All right, so I skipped last week’s T5T topic because I couldn’t think of any tropes I liked. Maybe that makes me a weird reader, or maybe I’m just boring because I literally couldn’t think of tropes to write about at all. I may eventually go back and do one, but not today. So this week we’re talking about the bad tropes, and I felt like I could actually write about this one.
As always, we’re hosted by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm for this weekly topic!
#1 — The Love Triangle
Look at The Hunger Games. Look at Harry Potter. Look at Twilight. Look at…well, the majority of teen fiction. There are way too many love triangles going on. I went to high school. I went to college. I think I saw a love triangle maybe once in those eight years. Not experienced, mind you, but saw. In real life, love triangles are a little harder to trigger, at least in my experience. It may be that the guys in the “triangle” feel like they’re both competing for the same girl while the girl is just puttering her way through life, blissfully unaware of all the teen angst she’s caused. But who knows?
#2 — Morally White/Morally Black Characters
I’ve actually come across a name for this while researching my thesis. Counterpointed characterization is making your characters more of a moral gray. It’s not fun to read about someone who only does good or someone who only does bad. It gets repetitive after a while. I want to see someone who has both light and dark in them, someone who isn’t afraid to do something outside the law but tries to keep inside it more often than not. (If you can’t tell, I’m talking about the Thief Lord from my novel, Unconquered. He’s outside the law and has done some pretty awful things, but he’s also fighting to save the world from an actual demon, so it’s all good.)
#3 — Happily Ever After
Now, I’m not saying that everybody should die at the end of the book. No, far from it. What I’m talking about is the Disney Princess kind of “Happily Ever After,” where the guy ends up with the girl and suddenly all of their problems are solved. It’s especially frustrating if these characters have been in conflict with each other across the entire book, and at the end one of them turns from “bad” to “good” and everyone starts throwing roses. I wrote a whole blog post a few weeks ago about how making all books end with a relationship really tears down peoples’ self-esteem. It did so subconsciously to me, at least, and that might be why I ended up in two abusive relationships before figuring out I didn’t need a man to be fulfilled. (I’ve got a guy now, but it’s an equal relationship, and it’s by and far the best one I’ve ever had <3)
#4 — Pushing Away Loved Ones
This might be one of the ones I can’t stand the most. I know you’ve seen this one: someone knows something terrible is going to happen to them soon, so they start pushing away all of their loved ones to “spare” them from the upcoming tragedy. All this does is hurt their loved ones more, but they can’t see it! People, it’s called communication. Talk to the people you’re in love with. Don’t make things harder on them. Don’t crawl away and die and leave your loved ones wondering what happened to you, and the only way they figure anything out is by reading your diary! Come on, y’all. I think this may be the one I hate the most, because it’s happened to me. I’ve had friends push me away to “spare” me from whatever trauma they were going through, and at the end they realized if they had told me about it I could’ve helped them through it the entire time, because I’d gone through something similar and knew how to handle it. I hate this one.
#5 — The “Ugly” Protagonist Who Can’t Understand Why Anyone Likes Her/Him
Y’all. I can’t even with this one. It’s stuff like this that messes with peoples’ heads. I think Bella from Twilight is a good example of this. She describes herself as being plain and ordinary and wonders how anybody would ever fall in love with her. And yet she finds out from Edward that the moment she walked into the school every single male fell in love with her. Really? Everything always circles back to “Well, I’m so plain” or “I’m so ugly” or “Nobody will ever love me” while in the background you’ve got like thirty people fighting to the death over them. Just…stop.
I feel like I could probably go on and turn this into a top-ten list, but I’m also pretty sure that you don’t want to read that much angst this early in the morning, so I’ll stop here.
Do you share any of my most-hated tropes? What else would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading.