1. A figure of speech using words in nonliteral ways, such as a metaphor.
2. A word or phrase interpolated as an embellishment in the sung parts of certain medieval liturgies.
I found tvtropes.com, which offers every known trope in books, movies, video games, and more. You can look up by specific media, or specific trope. Such concepts as Villain Decay or Wimpification best illustrate how so much we find in story telling has been done before. This doesn’t negate their entertainment value, however.
Their site states “Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means “stereotyped and trite.” In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them.”
If anything, tropes offer a writer a means in which to show universal symbolism we find in stories such as the Action Girl, Beware the Nice Ones, and Sociopathic Hero are just a few of the tons of tropes out there.
I love how its organized as well. You can look up by specific book, movie, comic, etc or look up by specific tropes such as hero, villain, sidekick, or any other trope that comes to mind.
Many of the articles cross link and references other tropes. You can be lost in there for hours, so be sure you have snacks or coffee/tea on hand.