conan the Barbarian the movie fame) apparently never met a monologue he didn't like, we have to keep those damned commies out of America, and guns/swords are good. Very, very good.
  • If awkward sexual dysfunctions/kinks and Crapsack World suburban mundanity abound, you're probably watching a film directed and written by Todd Solondz.
  • If you are watching a Tim Burton movie you will stumble into at least two of these elements: a character who Looks Like Cesare, German Expressionism, mutilated or unusual hands, gothic-style spirals, characters with parental issues, grim and surreal settings, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, a score by Danny Elfman, and dogs.
  • Danny Boyle's films are frequently marked by the use of sky-high levels of contemporary pop and electronic music, and protagonists emerging from or entering into a toilet.
  • Michael Bay's films are all explosion-heavy action films with large casts, extremely large-scale action sequences, and plenty of macho hero worship. They are also generally right-wing, supportive of Cowboy Cops and militarism. His films usually feature a control room and a shot with two people (usually the heroes) standing close to each other while the camera circles around them.
  • If you're watching a film by legendary Japanese film director, Ishiro Honda, chances are the film will feature people being overwhelmed by either armies, giant monsters, or some other antagonist. This stems from him being drafted into the Japanese Army during WWII. It's safe to assume the whole ordeal left a HUGE impression on his psyche.
  • Oliver Stone's films tend to include a lot of stock footage
  • Dario Argento's trademarks include masked killers, dark gloves, women being pushed through plate glass, tracking shots, and heroes who are involved with some sort of artistic/creative profession who are usually foreigners.
  • Zack Snyder and his slow-mo. To a lesser extent, using extensive green-screening and CG to create very rich images that look almost like art.
  • Yasujiro Ozu is known for his very personal style. Most of his films are family dramas. He uses a number of distinctive shots over and over again, including low-angle shots about 1-2 feet off the ground and shots of characters looking directly in the camera. His editing, transitions, and use of music also follow very specific rules.
  • Spike Lee often makes films Spike Lee Joints about race relations in America, using New York as a setting. More often than not, he also is either the main character or prominently featured in the supporting cast. Expect to see Giancarlo Esposito, John Turturro, or Michael Imperioli (but never all three) in the supporting cast. Towards the end of any of his films, expect to see a shot centered on the protagonist standing still, while only the background moves forward. That other wiki has a pretty big section on the subject.
  • Sam Raimi films, especially his early ones, often had a fast-moving POV shot rapidly zooming toward a character. He is also fond dolly zooms, in which the landscape behind a character seems to change size in relation to the character. He often combines the hyperactive camerawork with slapstick humor. He frequently casts his brother Ted Raimi and his longtime friend Bruce Campbell in small roles.
  • The films of Akira Kurosawa tend to have dramatic camera angles, either very low or very high, using telephoto lenses to flatten the perspective, with a distinctive "Wipe" transition; weather elements used to heighten or contrast the mood of a scene; minimalist music; tragic heroes or anti-heroes who have either risen from a lower status, or fallen from a higher, often returning to their previous status; and explorations of the human psyche and condition, particularly among the poor and marginalized. They're also very likely to include Toshiro Mifune in a starring or prominent role.
  • Zhang Yimou films are identified for the striking cinematography of his films, particularly the dominance of one or two colors in any given scene (or the oversaturation of too many colors in the place scenes in Curse of the Golden Flower). He is also notable for making a lot of films that are basically family epics (fittingly for a family-oriented society like China), and his early realistic films (as opposed to his later Wuxia) focus on the effect of 20th-century modernity on ordinary Chinese.
  • Jean Luc Godard is one of the most important French filmmakers of all time, and despite having a wide variety of styles, he has a lot of recurring styles- Red White & Blue (the colors of the French flag) prominently together in a single shot, strongly colored lighting, Anna Karina, in-dialog references to other films, cameos of other filmmakers (Fritz Lang, Samuel Fuller, etc.), voice-overs, abrupt silence, unexpected nudity, and adults doing goofy and childish things.
  • Olivier Assayas is fond in all of his movies of filming in several different languages, and then deliberately refusing to subtitle, in order to increase the audience's alienation from the characters.
  • James Cameron has a number of signatures:
    • Pre-Titanic, there was always at least one nuclear weapon in the mix (Judgement Day in the Terminator films, A stolen warhead in True Lies, a recovered warhead in The Abyss, and "Nuke the site from orbit" plus the exploding reactor in Aliens).
    • He likes shots of feet, although not in a Quentin Tarantino way; he apparently just likes to see them, or some stand-in like a tyre, thudding down onto the ground, sometimes crushing things as they do so; a Terminator's foot crushing a skull, the APC's tyres crushing an alien, the undercarriage of the Harrier jump jet making a mess of parked cars, and less extreme examples like the regimented thumping of Navy SEAL combat boots onto the deck, followed by Lindsey Brigman's high heels, the Power-loader's feet slamming down onto the deck as the lead-in to "Get away from her you bitch!", or Jake Sully wiggling his new toes.
    • Strong female characters and a love/hate relationship with technology are nigh-universal themes in his stories; less universally, but still notably, if there's a remotely blue-collar or lower-social-echelon guy involved in any serious way, you can expect them to be good people (Aliens: Corporal Hicks is competent, badass, and caring, while Lieutenant Gorman is... not; Ripley vs. Carter Burke plays the civilian version of this. The rig crew in The Abyss are great guys while the SEALS are mostly stand-offish - at least, the ones who aren't going psycho from the pressure; Bud Brigman goes to disarm the warhead although he knows it's a one-way trip. Jake Sully gets to be lower-echelon in three different worlds at the same time in Avatar; he's just a grunt to the lab guys, he's a newcomer and a cripple to the soldiers, and he's an untrustworthy alien to the Na'vi. If you're the one person in the world who hasn't seen it yet, guess who's on top at the end of the film.)
    • Also, he apparently likes blue so much that his movies tend to have really long sequences in blue, ranging from the Color Wash in the Terminator films to the all-blue fauna of Pandora in Avatar.
  • Christopher Nolan:
    • Most of his films are a Mind Screw, with non-linear narration and highly complex characterisation.
    • And, any of his movies featuring Cillian Murphy have at least one scene with Murphy's head in a bag.
    • All of his movies have the common theme of guilt, where the male lead regrets having set in motion a chain of events that ended up killing:
    • And in his later movies (more or less since Batman Begins) he revealed his love for minimalist architecture (like Lucius Fox's workshop, Bruce Wayne's penthouse and batmobile garage, the 2nd level the limbo), mountains (Nightmute, the Himalayas, Colorado and the 3rd level), cities with skyscrapers (Gotham, Hong Kong and the 1st level and the Orient, in general, with The Prestige, The Dark Knight Trilogy and Inception.
    • There well also be mention to theatrics or the element of illusion. Batman Begins uses the phrase "theatrics" in the dialogue frequently, The Prestige talks about misdirection and its use in magic, and Inception focuses on "creating the world of the dream", as well as use of misdirection to hide what is dream and what is reality.
    • A common theme in Nolan's work is "A good lie is better than the truth." Who really killed Leonard's wife in "Memento", Who really shot Eckhart in "Insomnia", Who Rachel really loved/ Who killed Harvey Dent in "The Dark Knight", Fischer's love for his son, and the nature of the dream world in "Inception". There is either self-deception involved by the end or a cover up made for the greater good.
    • His movies also haves very strong, very heavily emphasised motifs and foreshadowing that will require you to watch more than once to understand their significance. The two birds in the cage in The Prestige, one of which is killed during the trick; "I don't like trains" and the fluttering curtains in Inception; even the posters for The Dark Knight highlight the triad of Batman, the Joker and Harvey Dent (good, evil and both). He's somewhat infamous for extending this emphasis all the way to the dialogue, resulting in unlikely repeated lines and characters going into awkward monologues just to state the film's theme aloud.
    • He also has a love for tasteful, high-end men's fashion. If the men are dressed better than the women, chances are you're watching a Christopher Nolan movie. Nolan himself shows up to sets in a suit every day.
  • Sergio Leone loved close ups. He also always used multiple scores by composer Ennio Morricone (who was a classmate of his). Frequently he would use the music to achieve all kinds of effects, from building tension during the showdown in the Dollars Trilogy to telling the entire story of Once Upon a Time in the West. He also liked to put an emphasis on diagetic sound, and enjoyed playing with conventions, eliminating the Black and White Morality that had been so prevalent in Westerns before, not to mention some of the greatest examples of casting against type.
  • Paul Greengrass loves shaky, hand-held cameras.
  • Stanley Kubrick: Very far on the cynicism side for Sliding Scale of Cynicism Versus Idealism, lots of hallways and tracking shots (he was particularly fond of the Steadicam), almost always an adaption of a book, mentally unstable protagonists, classical music (many times used for ironic effect), tons of Black Humor, the Kubrick Stare and above all meticulous attention to detail. And at least one scene involving a toilet.
  • Kevin Smith films usually feature foul-mouthed geeks who discuss geek topics with foul mouths. Hockey, video games, comics, perverse sex acts and various pet films and filmmakers will be featured or discussed.
  • Judd Apatow films usually feature copious profanity, male frontal nudity, sex and stoner jokes, and a large amount of improvised dialogue. He also tends to work with the same cast of actors a lot.
  • Tyler Perry's films all have similar styles, in fact almost all of them are in the same continuity. Usually there is an educated black woman who has an abusive husband or background and usually at least one child. She will at some point leave her husband (this may have happened before the movie starts) and meet another man who is usually a good Christian blue collar worker. The movie will end with them getting together. Often the movie has an All-Star Cast of the most popular black actors at the time.
  • Steven Spielberg and daddy issues. It's not really a question of whether they'll be included in a movie he has any part in, but rather how much, how blatant, and how central to the plot they'll be.
  • Nearly every movie directed, written, or produced by Robert Halmi Sr. and Jr. deals with a variation of Parental Abandonment, either emotional or physical. It doesn't matter what book or biography is being adapted, the central theme or plot will be changed to be entirely about a missing or aloof parent of the main character.
  • J.J. Abrams and Lens Flare.
  • Terrence Malick: Lots and LOTS of Scenery Porn framing a slow-moving, meditative plot with voice-over narration that is used more to meditate philosophically than it is to actually narrate the events of the film.
  • Wes Anderson films can be easily spotted by regular use of wide-angle, straight-on still shots for scene establishment, quirky characters with numerous relations between them, a clean sans serif font for location names, and dipping into the B-sides of hits from the 1970's and 1980's to fill out the soundtrack. Most of his characters are either unsatisfied upper class people or industrious working class people apsiring to be in the upper class. His works usually feature Bill Murray and Owen Wilson, among a larger Production Posse.
  • Robert Bresson cast actors with little to no acting experience, to the point that he referred to them as "models" rather than actors. His dialogue is given a flat, almost deadpan delivery, while the actors' movements are meticulously orchestrated. This all gives his characters a detached, robot-like impression.
  • Terry Gilliam's films usually feature dark, hallucinatory visuals shot in a wide-angle lens. His films also tend to have a Downer or Bittersweet Ending. Of course, his animation features heavy use of vintage photograph cut-outs.
  • Christopher Guest's films are all mockumentaries with largely improvised dialogue, taken from his experience working on This Is Spinal Tap. He also works with an extended Production Posse.
  • Luc Besson's action films almost always feature a Badass Invincible Hero who goes against ridiculous odds. If it's not on behalf of a woman, it's often a woman herself.
    • Another very noticeable point is that Luc Besson usually pours a lot of work into an action packed opening scene, which in several cases even ends up overshadowing the grande finale final showdown. This even carries over into films of which he was not the director, but involved as (executive) producer.


