The question Story beats for woman masquerading as a man is, on first glance, asking us what to write or to help brainstorm a story, both of which are clearly off-topic here.

On the other hand, it could be interpreted as a question about tropes, and that's something that's on-topic here.

Is it possible to edit this into a form that's answerable for this site? Or should we just close it as off-topic?

3 Answers 3


Regarding this class of question:

I agree that this is question is asking "what can I write using this tropes" or "what sub-tropes or typical beats are associated with this trope."

So this seems like a list question, with no authoritative answer. This makes it either poor, or entirely off-topic; I'd vote for off-topic.

If this question is on-topic, we could have an infinite number of "Story beats for [TROPE X]" questions. Which would result in a poor copy of TV tropes, since I see nothing beyond the request for associated tropes/beats.


Regarding this question specifically:

What we need to ask ourselves is "What problem is this post solving?". Is the problem "I do not know the entire list of all popular twists and complications on gender-bending characters"? If so, that is not a problem within Writers.SE's mandate; we don't aggregate trivia on demand.

If the problem is "I am not sure I am hitting sufficiently on the try/fail cycle", which the OP also mentions, that's another matter. But then, I don't see how the beat list helps OP - as @what observes, try/fail cycles don't all have to come from the "masquerading as a man" aspect. So if try/fail cycles are OP's difficulty, then this question is suffering from the XY problem. And then we might just reach the conclusion that OP is simply asking what to write.

Either way, my opinion is that the question can be closed. I'd be happy to work with OP from the actual problem (apparently, try/fail cycles), to a workable question, possibly re-opening.


If you refine it, it seems to be a question about tropes specific to masquerade stories. If the question requires an answer more involved than what can be found on TV Tropes, I think it's viable.

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