You Must be Tropin’

This is all about tropes in books! The bad, the horrible, the overused.

Disclaimer: All of these are not absolute to their categories. Just like anything else, you can have a “bad trope” as long as it’s done in a creative way. This is mainly a list of tropes that are just overdone or writers have ruined for everyone else. Don’t be that guy.

The Love Triangle. You know you saw this coming. In my opinion, the most overused trope in existence. Okay, maybe not in existence, but its way up there. I get that having two people of the opposite sex be into you is a common occurrence; in high school. But here’s the thing, it’s really not that common. It’s just an extra sub-plot for the writer to throw in there. “Hmmm, what could I put in this story to make it even more dramatic? Oh, a bad boy who just came to town that really digs my MC, even though she’s faithful to her boyfriend. Yes! It’s perfect!” …NO! What is the point of the other guy? If there’s a point, go for it. But if this is literally what you were thinking, scrap it right now.

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Ugly Duckling. Is your MC a huge nerd with glasses, socially awkward, braces, and have messy hair? Then it’s time for a make-over to get her to the goals she’s always wanted in life! Ex-nay on the make-over-yay. This has been done so many times in book and movies. Like, suddenly looking better will open up more opportunities that the MC never had. This is not only sexist and degrading towards women (granted, this can be done with men too but it’s not as likely), I ask again, whats the point? If your MC wants to get their goals completed, they should find a better way. Or if a make-over is the only way to become popular in her school–she should have different priorities. ‘Cause that story sounds lame af, and is not a good message to girls.

Saving the World. I stand corrected, this is the most overused trope in fantasy fiction. The world that is in constant need of being saved. Keep this to the comic books, y’all. But really, why is everything that is of dire need of saving, the world is the number one choice? And most of the time, the world isn’t even in that much danger, the MC just builds it up in their head that they are the only one who can save it. When the threat wasn’t even that eminent. Why can’t your MC have other priorities, like saving their children or family? Saving their city (the world is super big, I don’t know if you know this…), or even their country. Any villain threatening to blow up the world, is full of ish. (Maybe give them a more realistic goal as well.) Try to be more creative than lazily relying on the world needing to be saved.

The One. Fun Fact! There are 7 billion people in the world. There may be even more in your story. The chances of your MC being the only one to solve a problem is highly improbable. This occurs mostly in fantasy fiction and they have some kind of super power that allows them to do this. Keep in mind, this trope does not apply to an MC thinking they are the only one who can solve the issue (cause they are just one person with determination). This applies to other people telling the MC that they are the only one. Like a prophecy. *rolls eyes* I will say, Harry Potter did this well though, because JK Rowling explained extremely well why Harry was literally the only one to defeat Voldey. But if you introduce this right at the beginning of the story that your MC is ‘the one’ with no real reason why, it’s going to be an eye roll.

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Plain Jane. This is similar to Ugly Ducking, but not really at all. This is an MC who thinks of themselves as average, plain, nothing special, yet has her/his crush wanting to get with them. They idolize this character like they were a god, and the MC is constantly putting themselves down because of their appearance. Yeah, it’s cute that crush is attracted to them for other reason than looks, but according to the crush, they think they are the most beautiful person in the world. First off, this is not a great relationship. An MC with zero self-confidence (which to most people is not attractive at all) and their SO worships everything about them. What they hell do they talk about?

Instalove. Don’t have more than 2 pages of your MC and their love interest together before one of them starts falling in love? Well my friend, you may have what we call ‘instalove’ and you should start over immediately and develop that sh*t. It’s such a common thing in YA or romance novels. The writer wants so badly for their MC to hook up with the love interest that they start it off so quickly. Why? This is not realistic at all and most people who fall in love have to really know a person first. They may have strong feelings, but it’s not love. I don’t get why it’s so hard to have the two characters flirt (or be opposites which is super fun, too) before they go throwing the “L” word around. This may be true if it’s about teenagers or younger because they don’t really know what love is, yet. But if they are well into their 20’s or older, this just does not happen.

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How do you pronounce that? Last but not least — Weird af names. It’s trending right now to have very unusual names in YA. I understand that most are high fantasy or fantasy fiction with different realms and there will be weird names. That’s fine. I’m talking about every other story besides those. You can take my book for an example. Sydona is a little strange as a name, right? She is also not a human and lived with fairies (high fantasy). There are reasons why her name is unique from your everyday names. I have all of my humans in the story with very basic names. (John, Annie, Joseph, Harold, ect.) Because those are common names in the United States around that time period. If your character is a normal human being from a small town in Nebraska and his name is Thor or something… you’re gonna get some chuckles and no one will take him seriously. Also, don’t try to be unique by having normal sounding names spelled wrong. Like Gesika (Jessica). Do some research on origins of names and also, how a normal person would pronounce it. It’s going frustrate your reader and put down your book.

What are some common tropes in fiction you’re tired of reading? Let me know in the comments! ##

 

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An outgoing, introverted writer who likes to lie about being outgoing. Talking to your cat at all hours of the night does not count as outgoing; but it doesn't stop her. She is also just as comfortable being at the beach as she is standing in a pile of cactus. If you want to really impress this unique specimen, offer her a box of your best wine.

2 thoughts on “You Must be Tropin’

  1. I saw a book advertised on one of my discount eBook vendors. The main character was hiding out or in disguise or something and changed her name (not to something entirely different – it was similar). Only trouble was, it was so long and convoluted that I couldn’t even figure out how to pronounce it in some reasonable fashion. Kind of like that town in Wales with the longest name in the world or such. Why would anyone want to read a book when they would spend 20 minutes every time they came to that name just trying to pronounce it?

    All valid points about tropes. They can be done well, but rarely is that degree of effort put into making them so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so annoying! I mean, if the author has to keep explaining to their readers how they pronounce it, maybe that should be a red flag that it needs to be changed. lol

      Like

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