  • David Foster Wallace: juxtaposition of informal abbreviations and slang with incredibly esoteric words, words which originally seem incredibly esoteric but end up being made up (usually somehow derived from Latin), the odd continued use of &c. instead of etc. (again with the esoteric Latin thing), compulsive use of footnotes (sometimes useless footnotes, sometimes carrying out entire storylines within footnotes), scenes which are both hilarious and heartbreaking (or disturbing but usually both), obscure connections which are absurd and profound and also pretty funny, &c. And the word "peripatetic," which he seemed to like as much as this wiki likes the word Egregious.
  • J. K. Rowling's only written one series to date, but she's sure fond of killing off parents and parental figures, to the point that not many people were surprised when Mad-Eye Moody got killed off within the first hundred pages of Deathly Hallows. Just about anyone Harry could rely on to help fight had to be either jailed, put on the run after narrow escapes, or killed. On a lighter note, she also has a fondness for socks as comedic devices. She also uses a ton of adverbs, especially in dialogue tags (e.g., "he said earnestly").
    • In fact, her tendency to kill off parental figures extends so far that she originally planned on killing Arthur Weasley.
    • She also seems to like Mama Bears.
    • And pretty much every trope related to Chekhov's Gun. If a character, object, or place is mentioned in passing in an early books, it's almost guaranteed to show up later, usually in a role of vital importance.
  • Peter David is quite fond of incredibly drawn-out, horrible puns (for example, in Sir Apropos of Nothing, taking a full page to explain why a group of crazy bird-men descended from harpies are called the Harpers Bizarre) and Ironic Echo Cut chapter breaks. He's also very fond of the adverb "nattily": if his work is set in modern times, expect everybody to be "nattily dressed."
    • David also enjoys the Running Gag. One notable example from one of his Star Trek novels had a Vulcan character simply trying to go from one part of the ship to another and constantly running into a string of people, from fellow crewmembers to an alien ambassador, who all insisted on telling her their current personal problems. She finally blows a gasket and demands to know why everyone was telling her. (Well, the closest to gasket-blowing a Vulcan usually gets, anyway.)
    • Another aspect of his Star Trek writing is a very thorough knowledge of the show, with in-jokes, Shout Outs, and obscure references everywhere. This is epitomized in Morgan Primus, who is, effectively, Majel Barrett Roddenberry. Primus has been mistaken for, compared to, or otherwise tied to each of the characters Majel has played in the Trek universe: Number One in the original pilot, Nurse Chapel, Lwaxana Troi...and so on. She eventually has her mind downloaded into the ship's computer. It takes a while for the crew to realize it, though, because guess who voices Federation computers on the show?
    • He also seems to be able to work in a throwaway reference to Alexander the Great somewhere in many things he's written.
  • Robert Rankin's style makes it obvious that he's making it up as he goes along, as he lampshades in one book, pointing out plot threads that don't go anywhere. Sometimes it works, and sometimes... it just doesn't.
  • Tom Holt has incredible fun with metaphors, cliches and truisms; if the book is full of metaphors taken to extremes, it's probably him. He also tends to feature mopey, nerdy males and rock-hard, super-efficient females. His stories also have an extremely cynical view of love, which is often portrayed as more of a nuisance or a disease than anything actually good.
  • Terry Pratchett is fond of irony, wordplay, humorous similes and justifying the natural laws of his worlds as being literally governed by tropes and cliches, which people can use to their own advantage if they're Genre Savvy enough. The fact that his characters can usually predict what happens later in the story via recognition of tropes and cliches actually makes the stories less predictable. His books also very rarely use conventional chapters. His earlier works in particular like to play with the idea of unearthly eyes, and particularly the idea that the eyes are the only thing that no magic can disguise, providing a window to the true nature of the soul. He is also well-known for his use of comedic footnotes, even requiring a Footnote character in the play version of some books, and one of his compilation books is titled Once More[1].
    • The difference in writing voice between Pratchett and Douglas Adams can be distinguished mainly by frequency of footnotes. Although Adams has a few as well.
    • And he seems to love the words 'strata' and 'apologetic'.
    • "It is a pune, or play on words," pops up a lot.
    • Speaking of Punes, Terry is inordinately fond of characters who immediately try to describe why a certain thing is funny before other characters could even react to said joke.
  • Piers Anthony is another fantasy author with a great love of wordplay and cliche; however, the two authors' styles are recognizably different in that, if Pratchett's wit is like a rapier, then Anthony's is like a 12-pound sledgehammer. His Xanth series, in particular, is one great big Hurricane of Puns after another, but his other works can be similarly blunt and heavy-handed at times. Other heavy-handed examples of his style include making nearly every protagonist a moral paragon who never does anything wrong and never fails at anything, and a desire to revisit old plot points ad nauseam.
    • Some would point out that this is just the Theory of Narrative Causality in another form.
    • Another reoccurring theme in Anthony's works is nudity and sexuality, even in his young adult / teen series, Xanth. Anthony is pretty frank about his beliefs — he doesn't believe human nudity is harmful or shameful at all, and he remembers that most of the people of his target audience's age are actually quite curious about sexuality, despite what their parents may think. His works are never outright pornographic, but it skirts the boundaries enough (mermaids turning into humans and not knowing about clothes, princesses having to trade their clothes for a magic sword, that kind of thing) that he's been accused of being a pedophile on several occasions.
      • He actually wrote a book named Pornucopia, and another named 3.97 Erect. And at one point, in a letter to a young teenage girl, talked about writing about a five-year-old having sex. (See the book Letters to Jenny.) The accusations are really no one's fault but his own.
    • And, like Claremont, everyone sounds the same and seems to have the same knowledge of relatively obscure myths and legends that most people wouldn't acquire unless they were very into it and had possibly taken college courses (even if that someone is a junior high dropout who's spent his whole life as a hired goon). For example, in his Incarnations of Immortality series, it's not all that rare for someone to see the Incarnation of Death and blurt out "Thanatos!"
    • And also the use of children/extended family of characters he's already used, to the point where the Royal Family of Xanth is on something like its fourth generation.
    • Not everybody uses the word "demesnes." Piers Anthony uses it frequently.
      • He also really, really loves the word "proffer."
    • It is perhaps easier to think of Anthony as like Terry Pratchett, but less mature. Or perhaps the other way around.
  • Douglas Adams always has a narrator that goes off into tangents, Insane Troll Logic actually working and Contrived Coincidences. And Lampshading the ridiculousness of it all. He also makes use of the Unfazed Everyman.
  • L. E. Modesitt, Jr. tells the same story over and over again in most of his books. It's a good story, though, people keep reading them anyway.
  • Mercedes Lackey, several of whose trilogies consist of telling the same story three times in a row, and who has even written a trilogy with a center book (Owlknight) in which essentially nothing happens (a barbarian invasion turns out at the climax to be boring peaceful settlers instead).
    • Another Mercedes Lackey signature: taking a character who has grown up living in serious misery without family, usually without real pleasures or more than one or two friends, then having them get swept up, as in a Changeling Fantasy, and taken to somewhere with good people and comforts, where there is hard work and good food. Said character basically never brings along the optional friend, nor do they ever go back, and they always turn into Standard Lackey Hero characters, who are all uniform in their goodness. There is a long period of adjustment where the character makes friends, and towards the very end there is a rushed conclusion. Seriously, this happens in very nearly every book, more often now than in her earlier work. It's alleviated significantly when she collaborates with different authors, though the book she wrote with Piers Anthony was cringe-worthy.
    • A key Lackey trademark is her standard protagonist development sequence, which has been summarized as "make the readers love and adore the hero, and then tear said hero's arms off."
    • Also, all of her villains are rapists or otherwise sexually deviant. All of them.
  • And Terry Brooks, many of whose Shannara novels resemble each other to a surprising degree.
  • Neal Stephenson's main characters are always incredibly smart mavericks with friends who are even more brilliant. The narrative will include meticulous analysis of wide range of subjects that Stephenson finds interesting, from the outright arcane to the humorously mundane. Some of these factor into the plot, and others are simple digressions. The writing style features quite a lot of dry humor, including the pet phrase: "X would like nothing more than Y. Which is too bad, considering he's Z right now." His novels, especially his early ones, are also notorious for having unsatisfyingly abrupt endings.
  • H.P. Lovecraft. It is fortunate that humanity, in its blissful ignorance of the maddening, cyclopean world beyond, doesn't possess the words to describe the repulsive, non-euclidean things of which he speaks. HPL has the most Signature Style in the history of styles.
    • Even his stories that don't feature eldritch abominations from outside time and space tend to treat women and foreigners as equally scary.
    • Don't forget his habit of putting The Reveal at the end of the story. Often the Climax would be the character discovering The Reveal, and at the end they would recall/ponder it for the reader. Small scale Anachronic Order, if you will.
    • Also, his stories are almost always narrated in first person by male characters, and are often precisely dated. And use lots of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness
    • Plus each narra
  • Edgar Allan Poe also used Antiquated Linguistics, and if he wasn't writing a Dupin story, he usually featured a skeptical and normally problematic narrator that tried to face the supernatural reasonably, but ended engulfed by madness. His stories generally ended in a very abrupt, anti-climactic way. And there'd be a beautiful woman dying of tuberculosis.
  • Brian Jacques seems to love Wacky Wayside Tribes, rhyming prophecies, intense description of food, and making damn sure none of his heroes ever die. This last element has only slid in over time; while the earlier Redwall books were willing to let heroes die (Martin the Warrior and Outcast of Redwall most notably), the later ones have the "hero shield" at full power.
    • This doesn't apply in Castaways of the Flying Dutchman, which hasn't suffered the Redwall series's cumulative decay: the fisherman in the first book, the French captain in the second book, and Serafina in the third book all died rather horribly.
    • He also has a thing for giving characters names beginning with the letter M.
  • George R.R. Martin: sex (including what almost everybody would call perversion), intensely described violence (including against those generally exempt in sci-fi or fantasy, i.e. infants), wheels within wheels, and a general feeling that the author will not spare your pathetic sensibilities if he thinks it furthers theme, plot, or characterization. Expect to ask "Wait, who am I rooting for?" at least once.
  • R.A. Salvatore has described his combat scenes as "Crouching Panther, Hidden Dark Elf". They would not look out of place in Anime or a Hong Kong martial arts flick. Including the over-the-top-ness.
  • Stephen King is known for frequent use of a distinctive

 (Stream of Consciousness)

writing style which incorporates the character's thoughts into a paragraph, typically

(through parenthetical insertion)

breaking the standard paragraph structure as he goes along.

    • When he wrote using the pseudonym Richard Bachman, people suspected it was him based on his style.
    • And don't forget the endless describing of daily life inconsequentia. A less charitable troper would call it Padding.
      • He cheerfully points out in the intro of The Stand that critics have accused him of suffering "diarrhea of the typewriter".
      • This evens extends to simple actions the character performs. For instance, when a character kneels down, King will often point out that the character's knees cracked like gunshots as he did so.
    • He also tends to write stories with protagonists that have at least two of the following three characteristics: great wealth, being a writer, and having suffered a horrific injury with an agonizing recovery. Guess what three characteristics the man himself has...
      • In his earlier novels, the characters often are teachers (like King was), lower-class, and hadn't been maimed.
    • If the book is taking place in one of his many small towns in Maine, he has to have at least one chapter where he takes the reader out of the main narrative, and on a bird's eye trip around town to see what the minor characters are getting up to.
  • Michael Moorcock loves the initials J.C.. He did this quite deliberately, to show that they represented aspects of the same archetype.
  • Similarly, Philip Jose Farmer used the initial PJF to refer to his stand-ins, according to him. Given one was a sci-fi author who was defrauded by a publisher this clue was perhaps overkill.
  • The late Jack Chalker almost never wrote a book that didn't involve at least one character (and often all of them) physically transformed in some way, either to a different species, a different gender, a different kind of sapience, or some combination thereof.
    • To the point of reportedly getting quite upset when people kept asking him why all he wrote were transformation stories. His answer was "Nobody bought the non-transformation books." Reputedly, he got used to it when he realized every author with a shtick got asked the same thing.
  • Dan Brown, a renowned Conspiracy Thriller author, conspicuously and regularly re-uses plot elements and opening paragraphs. As for the actual writing style, Brown is fond of having multiple Plot Threads and shifting between them every 5 to 10 pages (his chapters are really short), usually with a "What?" Cliffhanger accompanying every shift. Depending on whom you ask, it either creates awesome Thriller suspense or gets boring after the third page.
  • Chuck Palahniuk has a very distinct minimalist style of writing that he describes as explaining only the kernel of any given situation, with the action cutting and jumping around sporadically and tied in place by a common, repeating theme. Beyond that, he also tends to have very similar female characters from book to book.
    • He often fills his books with a number of interesting tidbits of knowledge as well as factoids that sound real but aren't.
    • Sentence fragments with no verb in them.
    • Dialogue with no quotation marks.
    • He's also very fond of Arc Words.
  • Gene Wolfe writes all of his stories in first person. With all the detail he adds, it gets really easy to trust the narrator. Don't.
  • Neil Gaiman has a distinct poetic bent to his writing and themes, which is just one of the things that make him popular with the goth crowd. Every line a Gaiman character utters can be quoted on its own as a lesson on life and magic and whatever.
    • Neil Gaiman also likes to throw in a Magnificent Bastard who may or may not have a heart of gold. Theological references, too.
    • Also loves to have stories within stories within stories, and blurring the lines between them. An obvious example of it would be the World's End Sandman story, in which travelers stranded by a freak storm (caused by the Metaplot) are passing the time by telling each other stories, in the style of The Canterbury Tales or Boccaccio's Decameron. One of the stories is about a ship journey, during which, to alleviate boredom, one of the tale's character (Hob) tells another tale. Hob being an important character in the Metaplot, we've come full circle and back again.
    • Another, subtler trope in Gaiman's work is the theme of false hospitality, typically shown between female characters: the Other Mother in Coraline is the most obvious example, while others include the Dark Queen in Mirror Mask (which is thematically very similiar to Coraline) the inn scene in Stardust, and the characters of Media and Bilquis in American Gods.
    • Also, there will be Nightmare Fuel. And in all likelihood eye trauma. Lots of eye trauma.
  • James Joyce is bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthurnuk!
    • A lot of Joyce's early work is actually quite comprehensible and straightforward, but all of his work, early or late, is set in Dublin. He's also fond of epiphanies.
  • William Faulkner hates you doesn't like you hates you you never had a sister Dalton Ames Dalton Ames Dalton Ames Dalton Ames Dalton Ames My father I have committed incest
    sister. Stream of consciousness, odd spacing
    hate you
    i dont hate it
    but he hates you
    • He also has a reputation for writing confusingly long sentence often creating long tracts without any punctuation
  • Djuna Barnes loves her statements that aren't nonsensical so much as they don't make sense. And she always makes blanket statements. And supremely illogical cultural references. And loads of sex, happening in the most absurd places.
  • Karen Traviss writes a lot of stories about military and war themes, especially if she can put scientists in there. Her protagonists and good guys tend to be hardasses and in general she adopts a War Is Glorious standpoint.
    • This comes from her background as a journalist reporting on military actions during the Blair Administration. Also, expect very tight 3rd person narration, where perspectives are skewed by the particular character's lack of information.
  • James Michener writes books where almost every plot follows a family that lives in a particular place through the generations, the title of the book simply being the setting.
  • Tennessee Williams writes a lot of mentally ill or physically disabled women (his Dead Little Sister was schizophrenic), and a lot of his stuff is set in the Deep South. Also, expect men who are manly men, explicit discussion of any issues he wants to bring up, and... well, there's more. You'd know it if you saw it.
    • The aforementioned overt masculinity also carries over to his homosexual characters; see Now the Cats with Jewelled Claws and A Perfect Analysis Given by a Parrot. (Williams himself was gay.)
  • Diane Carey's Star Trek novels take Space Is an Ocean to almost absurd heights. She has worked on sailing ships in Real Life.
  • Diane Duane's Trek novels are full of Starfish Aliens with unpronounceable names, amazingly detailed and justified Techno Babble, gleefully subverted Planets of Hats, and Doctor McCoy being awesome.
  • Dean Koontz' supernatural works, at least, tend to feature some combination of dogs, Catholicism, California, and little kids. And, regardless if they're supernatural or not, sex. Quite a bit of sex. Also, the word "indefatigable."
  • William Shakespeare is fond of references to falconry, gardening, and hunting with dogs. He also thinks it's hilarious when women dress up as men, but that was a fairly standard thing back then. He's also the undisputed king of penis jokes. And he really seems to like twins, almost as much as he likes Italy.
  • Thomas Pynchon loves silly pop-culture references, names that sound meaningful but aren't, and not giving you any idea what's going on. Sophisticated As Hell terminology is not uncommon either.
  • The articles of Hunter S. Thompson tend towards a rambling stream-of-consciousness style, with many digressions and interjections from Thompson himself. He involved himself so much in the stories he reported that he became a central character in them - if not quite a hero. Much of his work was published unedited, pioneering the style he later dubbed "Gonzo journalism".
  • David Eddings: Strictly Formula, but done right for the most part. He's also big on Loads and Loads of Characters and glowing jewels that drive the plot.
    • Don't forget the snark. The oceans and oceans of snark...
    • And the tendency for absolutely everyone to be paired off by the end.
    • And the dodgy fake accents. And blue is good, red is bad. And the occasional joke at the expense of conservatives.
    • Generally, an Eddings series will also include a bad guy harming or attempting to harm someone the heroes like, at which point the heroes stand around for a while coming up with ever more unpleasant ways to persuade them not to do that any more.
  • Tom Clancy's novels tend to feature certain politically incorrect characterizations: liberals tend to be scheming and drug-using, while conservatives tend to be hard-working, honest, and red-blooded members of the American military. Every book ends with an America Saves the Day moment, as well.
    • Not to mention the borderline-fetishistic way he describes military hardware in excruciatingly precise detail.
    • And every weapon that is not American is in some way inferior to its American counterpart.
  • Anything by Laurell K Hamilton is almost certain to have a tiny, beautiful female main character who's a good little Catholic girl that has to deal with shameful shameful sexual urges and has lots and lots of sex that's treated as if it's the kinkiest thing since the Marquis de Sade, but is actually rather tame in comparison to almost anything you could see on Playboy TV. Oh, and random powerups. And mournful observation of religion/faith falling into decline.
  • Agatha Christie used a number of devices over and over in her works.
    • Multiple murders committed by different people.
    • Characters revealed to have been impersonating other characters.
    • If a person repeatedly survives attempts being made on their life, you can bet that that person is the killer.
    • Whoever is most likely to be the killer will naturally be innocent. This is logical, since a straightforward murder mystery wouldn't be much of a mystery. Still, the number of clues speaking to someone's guilt are often inversely proportional to that person's guilt.
    • Whoever is included on the novel's token romance(s) is innocent.
    • Characters accusing themselves of being the murderer in order to protect the person they know or believe to be the real killer. Subverted in Murder in the Vicarage, where both Lawrence Redding and Anne Protheroe frame themselves for the murder of Colonel Protheroe and admit, in turn, to being responsible (in an unusual ploy to actually shift blame from both of them)
  • J. R. R. Tolkien had a habit of peppering his stories with references to far-away bygone people and places drawn from his own mythos that had nothing to do with the plot but made the setting feel more lived-in and natural.
    • He also LOVED describing landscapes. He could go on and on for pages and pages of purple prose, basically saying nothing more than "Gosh, look at these trees!"
    • He was also a big fan of Love At First Sight, since that was how he fell in love with his wife Edith.
  • Kurt Vonnegut: lots of free-association and repetition, nonstop Shooting the Shaggy Dog, Sick Sad Worlds with the bleakness turned up to 11, nonlinear storytelling, and the heaviest anvils he can lift.
  • Anton Chekhov had a habit of ending his short stories in a way that doesn't really resolve the plot at all. The protagonist is usually a normal Russian man who Chekhov characterizes mostly through his flaws.
  • Ben Elton novels tend to have large ensemble casts and at least one, usually brutal, death or attempt on someone's life. They also tend to be overtly critical of one aspect of society, and achieve this criticism through sarcasm and exaggeration (Dead Famous and Chart Throb — reality television; Gridlock — society's dependence on cars and oil; Stark — big business in the 1980s; This Other Eden — DAMN NEAR EVERYTHING).
  • John "A PC" Hodgman writes his books in a perfectly deadpan, neutral tone, and just happens to drop the occasional incredibly humourous comment into his rhetoric. A Long List is quite likely, too. He also enjoys occasionally breaking into ALL CAPS.
  • Ian Fleming often includes expositions on locations he had visited, and especially foods and drink which he was himself fond of. Expect the phrase "the gun spoke its word" to appear rather frequently too. The attitudes of the characters are also highly recognisable once one gets used to them. And any woman's breasts will be described as "proud and firm". Except maybe Bond's caretaker's.
    • He also likes "cruel" as an adjective to describe people's looks, most commonly Bond's mouth or jaw.
  • Ursula Vernon's writing can be recognized by her use of people who supply contraceptives to "Seamstresses", weird animals (commonly shrews or wombats, some times furries) and general weirdly flash-bang, yet Pratchett-esque, often footnoted, style.
    • She also tends to give her fictional cultures a detailed and unique culture, customs, traditions, idioms, and so forth, often sewn together from real-world parts. Probably not surprising, given that she used to be an anthropologist and turned to art "because the pay was better, which should tell you something about anthropology."
    • Her art is what brought us the Lol Whut pear.
    • Lolwhut aside, her usual art also involves the combination of normal concepts (for example, a painting of grazing wildlife) with bizarre objects or characters (the wildlife is fruit), with at least a paragraph's worth of backstory on the art piece itself (a nature-book-esque description of the fruit's habitat and behavior in the wild).
    • Don't forget well-described camping and expiditions, including equipment. She's a birder, but that, oddly, doesn't turn up much.
  • Terry Goodkind's characters are always angry, tired, confused or otherwise affected; there is rarely a scene where everybody present is in a balanced state of mind. He also has a tendency to have at least one character present in most serious discussions who's holding the Idiot Ball for the duration of the scene and has to have things explained to them plain and simple.
  • Andre Norton tended to have female characters orphaned as babies and raised by animals or other nonhumans who improvised clothing for them early on, despite generally not wearing clothing themselves. She also liked cats.
  • Aaron Allston, one of the writers of the X Wing Series, has a very distinct sense of humor which manifests in absurd or mocking bits of dialogue. Every character with more than a couple lines has some kind of quirk, which at least means that when anyone dies the reader's response is never "Who?", and his writing is intensely character-driven. He's also got a tendency to put in background female characters who are very muscular.
  • James Patterson italicizes everything of any importance. Also, half-page chapters, and switching POV from first-person to third-person.
  • Raymond E. Feist loves to use the words "alien" and "quietly" as often as possible, especially chapters/segments which begin with "(character name) sat quietly."
    • He also opens the majority of his chapters with a three or four word sentence, beginning in Magician with "The storm had broken.".
  • Larry Niven writes about Giant Space Structures (the ringworld, the smoke ring), sex between different alien species, and really long alien names with lots of a'postr'oph'es in them.
  • Cormac McCarthy doesnt use many apostrophes when writing speech and he doesnt use speech marks to indicate dialogue and the Deep South or the west are common settings and he frequently uses 'and' a lot in a sentence. Furthermore, he's partial to esoteric word choices as well as run-on sentences, not to mention sentences of unusually long length, one example being a page-and-a-half long sentence in Blood Meridian. Also, he often has a character repeat what someone else has said.

 Character One: Like how?

Character Two: Like this.

Character One: Like this.

Character Two: That's right.

  • Stephenie Meyer is fond of portraying SPESHUL human/nonhuman romances, with all of the main characters being implausibly gorgeous (and described with lots and lots of Purple Prose). She also has a thing for the word "chagrin," as well as "dazzled" and "perfect", and the color beige. She describes characters' daily lives in a highly detailed manner while not doing the same for action scenes, which drags her books out to borderline Doorstopper lengths. Note that most of these are traits that could be considered a stereotypical Signature Style of teenage girls writing fanfiction.
  • Tamora Pierce has a mildly amusing habit of describing a character's clothing in detail. This lead to one famous scene where Alanna of Tortall, hardened warrior, is talking to a friend about someone else's poor fashion choices while changing. "Can you imagine?"
    • Well, her heroines, for the most part, do tend to (at least try) represent strong, yet still feminine women
  • Michael Crichton books inevitably share the same plot: "Scientist discovers or creates something. Protagonist warns the scientist that he hasn't considered the consequences. Discovery and/or creation Goes Horribly Wrong. Protagonist saves the day. Protagonist says "I told you so" and scientist maybe or maybe not learns his lesson that Science Is Bad, or at least misapplied. The end."
    • Despite this, Crichton was a huge proponent of scientific discovery and the importance of science in general. Just don't mention climate change.
  • Hey Doctor Who fans! Did that last Expanded Universe novel make your brain feel like it was shoved in a blender set to "puree"? Did it feature people doing exceptionally odd things to Time? Was The Obi-Wan a Deadpan Snarker? A Magnificent Bastard? Both? Well, my friend, you were probably reading a novel by Lawrence Miles.
  • Jim Butcher of The Dresden Files and Codex Alera fame really, really likes political intrigue, characters with ulterior motives, complex and out of the ordinary strategies in battle, characters playing Xanatos Speed Chess, and unique and unexpected application of magic.
  • James Clavell liked to write large novels set in or around Asia, featuring Loads and Loads of Characters and intricate, interwoven plots from both the protagonist's and antagonist's sides of the stories. His books are usually divided into shorter "books" or chapters that encompass a period of time (from three years in King Rat to just about ten days in Noble House). Also, at least one main character will die at the end of each of his books (except for King Rat, where the death was merely figurative, rather than literal).
  • David Wong of John Dies at the End and Cracked fame tends to have work that is very cynical, heavy on the pop culture and full of Sophisticated As Hell, often explaining complex concepts with monkeys, kittens, and the aforementioned pop culture references. His Cracked articles tend to revolve around achieving happiness.
  • Charles Bukowski's work could be summed up as thoughtful insights using mundane metaphors for some of the most mudanely depresing situations done in the plainest of text. Also, lots of alcohol, sex, gambling, self-deprecation and jokes worthy of a 14 year old kid. I love him.
  • Lord Dunsany's signature style is a dreamy prose filled with Antiquated Linguistics. Think a Lighter and Softer Lovecraft, particularly early Dream Cycle Lovecraft (unsurprising since he was a major influence on the crazy Yankee), though he was quite capable of putting an edge into his stories. His later fiction loses some of this style, leading to a They Changed It, Now It Sucks reaction from some fans.
  • Timothy Zahn starts each of his Star Wars novels with a description of an Imperial Star Destroyer gliding through space, in reference to the Original Trilogy's opening shots. If he's writing in the prequel era, he substitutes the most appropriate warship of the time. He's got a lot of signature bits in his work.
    • He likes pulling an As You Know by mentioning X, then having a different character say "Oh, that's [rough explanation], right?"
    • And the phrase "...said the other" and variants in a two-person conversation.
    • Stormtroopers are extremely competent. Imperials in general are not evil, and neither are they about to switch sides. They have pride in what they do and get presented as just as human as anyone in the New Republic. There are ruthless people on both sides and the Imperials are still the villains, but it's far less black-and-white than most writers will make it.
        • This is true of Zahn's non-Star Wars novels as well. The Conqueror Trilogy is a good example of this; neither side of the conflict is bad, and both sides include the sort of multiple factions that you'd actually find in a society at war.
    • He's one of the best at complicated plotlines with several protagonists who go in separate directions, have their own plot-important actions and multiple subplots, and come together and separate again as part of the larger plot. Seriously, all of his multi-protagonist books have these.
    • Zahn really likes coolly intelligent, calculating characters, both villainous and non, and has confessed to favoring enhanced soldiers and also criminal types who have redeeming features, like Karrde, Car'das, and one of the protagonists of the Dragonback series.
  • K. A. Applegate, in the series that she's written (Animorphs, Everworld, and Remnants), always uses a choppy first-person, in which sentences are short. They're about this long. And are often fragmented. With pop culture references. And slang. And lots of expies. She likes to send her characters into facsimiles of Hell, and make it the sort of experience that horrifies, nauseates, and mentally scars even the bravest of them. (And in the case of Animorphs, they must've had to go down there about a dozen times over the course of the series.) Also, expect her to create really awesome female characters and then kill them off towards the end.
  • Frederick Forsyth is extremely well known for his obsession with correct details, intense amounts of research, and almost journalistic approach to writing.
  • Mark Z. Danielewski tends to write in either a dry, formal, academic tone or a very lyrical and sometimes almost nonsensical one (House of Leaves mixes both). He also really, really, really likes meaningful mis-spellings ("torn to pisces", "allways sixteen"), hidden coded messages, and the use of different font colors to highlight particular letters or words.
    • Don't forget the typographical experimentation, with text reading vertically on the page and what have you.
  • When you read a sci-fi story, and it tells you proliferation of helicopters and telecommunication technologies allowed the humans to abandon the cities (barring, perhaps, cultural and academic centers) and return to forests and meadows they've always longed for, you can bet it's Arthur C. Clarke. (Unless it's Clifford Simak.)
    • Ditto for any short story or chapter that ends with a one-sentence Twist Ending.
  • Sandy Mitchell, of Ciaphas Cain fame, has a few old standbys. Cain's palms will be described as tingling at least ten times per novel. A remarkable amount of people are in some way preternatural, but everyone (aside from Jurgen) is insouciant. Often, something causes a susurrus. Cain frequently ends up in caves or some similar system, allowing him to remark repeatedly on how he knows his way around caves as a result of his childhood. British pop culture references are made.
    • Also, Ciaphas Cain did NOT know the horror that he would soon be facing, and if he did he would have ran screaming to the nearest shuttle off-world.
    • Similarly, if you see the words "Tenebrous" and/or "Cyclopean" used to describe a structure then you will be reading a Horus Heresy novel, and if someone "threw his red Sudenland cloak over his shoulder", enjoy your Gotrek and Felix.
  • Michael A. Stackpole, in and out of the X Wing Series, drops many offhand references about the 'verse he's writing in by Techno Babble and mentions of unusual cultural quirks held by different species. These tend not to be elaborated on; they're there to make the 'verse bigger. His earlier novels tended to have Beige Prose. There is always one protagonist who is always, always completely and utterly confident in himself and his ego, even though he also always gets something wrong, experiences failure, and gets humiliated without revenge afterwards. Stackpole's better about this than he used to be, but there are also always a number of Red Shirt characters with almost no characterization or dialogue, and all of that is connected to that confident protagonist. There are literally characters in the X Wing Series whose only lines before being killed are about Corran Horn. Also, his characters tend to talk all the same way, with dialogue more suited to exposition.
    • And he ends. Every chapter. With a Declarative Statement. Even when that means a character goes from planning/introspection to talking to themselves.
  • Homer used elaborate similes that go on for several lines, often described of feasts, and used recurring lines and phrases, like "wine-dark sea", or, after gruesome, anatomically-detailed descriptions of battlefield slayings "And the darkness swirled about his eyes."
  • e.e. cummings uses Punctuation and
    capitalization! in a very, unique way.
  • Gertrude Stein certainly had a quite distinctive style. Gertrude Stein had a certainly quite distinctive style. Gertrude Stein had a quite certainly distinctive style. Gertrude Stein quite certainly had a distinctive style.
  • Iain M. Banks' science fiction novels, both in The Culture, and the stand-alone ones often feature a lot of snarky humor, especially at cocktail parties or something similar. There will sometimes be a Wacky Wayside Tribe scene with some other culture or species which tends to overlap with another feature, a scene of outright Gorn (i.e. the way the protagonist of Consider Phlebas stops cannibals from eating him). The novel may or may not end with the deaths of the cast and many other unfortunate people.
  • Matthew Reilly writes like an action film-fast paced, frantic, violent, crazy spectacles, with infodumps in-between to set up the next sequence. Almost invariably, a person's head when shot will be described as exploding like a watermelon. Most of his characters are referred to by their military callsigns. The ones that aren't are usually the main characters.
    • Incidentally, his author commentary for Seven Deadly Wonders mentions that he got sick of the callsigns. He didn't call the characters by their names, though. He called them all by nicknames ascribed to them by the Token Mini-Moe. (Pooh Bear, Big Ears, Wizard . . . One gets the impression of self-parody.)
  • Lemony Snicket. He often defines obscure words, writes about odd side topics, uses many of the same phrases, and hints at some sort of side story involving himself. Very odd guy.
    • 'Odd' here a word meaning 'totally awesome.'
  • If you are reading a book by David Weber, expect it to be very long and contain very, very explicit descriptions of technology, mathematics, and how many missiles are getting launched and annihilated. And the phrase "venting/gushing/leaking atmosphere".
  • Daniel Pinkwater's protagonists are usually fat, dorky kids (who willingly describe themselves as such), often Jewish, with funny names and dull but harmless parents. They hate school and instead spend a lot of time having adventures with suspiciously weird friends. Other recurring themes are the state of New Jersey; Eastern mysticism; aliens, monsters and chickens.
  • Harry Turtledove has "flabble" (a word invented in the Timeline 191 series, roughly synonymous with "whine") and "spit streamed into his mouth" (for "his mouth watered") and awkward sex scenes, to name a few.
    • Expect to see Show, Don't Tell violated almost every page. Also, his characters can often be found wishing their situation was different, and then remarking that the situation remained exactly as it was regardless of how much they wished it wouldn't. Phrases like "It would be funny if only it wasn't true" also make frequent appearances.
  • Andrey Lazarchuk loves unrepentant mindscrewery. More specifically, he has parallel universes with bizarre interdimensional mechanics, (multiple) conspiracies ancient and government aimed at manipulating said mechanics and Blue and Orange Morality. As for the narrative itself, it has plenty of internal narration to the point of stream of consciousness and lots of flashforwards and perspective shifts, presumably aimed at confusing the reader further. And everything is probably symbolic in some way, though half of it is probably the critics' fault.
  • Will Leicester appears to be obsessed with fitting as many Queen references as possible into his word, to the point of naming minor deities after the band members and, on one memorable occasion, including what is quite possibly the first offensive use of Stone Cold Crazy in history.
  • If the novel you're reading is set in Scotland, involves time travel romances, ghosts, and giant swords, has Love At First Sight and incredibly intense emotion, is PG-rated, is titled after a song or song lyric, mentions "funny spots on the ground" and "faery rings" and stars a character with the last name "MacLeod" or "de Piaget", it's a Lynn Kurland novel.
  • James Ellroy: Short, declarative sentences. All the bullshit trimmed away. Prose pared down to its bare essentials. Shakedowns. Schemes. The secret history of America. The Big Picture. Bad men and the women they loved. Violence, drug abuse, Grey and Grey Morality and Complete Monsters. And occasionally redemption.
  • Lorrie Moore is fond of writing stories about lonely women or women with few people in their lives going through some life-defining crisis or another.
  • Oscar Wilde really liked writing about wealthy people and their lives (possible exception: his children's stories) but that's because, as has been acknowledged, it allowed him to realistically insert the lengthy dialogues he really loved writing. (Because only the wealthy would be idle enough to be able to spend a long time chatting with each other, see.)
  • The novels and short stories of Bret Easton Ellis always use first-person narrative, about wealthy, shallow and selfish people and often contain meticulous descriptions of incredibly violent events.
  • John Donne is fairly easily recognized if you've studied any of his poetry. He enjoys grand metaphysical imagery involving the sun and religious symbolism, and poems about great love that you couldn't possibly imagine because it's just that amazing (my love is deeper and more moving than yours, etc.).
  • In the stories of the Polish writer Marcin Wolski, the protagonist will always have sex with several women throughout, and there will be a hitman who may or may not be after the protagonist and will inevitably die before the end of the story.
  • Vladimir Nabokov's stories usually feature a Russian or Eastern-European expatriate protagonist who's an Unreliable Narrator and fond of elaborate descriptions and wordplay. Look for lots of references to butterflies, chess, other works of literature and a distinct emphasis on style over substance.
  • John Irving's novels often involve some kind of gruesome injury or accident, a teenage boy having an affair with an older woman, an elite New Hampshire prep school that is never actually called Exeter, and (more frequently than one might expect) a bear riding a bicycle.
  • A lot of Jack McDevitt's novels deal with a decades-old mystery revolving around a person who acted bizarrely out of character. The alien Mutes only attacked military targets during their war against humanity — except once when they attacked a civilian city of no strategic value which had already been evacuated (A Talent For War). A man spends his entire life searching for a hidden cache of pre-apocalypse books, only to throw them into the sea when he finds them (Eternity Road). A popular author doing research for her next book decides to have her mind wiped and restart life with a new identity (The Devil's Eye). Someone devotes their life to the search for extraterrestrial life, then abruptly quits and claims they didn't find anything despite evidence to the contrary (Infinity Beach and Echo).
  • Stories by Transformers Timelines author team Greg Sepelak & Trent Troop generally involve Continuity Nods, Mythology Gags, and References galore, with the latter always involving at least one They Might Be Giants nod.
  • Ayn Rand unapologetically uses her works as vehicles for the transmission of her Objectivist philosophy. Her good characters represent what she feels humanity can be at its greatest moments, and most of her plots tend to revolve around the protagonists trying to accomplish extraordinary things in the face of villains who twirl their mustaches and tie women to railroad tracks.
  • Ryohgo Narita (of Baccano and Durarara fame) is particularly fond of huge casts of unstable characters. All his stories also take place within the same universe.
  • Matthew Stover is a real-life martial artist and will happily write intensely detailed fight scenes dozens of pages long. Other trademarks of his include erudite narration that drops into goofy terminology (like the abrupt appearance of the word "bazillion" during a serious scene in Shatterpoint), Bond One Liners and Deadpan Snarkers, badasses of every stripe, people dropping dead all over the place, and never allowing the triumph of despair even when that seems the only option left. His primary plot-making method is to grind his main character relentlessly down to their very marrow, take away everything about them that they thought was important, drive them to the brink of oblivion, than have them re-evaluate themselves, back up, stand up and show everyone what they're really made of. Typically, it's whoopass. However, while his novelisation of Revenge of the Sith follows the formula to the letter, the spirit is given a cruel twist: Anakin's fate is a life of absolutely hellish torture because when stripped of his delusions all he becomes - is himself.
  • In Robert E Howard stories the main character is a stereotypical hero whose physical prowess is only rivaled by his wit, usually a member of some better group who mostly works alone fighting against ancient evil and/or decayed corrupted civilization turned thus. Also, as the Trope Maker of the genre, obviously there is a lot of Sword and Sorcery. Also, an overarching view that whole civilizations rise from the mud, reach peak and then corrupt and fail, as noted in the other wiki's page on this.
  • With two series, Suzanne Collins has established quite a few - young protagonists who have already been through the wringer, younger siblings they would do anything to protect, war as hell, deadpan snarkers, world-weary mentors who use sarcasm and put-downs in their training, authority figures who later turn out to be evil, a balance of good and evil to both sides, beloved characters dying suddenly, and villains somehow connected to white. She also likes to end chapters (and sometimes books) with a Wham! Line.
  • Paul Stewart loves to make up words, for one thing. He also has a talent for names, all of his works taking place on the far side of Aerith and Bob. Probably the most immediately noticeable quirk, though, is that he never ever says "around." It's always "Twig spun round" or "they came round in the end."
  • Virginia Woolf will jump in and out of the consciousness of various characters going about their ordinary everyday lives.
  • J.D. Salinger writes about teenagers or young adults, most of whom are either geniuses or at least very intellectually gifted. Also expect gratuitous swearing and conversations that never reveal what anyone is actually thinking.
  • Flannery O'Connor's work is always set in the South and usually culminates in an epiphany of some kind, often religious in nature. Many characters also suffer from some kind of disability or disfigurement.
  • Raymond Carver writes in short, simple sentences, and characters will probably spend most of the story talking.
  • F.Scott Fitzgerald's stories are always about upper-class people, usually alcoholics, who self-destruct spectacularly in beautiful and occassionally flowery prose.
  • Ernest Hemingway's stories are usually about hunting, fishing, war, bull-fighting or any combination of the above, and written in short, simple, direct sentences.
  • Brandon Sanderson is best known for his intricate, self consistent magic systems. His works also tend to contain lots of political intrigue that ultimately results in chaos, Well Intentioned Extremists, large quantities of snark, and characters becoming gods.
  • Damon Runyon uses anonymous first-person narrators with Present Tense Narrative and a mixture of period slang and Delusions of Eloquence:

  If I have all the tears that are shed on Broadway by guys in love, I will have enough salt water to start an opposition ocean to the Atlantic and Pacific, with enough left over to run the Great Salt Lake out of business. But I wish to say I never shed any of these tears personally, because I am never in love, and furthermore, barring a bad break, I never expect to be in love, for the way I look at it love is strictly the old phedinkus, and I tell the little guy as much.


Live Action TV

  • Russell T. Davies has a penchant for using the names "Tyler", "Rose", "Delaney", "Donna", "Harkness" and "Jones" (Most evident in "The Stolen Earth", which features four pre-existing Joneses). He likes to reference Ipswich. Ominous references to "the darkness" and "something is coming" abound. He often criticises religion and has a love of Humanist monologues ("Indomitable!"). He's prone to excessive use of Techno Babble in his Doctor Who stories, though for Who, this is no new thing.
    • Of course, some Doctor Who fans complain that RTD doesn't use enough Techno Babble, claiming his sketchy explanations for whatever effect he wants to produce might as well be "A Wizard Did It". Major offenders include the "anti-plastic" in "Rose" and every Deus Ex Machina season finale.
    • Fans often seem divided by his assumed "Gay Agenda", with everything from jokes from gay culture to same-sex kisses having found their way into his four Doctor Who series.
    • For an atheist, RTD won an award for irony when "Gridlock" (featuring renditions of "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Abide With Me") got nominated by a religious group for a prize for promoting Biblical values.
      • Although his work is noticeably stuffed full of religious imagery. Notable examples include "Last of the Time Lords" (The Doctor being rejuvenated by the entire populace of Earth praying for him, flying over the evil Master, then hugging him and saying "I forgive you.") and Torchwood's "End of Days" (essentially the same thing, with resurrected Jack forgiving the doubting Owen after... well, killing the Devil.) Davies' drama "The Second Coming" was nothing but religion, though of the kind that takes Nietzsche very literally...
    • And who could forget the moment in RTD's second ever episode of Doctor Who, "The End of the World", when we see the Earth burning away beneath a giant glowing space station in the shape of a crucifix...
    • He also likes to use repetitive jokes, pop-culture references (often to reality TV and often appealing to the Lowest Common Denominator), and extraneous guest stars. Although '80's Doctor Who also tended to have a lot of name guest stars.
  • Another Doctor Who writer and current Show-Runner, Steven Moffat, definitely has one. Expect Mood Whiplash Up to Eleven, light humour, horrors untold, a hint of romance and sexuality and extensive use of the timey-wimey ball. He also writes like Who is a dark fairytale.
    • Another extremely apparent stylistic choice of his is phrase repetition. For example, Hey who turned out the lights; she is not complete; silence will fall; are you my mummy; hello sweetie; spoilers; don't blink; and that's just a few of the many, MANY Doctor Who examples, each repeated anywhere from about five to fifty times an episode. It's effective until you notice it, then it becomes a liver-destroying drinking game.
    • Moffat also seems to love sitcom-esque dialogue. His characters never miss a chance to be witty. Unless, of course, the joke is momentary awkwardness (see: any time Eleven says something dorky.)
    • Moffat uses Buffy-Speak a lot, often using it in lieu of Techno Babble, which he hates. He also lets his characters be very comedic, even when faced with a deadly danger. Snarkers and Butt Monkeys are evident too.
    • He also includes children and childish/primal fears in his story lines.
    • A lot of the dialogue he writes, especially when it gets into the Techno Babble and Buffy-Speak, tends to have a LOT of pauses and Motor Mouth moments. See: the Tenth Doctor and Tin Tin & Haddock in the flim version of Tintin (Especially when Haddock is telling the story of the Unicorn.
  • Joss Whedon cannot get by without at least one superpowered tiny female character, a tendency to put likeable characters through the Wangst gauntlet, and an almost contractual Bittersweet Ending (at best).
    • He's not below hanging a lampshade on this:
      • "I tend to focus on one character (perhaps a young woman of unnatural abilities, to pull an example randomly out of nowhere) and then the other characters are built from the needs of that character's journey."
There's been a lot of comparison to the story of Echo being a sort of warped interpretation of the River Tam story, do you agree/disagree? — Vivienne
—It wasn't meant that way, but I do have my little obsessions...
    • He's also fond of naming characters after things; just as a random sampling, Angel, Spike, Willow, Dawn, Faith, Glory, Harmony, Gunn, Jasmine, River, Wash, and Book.
      • Joss' middle name is Hill. And now you know.
      • Plus, the Actives in Dollhouse follow Theme Naming: Los Angeles uses the US military alphabet (e.g. Alpha, Echo, Victor, and Sierra), while DC uses Greek gods.
    • His penchant for snappy dialogue, snarkasm, and Buffy-Speak is very distinctive. He did some Script Doctor work on the script of the first X-Men movie, but only two exchanges of dialogue made it to the final cut, and one of them has his fingerprints all over it:

 Wolverine: Hey! It's me.

Cyclops: Prove it!

Wolverine: You're a dick.

Cyclops: [Shrugs, nods.] Okay.

      • The other, Storm's line about a toad getting hit by lightning, doesn't seem like his style; however, before his contributions were reduced, it was the deadpan climax to a highly Whedonesque Running Gag.
      • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, it's extremely obvious which lines Whedon wrote. A sample Whedonesque line:

 Milo: Will you look at the size of this? It's gotta be a half mile high, at least. It must have taken hundred — no, thousands of years to carve this thing!

Column: BOOM!

Vinny: Look, I made a bridge. It only took me, like, what? Ten seconds? Eleven, tops.

  • Terry Nation (Doctor Who, Blakes Seven, The Survivors) liked doomed (and argumentative) groups of rebels fighting Scary Dogmatic Aliens like the Nazi-esque Daleks (which he invented) or in the case of B7, Scary Dogmatic Humans. He also liked ragtag (and argumentative) groups of survivors in After the End settings, and in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", he even got to combine the two fascinations. He also had a great fondness for characters with the last name Tarrant and, often, characters with no first names ever given. A strong streak of cynicism runs through his work, making his favourite characters Deadpan Snarkers.
    • Look out also for his tendency to make up for his total aversion to Techno Babble by adding the word 'space' to existing nouns. Someone will be a doctor of 'space medicine'; an alien race's headquarters is referred to as being 'in Space' by space-travellers, and so on.
  • When Clark Johnson directs an episode in any given series, expect lots of handheld shots and shots of tangential, sometimes random but interesting events happening at the periphery of the scene. Called "Shoot the Dog" shots by the crew of the The Shield, after he excitedly insisted on filming nearby barking dog in one of the early episodes, different from the more familiar Shoot the Dog.
  • Aaron Sorkin, father of the Walk and Talk and Sorkin Relationship Moment: machine gun fast dialogue. Comedic repetition. Tall, smart, sexy, sassy women who give as good as they get. Characters who veer oh-so-close to cynicism, only to come back to hope and idealism. Extremely liberal world view. He actually included common criticisms of his writing style in his short play Hidden in this Picture. In it, a film director tells his Sorkin-proxy screenwriter, "I think your work has a tendency to be long-winded and cynical, I think you have trouble handling exposition, you take forever to introduce the inciting action, and all your female characters talk and act as if they've just stepped off the Love Boat."
    • He also really, really likes to use the name Danny.
    • And the same character types. Watch The American President and The West Wing and then tell me A.J. MacInerney and Leo McGarry aren't the same character. Same with Lewis Rothschild and Josh Lyman, and that gets more fun when you add in Studio 60 and A Few Good Men, because Matt Albie and Dan Caffee are also the same character as Lewis and Josh.
      • Since West Wing began as leftover scenes from American President, the characters really are the same, at least at first.
      • He split Lewis into both Sam and Josh, actually. The rant to the President near the end of The American President is way too idealistic to be only Josh's precursor.
    • He loves Talking About That Thing, to the point of Never Give the Captain a Straight Answer. It will often be five to seven minutes into the conversation before the audience learns what The Thing is.
    • He also likes to refer to offscreen characters multiple times by their full names before introducing them or explaining their purpose in the story.
      • And main characters often imply full sentences in arguments just by using the other character's first name.
    • Is the season finale named "What Kind of a Day Has It Been"? You're watching the first season of an Aaron Sorkin show.
    • Not to mention his love of dramatic speeches. Is there a self-righteous villain in the piece? Then there will be a scene in which he delivers something not far short of a sermon, usually in response to hard questioning (in a legal setting), in which he concludes with a highly-quotable, exceptionally angry declaration which leaves everyone speechless.
    • Father issues. Nearly everybody on The West Wing has something rotten in their relationship with their father: Bartlet's father was a "Well Done, Son" Guy who never actually said "well done son" and was physically abusive; Leo's father was an alcoholic who killed himself; Josh's father died suddenly the night they won the Illinois primary, contributing to his Guilt Complex; Toby has to forgive his father for being in the Jewish mafia; C.J.'s father is dying of Alzheimer's; Sam's father is revealed to have had an affair during his marriage that's lasted almost all of Sam's life. Charlie's father is the least talked about, and that's only because he was a Disappeared Dad; to make up for it, his mother was a police officer who was murdered, resulting in Charlie being Promoted to Parent at the age of twenty-one. In other works, we have, for instance, Danny in A Few Good Men trying to come to terms with his need to live up to his father's awesome reputation as a lawyer.
      • Sam's father's affair is an almost word-for-word retread of Jeremy's in Sports Night.
    • Sorkin uses the dialog construction "not for nothing, but ..." a great deal.
  • In every show Bryan Fuller has ever created, the female lead has a boy's name.
  • Shotaro Ishinomori really loved the Phlebotinum Rebel, with his more prominent works featuring heroes as such.
  • Kevin Williamson is quite fond of showing the lives of highly introspective teenagers living in a small suburban town. (Dawson's Creek) Then he puts those teenagers in mortal peril. (Scream, The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle)


  • Amongst composers, Frank Zappa is known for his highly peculiar style. On guitar, he favored a Clarence Brown or Johnny Watson-inspired complex, left hand fingering, with lots of interaction with the drummer. As a composer, he loved to glue together separate elements and styles in an unpredictable collage of music. As a song writer, he is typified by industrial-strength sarcasm and a dislike of feminism. And he had a big nose and Johnny Otis's imperial mustache (recurring elements on album art).
  • Nick Cave, throughout the songs he's written, the novel (And The Ass Saw The Angel) and the film screenplay (The Proposition) has shown an enormous interest in four things: flowers, stomach-churning violence, discussion of literature — often in very unlikely places, and semi-heretical yet extremely pious examinations of religion.
  • If you see someone onstage playing a left-handed Hofner violin bass in something resembling a classic Beatlesuit, he is either Paul McCartney or someone trying to impersonate him as a Beatle. If he is playing anything written after Revolver, or if there are no other Beatles impersonators, it's the real thing.
  • To a certain extent, The Beatles each had a signature style towards the end of the decade. John wrote songs with political, abstract, or drug-fueled lyrics, Paul wrote more straightforward love songs, George included a lot of spirituality, and, to the extent that he wrote and sang, Ringo's pieces were more playful and straightforward (to the point where Ringo songs were often considered the "kid-friendly" ones). Musically, Paul's songs usually require a greater vocal range than John's — compare the near-monotone "Across the Universe" or "Come Together" with "Yesterday" or "The Long and Winding Road" — while George's feature unusual vocal and guitar ostinatos, such as the line "I don't know why" in "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" or the opening notes of "Something".
  • Every single Dragon Force song features the phrase "for the day", "far away", at least one reference to fire/warriors, and is at least three-quarters epic guitar solos. They're also all in the same time, key, and tempo.
    • Hey, they are not all in the same key!
      • But most of the songs are in a minor key (naturally, since it's heavy metal) and they tend to use most of the same relative chord changes.
  • Similarly, virtually every Manowar song is about stoic macho warriors waving swords while splashing through their enemies' blood like Gene Kelly dancing to "Singin in The Rain".
    • Not quite. Manowar songs always deal with at least one of the following: warriors and warfare, how awesome heavy metal is, and Norse mythology.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has a habit where a number of pieces he writes have sections that end with a prominent trill at the big cadence.
    • That was the style at the time, a holdover from the largely-forgettable Rococo period.
  • Nine Inch Nails albums are usually concept albums. His music kept the exact same introspective subject matter (love, death, meaning etc) from the late 1980s to the early 2000s and reuses/d words like 'skin', 'broken', 'hole', 'bleeding', 'head', 'feels', 'falling/loss' etc. He both whispers and shouts a lot, often in the same song.
  • Johnny Cash had a very sparse, stripped down style. This paired with his smooth bass-baritone voice made even his (numerous) covers immediately recognizable.
    • Actually not that much on Cash's part. The stripped down style was in his later years collaborating with producer Rick Rubin. Rubin's signature style is the minimal instrumentation, very few effects and overall feeling very stripped down.
  • Joni Mitchell was afflicted with polio at age nine, and lost some use of her left hand. Her compositions use very distinctive non-standard guitar tunings ("Joni's weird chords") that accommodate her limited dexterity--and also sound very cool.
  • Umm... Jim Steinman, anyone? Almost every song has three distinct movements, is at least 7 minutes long, features a choir of angels at some point, and sounds like Meat Loaf is singing it, even if it's actually Bonnie Tyler, Celine Dion, or Air Supply.
  • If the lyrics you're listening have a lot of not-so-common words, seem to make no sense, go from Spanish to English or vice versa and are sung in falsetto it was most likely writen by Cedric Bixler-Zavala. The afro is quite stylish too.
  • There's a joke that each Power Metal band picks their own theme (eg. aforementioned Manowar) and puts it into most of their songs.
  • Tom Waits has his voice, and the tendency to use deliberately antiquated recording techniques. And it's not uncommon to come across references to Kathleen Brennan, his wife. The name "Beaula" crops up a lot, as do trains, rain, and the word "down". He also uses his instruments in very bizarre, hard-to-describe ways.
  • They Might Be Giants have an accordion. Both the Johns have pretty distinctive voices, there's a lot of rhythmic stuff going on, and the lyrics are sort of hard to comprehend the first few listenings.
    • And for some reason, they really like the word "no".
    • Of course, the largest commonality of all their work is its ridiculous nature. For this reason, they've often been described as a "joke band," but this isn't exactly true. Much of their work is serious in conception, it's just that the Johns have always been ones to champion absurdity.
  • Voltaire loves the violin and lyrics that would be kinda disturbing if they weren't so funny, except for the occasional philosophical, contemplative song. Even those usually contain a bit of wit.
  • Masashi Hamauzu, composer for such games as the SaGa series and Dirge of Cerberus, tends to use lots of strings and as one reviewer puts it, "crunchy" piano chords. And expect lots of stylish violin solos. The result is a very elegant and uplifting sound.
    • Particularly true for the piano. He loves putting the piano in battle themes (see: "Decisive Battle" from FFX, "Saber's Edge" from FFXIII) - to epic effect.
  • Is it a Polyphonic Spree song? Is it about the sun? Is it irrepressibly optimistic? Is there a choir part? Are there prominent flute/horn/harp/et cetera parts? Does it have "Section" in the title? Then yes, it's probably a Polyphonic Spree song.
  • If you hear a band with shouted vocals (often with a political message), a guitar with lots of delay (and other effects) played very rhytmically on the upper strings, an agressive pumping bass and drums that often back down a bit? Well then it's probably U2.
    • Especially if the guitar bits sound suspiciously like they were ripped off from U2's immediate predecessors, particularly the Comsat Angels or Gang of Four. And if the political message veers on Anvilicious.
  • Linkin Park had one for damn near all of their songs from their first two albums. Mike's rapping interspersed with Chester's sing-screaming, power chords in the choruses, calm instrumental backing during the verses, an energetic kicker following a quiet intro and lots of angst.
  • Iron Maiden, especially their material from the 1980s (think The Number of the Beast), is distinguished by their trademark "galloping" back rhythm, created from the bass guitar and the drums, and Bruce Dickinson's operatic wail and screams.
  • Guns N' the song in question marked by loads of guitars and lyrics decrying Axl's persecution, abandonment, or hatred with regards to x, y, or z, sung in a baritone and falsetto register? Then it's probably a Guns N' Roses song.
  • Sonata Arctica uses grim lyrics with a sound that sounds like an exploding Skittles factory.
  • John Darnielle has a very distinctive voice, uses very poetic and erudite lyrics (often with no traditional chorus), and has recurring themes in his music (couples that hate each other, going to somewhere, etc).
  • Does the song you're listening to have a chorus made up of lines from other rap songs? There's a good chance DJ Premier did the beat.
  • Nickelback has one, which causes a lot of Snark Bait on the internet.
  • RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan has a very minimalist production style which contains a lot of samples of dialogue from kung-fu movies and pitched-up soul samples (his later songs also tend to have heavy use of strings and piano). All of the Wu-Tang Clan members also have a distinctive style of rapping in their verses, such as Ol' Dirty Bastard's bizarre character sketches and Method Man's Gangsta Rap.
  • Composer Philip Glass writes repetitive "minimalist" music that is easy to identify as his.
    • Indeed, when asked what style of music he makes, he'll tell you that it's "repetitive minimalism" - See his sometime collaborators, Kronos Quartet, for another example
  • A Disturbed song can be distinguished by the polyrhythmic, heavy-hitting druming, distorted, chugging back-riffs and David Draiman's aggressive staccato bark, growling animal cries and dramatic belting. Expect 80's-like guitar solos, rhythmic verses, melodic choruses and sombre, dark lyrics.
  • Paul Hindemith was known for his use of quartal harmonies (based on fourths and fifths) to create strange sonorities and his neoclassical forms. He drew a lot of influence from very early classical music.
  • Listening to a metal song with both screamed and sung vocals, fuzzed guitars, and crazy time signatures that change several times during the song? You're probably listening to Mudvayne.
  • Expect every single Tool song ever to be long, weird and intentionally stuffed full of obscure symbolism.
  • Of course the guitaring of David Gilmour has itself a very signature style. He sets himself apart by playing melodically with very long sustain. He takes a page from that of Clapton and uses note bending (sometimes extreme) to make amazing wailing sounds with his guitar and gentle breeze-through passages. His signature strat sound is aided by his cutomisation of the pickups and electronics. This is most notable in the Division Bell and his solo works. Also, David is a powerful user (and an industry innovator) in electronics. Notable is his use of ramping up the gain and turning down the volume for that heavy, saturated distortion which Hendrix pioneered. You can hear this well in one of his solos from "Echoes"
    • Worthy of mention also is his blistering solos in "Time" and "Comfortably Numb" which display a lot of these techniques.
  • System of a Down's music is somewhat hard to define, but it does have some noticeable traits present throughout the discography. It relies heavily on the loud-fast dynamic, usually somewhere between restrained and insane. Melodically it has a spiritual, almost tribal influence from world music, most notably middle-eastern instrumentation and Armenian folk singing. Lyrically it drifts between absurdist and political. Whatever you want to call it, the style is theirs.
  • The Lonely Island's comedy music usually consists of a petty thing happening, then the same situation slowly getting pettier and more minor until the first scenario that looked like the jaywalking of Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking now seems incredibly major; but no matter what, everything will be incredibly hammy. It also probably has a featured artist somewhere to sing the chorus, and a kick-ass beat.
  • Drake's songs will usually have him (or someone else) singing the chorus and a muted bass beat. It also may incorporate a "phone call" or some sort of Studio Chatter.
  • If you're listening to complicated rhythms, incredibly heavy and aggressive guitars, rap-like robotic shouts, and can't understand a word, you're probably listening to Meshuggah.
  • Heard a guy who sounds like Joe Swanson from Family Guy on a metal song? It's probably Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Typical elements of a Sound Horizon song and/or album include: Alternate Character Readings, dead people, references to an Eternal Recurrence, regular Song Style Shifts, foreign or fantastical settings, dead people, albinos, Long Haired Pretty Boys, multilingual wordplay, and dead people. Also, dead people.
  • Paul Simon, especially when he was one half of Simon and Garfunkel and the main songwriter of the duo, was quite fond of reflective songs of introspection, especially when it came to the topics of love and relationships, mortality, and loneliness. To wit, the entire first side of the Bookends album can be summed up thusly: Instrumental intro, suicide song, a couple traveling to find themselves while incredibly lonely inside and "lost", a clearly dead relationship that neither person wants to talk about or end, old people talking about their lives, two old friends sitting together ruminating on being near the end of their lives, and finally death or the end of an era.

Music Videos

  • Michel Gondry has one hell of a personal style. Most of his videos are weird in one or more ways. Some have trippy morphing environments and multiplying objects; others are set in a crude, theater-like scenery and feature puppets. He may also break the boundary between an in-video fiction (TV show/book/dream) and reality, or make a musicological rendition of the song. And if it's filmed with a shaky camera, it might also be one continuous shot.
  • If it's a Tool video, it's going to feature some form of stop-motion animation, eerie and disturbing imagery, the characters will come straight out of the Uncanny Valley, and the band won't be in the video. The only major aversion to this is "Hush". The only other aversion is "Sober," where there are glimpses of the band members.
  • Russell Mulcahy's videos were all filmed in a highly cinematic style back when nearly all music videos were still being shot in video and almost always were filmed on location in some beautiful and/or majestic setting. He also liked utilizing split screens and widescreen footage, and was doing slightly surreal music videos back when a lot of videos were simply performance videos with a little added footage thrown in.
  • OK Go have a tendency towards visually impressive and surprisingly cheaply made videos, using a lot of primary colours or other effects that stand out.

Professional Wrestling

  • Professional Wrestling writer Vince Russo has cultivated a signature style characterized largely by Americentrism, misogyny, Shocking Swerves, and the attention span of a gnat. Fans often refer to storylines and gimmicks that show Russo's fingerprints as "Russo-riffic"; it should be noted that this is very much not a compliment.
    • Also, pole matches. Insane objects on top of poles at every corner of the ring. Expect any sort of tangible object being the center of a dispute to be put on a pole. And if there is no object in dispute, he'll put a weapon of some sort on a pole. Just because.


  • Tim Rice likes his idioms. Also never has more than two female protagonists. His lyrics also have a remarkable ability to sound like normal conversations that just coincidentally happen to fit a certain rhythm and rhyme scheme.
  • If you're watching a play with a vast number of literary references and Genius Bonuss, if the dialogue is peppered with puns and if the play looks like a simple love story but turns into a debate on the nature of art or reality, then its by Tom Stoppard.

Video Games

  • C-Could it be? The — the Super Smash Bros Brawl daily site updates!! Oh! Masahiro Sakurai, the game's master of ceremonies, writes in a heartwarming, dramatic, mildly awkward style, clearly dragged from another language — rumour has it that it might be the fault of the localisers. Could that be...ambiguity? And then there's lots! Of! Strange punctuation? And! Onomatopoeia! Whaaaaaaaaaah!! (laughs)
  • It seems customary for most BioWare games to have a Heroic Sociopath on the protagonist's team.
    • Teenage girls who have a tendency to be thieves/technical experts. (Imoen, Mission, Tali, Wild Flower, Sigrun...)
      • These apply even when Bioware adapt other franchises, as is the case with Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. Heroic Sociopath? Shadow, for starters, and also two other playable characters, Eggman, who is at points mandatory, and secret character Omega. Thieving, technical expert teenager? Rouge the Bat. It's important to note that these characters are like this in Sega's offerings, too, but that their roles are either unusually flattering (Shadow, Eggman), or unusually prominent (Rouge, Omega) in Chronicles.
    • Bio also has a habit to write "general" epic save the world plots with the protagonist being the "chosen one". In contrast, games written by Chris Avellone tend to focus more on given protagonist's own story/person/coming of (heroic) age and philosophy.
    • Traditionally, every game must begin with a routine mission (usually the tutorial level, but in Dragon Age 2 it was the entire first chapter) that goes horribly wrong and leaves the protagonist as the only person left to carry the torch.
    • They usually include romance options, and are now adding same-sex options.
    • Really, it can all be summed up in this chart and this article.
  • Character designs by Tetsuya Nomura's character designs tend to overlap both in personality types and clothing style. Expect lots of...
    • A: perky young boys/men with spiky hair.
    • B: Silver or blue haired men with ANGST!
    • C: Chipper and generally positive female archetypes.
    • Lots of belts and zippers too!
  • Other main Final Fantasy artist Yoshitaka Amano has plenty of signature elements too.
    • Blond women. He really likes blond women.
    • Tall, long-haired, slender and willowy, bejeweled and tastefully made-up, fine-featured and
    • Capes.
    • Sashes.
    • Leotards on female characters.
    • Lots of beads.
  • Other other major Final Fantasy character designer, Akihiko Yoshida, has a couple elements of his own:
    • Fond of thigh-high leather boots on characters male and female, young and old alike.
    • Possibly ties into a fondness for bondage-themed clothing designs in general.
    • Allergic to noses.
  • Other other other major Final Fantasy character designer Toshiyuki Itahana, appears to be a breast and leg man. Unique leggings or tight bodysuits are common. Check out the character designs for Garnet or most of the female characters in the Crystal Chronicles series (especially Chime and Belle) for examples of this.
  • Final Fantasy's graphics rendering of characters in general has a very distinctive style, which makes it obvious when another game is copying it with a cheap rearangement of character X's body, character Y's heir, and character Z's outfit.
  • Hideo Kojima would like to remove that ugly Fourth Wall or at least paint it a more interesting color.
    • What is the Fourth Wall, Snake? It's clear to see that the Fourth Wall is merely a construct, a wall placed by human minds to divide us from that world of tropes. We don't like to think of life as simple, you see. That... is our punishment. To go 'forth' beyond the 'wall', one must accept yourself as a troper. Tropers like us need nothing to believe in besides please stop making me make these games please please please please please
    • What is game and what is movie? Sometimes I don't think he knows which one he's directing.
    • He's said that before he got successful in video games, he tried sending short stories to magazines. Most stories in Japanese magazines are around 100 pages long. His stories were 500 pages long. That's him all over.
      • There's something wrong with these numbers, but I don't know what.
    • Don't forget all the rear end shots on the cinematic side of things.
  • Games that Tim Schafer's been at tend to transpose a standard premise onto a non-standard setting (Grim Fandango is a film noir/ the South American mythological afterlife, Psychonauts is about a runaway kid attending a summer camp...for psychics, Brutal Legend has an ordinary man thrown into a fantasy world...which happens to have a landscape resembling every Heavy Metal album cover ever produced). They're also full of foreshadowing, almost excessive amounts of throwaway detail and characterization, and...weird. A lot of weird. No, more weird than that.
  • ZUN seems to have a penchant for Little Miss Badass characters who wear really frilly dresses. Oh, and Nice Hats. Lots and lots of Nice Hats.
    • His music is also very distinctive, and it's easy to tell when he's been called on to compose for a game outside the main series.
  • Valve loves post-apocalyptic settings, especially cities, and abandoned installations.
  • Suda51 makes, for the most part, strongly character-driven games with intricate stories, about which he often doesn't bother to explain everything of. He likes to incorporate real life events into his stories, but almost always has an element of Body Snatching to them. He will always have at least one character that has blocked out a traumatic memory from his past, and an important point of character development is the character acknowledging and overcoming this event, which Suda refers to as "killing the past". His games will also have a post-modern feel to the interface, and will always show close-ups of characters, either when they're introduced, or whenever they're speaking. His games will invariably feature tons of shout-outs to movies, and include Pro Wrestling moves in at least one character's arsenal.
    • Also luchadores.
    • He's also big into raining blood, revolvers, and toilets (especially related to defecation).
  • Kinoko Nasu has a natural gift for writing believable characters whom you either want to hug or Love to Hate. The former especially concerns his female characters, each of whom is a one-of-a-kind mixture of genuine personality, Fetish Fuel (or Moe Moe, depending on who you ask), and plain good Badass. Thematically, his plots often revolve humans' relationship with Mother Earth and feature Bittersweet Endings (at best). And he has an Eye Fetish.
    • One thing that is present in pretty much all of his work is super-powered female leads. The main heroine is either the most powerful being in the series or one of the most powerful. However, she is often in circumstances where she can't use her full power so that others can at least fight with her on equal grounds.
    • Also, alter-egos of some sort, be it Split Personality, or a Future Badass.
  • People Can Fly, the developers of Painkiller, have a knack for games with massive numbers of enemies on-screen at once, fun, catharthic gunplay in unsettling, creepy environments, and huge, epic fights against massive boss monsters. Even after the company was absorbed by Epic Games, many players felt that the extra content the team cooked up for the PC version of Gears of War was the single best part of the entire game.
  • Ryukishi07, creator of the When They Cry franchise and Ookamikakushi: Murder, Nightmare Fuel, Tear Jerker's, Bishonen, Bishoujo, Dark and Troubled Past's, The Power of Friendship, child abuse, and Town with a Dark Secret's.
  • Spiderweb Software has a pronounced tendency towards the Lemony Narrator, apparently coming from its chief designer, Jeff Vogel.
  • It's pretty easy to pick out Grant Kirkhope's work on soundtracks for Rare, particularly Donkey Kong 64 and the Banjo Kazooie franchise. The vast majority of his compositions all share a similar song structure (it's virtually guaranteed that at some point the melody and harmony will be flipped to have the main theme played in the basss clef), and can mostly be written in the key of C. This is by no means a bad thing though, as almost all his work also counts as Crowning Music of Awesome.
    • One other quirk is that the boss battle music will be a more dramatic rendition of the music heard in the rest of the level.
  • If the RPG is well-written, epic, funny, poignant, and terrifically overambitious; if it's less about Saving the World and more about your character's personal journey; if it has no happy love stories but instead ones that are unrequited or horribly tragic; if it takes some staple RPG cliché and does really really nasty things with it; if you're betrayed by the last character you'd expect to betray you; if everybody has an agenda that may or may not coincide with yours; and if you find the most spectacular battles are fought not with swords or guns but words - lots and lots and lots of words - it's a fair bet that game involved Chris Avellone. He also has a philosophy degree that he tends to show off, particularly in Planescape: Torment.
    • It will also inevitably utterly deconstruct and critique everything about the genre and setting Avellone doesn't like, even if he created the setting. If he didn't create the setting, stand by to have the biggest pillars of your fictional world knocked down.
  • Many games by where Edmund Mcmillen is involved in, feature weird anatomy and life cycle-related themes, including unborn creatures.
  • Hideki Kamiya likes designing his characters on basic concepts that usually come down "What would be awesome?" Dante was Coolness, Viewtiful Joe was Style, Bayonetta was Beauty and Ammy from Okami was because he thought making the main character a wolf would be neat. Also, expect his main characters to dash around like kids with a sugar addiction and over the top attacks.

Web Comics

  • Author David Willis has cultivated a paranoid fanbase for his works, due to his use of extremely subtle foreshadowing that might not pay off until * years* later. He also has a way of flip-flopping between humor (often potty humor) and serious drama. Expect references to superheroes and comic books to show up now and then.
  • Brian Clevinger of Eight Bit Theater, Atomic Robo and How I Killed Your Master tends to have overly cynical protagonists and worlds, a loving and heavy use of as many tropes as the genre allows, references to comic books and cartoons, Deadpan Snarkers out the wazoo, and jokes on the audience, usually in the form of either an Anticlimax or horribly depressing Black Comedy.
  • Phil Foglio has a distinct art style, but beyond that you'll often find Gambit Pileups, Large Hams, busty women, and Nice Hats. Lots of Nice Hats.
  • Before Living With Insanity, David Herbert's webcomics tended to star Jerkass protagonists who were anti-social, yet surrounded by loyal friends, and were always working for the greater good. He seems to have changed his style only slightly though. Both LWI and Gemini Storm have protagonists who are borderline insane and are partnered with men who are much more competent. However, both series were created at the same time (Gemini Storm #1 taking a year to produce), so who knows what kind of stars will be featured in his next work?
    • His new style seems to have a man and woman as protagonists in various relationships. Living With Insanity has David and Alice, who are roommates, Gemini Storm featuring a brother and sister, and Domain Tnemrot has a surrogate father and daughter relationship. Just Another Day has the woman as the antagonist.
  • Sandra K Fuhr is known for superb character development, making good use of the Planet Eris trope, well written gay main characters and ending her happy funny comics with a heavy dosage of Cerebus Syndrome. Her latest comic, Other Peoples Business, though it maintains her usual style, it is much darker from the outset, the plot having been kickstarted by one of the main characters' parents possibly being murdered. It may have been something much worse. The about page warns you two important things: 1) Not everyone is going to get a happy ending and 2) The characters are lying to you.
  • Tycho of Penny Arcade tends to use lots of long, verbose words, writing for several sentences in a Purple Prose style, before suddenly dropping back down to a more normal meter for a low brow joke. The mix of modern internet slang and SAT words tends to make for a unique style.
  • Andrew Hussie tends to use flowery and erudite language and mix it up with normal or even crude narration, is fond of using incredibly obscure words and punny portmanteaus when naming things like magical artifacts or game mechanics (which are usually written with capital letters), tends to create highly intricate plots with numerous protagonists and with countless Chekhovs Guns made from the most innocuous things, and his writing is very self-aware and features a lot of Lampshade Hanging and subverting the audience's expectations. He is also fond of drawing realistic caricatures of celebrities that border on the Uncanny Valley.
  • Last time I checked, mash-ups of made of pictures from old periodicals is something found only in Wondermark.
  • Ryan Armand's comics tend to feature Mood Whiplash (especially for the sake of a gag), characters who find their absurd situations normal, females who look vaguely Asian, and a very vague, yet nice-looking, setting that can move the story just as much as dialogue. Also, his art style is about fifty years out of date.
  • As for Style Wager well he doesn't like using commas. No he doesn't not at all.

Web Original

Western Animation

  1. With Footnotes