Tropes, love them, or hate them they are overly present in any type of media out there. From the knight in shiny armor to the good old love triangle there is no way to escape them. Today I thought is only natural to present my take on tropes, and more specific bad tropes, the ones that I avoid in any books and can make me DNF faster than that crazy chicken running from the stupid coyote, you know the one.
While I admit, I added here some tropes that I can live with, and that can even be done well, most of them are either problematic or overly used. Spoiler alert, I am working on a list of bad tropes done well, so stay tuned.
Trigger Warning: mental health, sexual assault
I feel like this is super general and it’s not just me. We just hate when two characters meet and in 10 minutes they know they are soul-mates and would die for each other. The sub-race of this is the mate trope when they are basically forced together (this one is probably not that generally hated). Listed we are here for the slow burn, for the logging, and most important for the angst!
I am obviously not talking about the sexual/physical attraction that can totally happen. I mean you can see a stranger and think they are hot or beautiful… but would you die for them?! are you ready to spend the rest of your life with them?! no? didn’t think so.
- Misunderstood bad boy
Or bad boy with a heart of gold, or he is an asshole but secretly he is not and he saved a whole city. This one is problematic, annoying, and controversial, oh boy do we love a dark brooding bad boy that is good just to that one person that got to his heart. That is where the problematic part comes into play please stop teaching young adults and teens that read these books that toxic is ok as long as that person is nice from time to time.
Having morally grey characters is ok, having bad characters is also ok. Is even ok to show toxic relationship as long as you call them by the name and you don’t romanticize them.
- Mental health issues as a quirk
this is such a no-no. Mental health is such a big issue and people suffering from certain metal disorders suffer from stigma and have their condition downplayed, last thing they need is for those issue to be seen as quirky or attention seeking. And trust me on this one, I know it first hand. If you want to add characters suffering from mental health issues in your story, please do so, the rep is always welcome, but treat them with respect and consideration.
- Unnecessary sexual assault scenes
Same as with mental health, we do need to talk about this more, and more specific about sexual assault survivors. But the keyword that makes this trope problematic is unnecessary. Please talk about sexual assault, normalize survivors coming out and offer them support, but this is too much of an important and sensible subject to be just another insignificant scene that is never dealt with or talked about. And while we are at it, remember: consent is sexy and asking for permission is also sexy.
- Love triangle
This is so widely spread and was such a big thing back in the day when YA became huge that I can’t say a really hate it. Honestly, I don’t even think we need to get rid of it completely, this is one of those that just needs an upgrade (but more about this another time). Having the main girl madly in love with two equally attractive guys is bs, we know who she will end up with from the beginning, the author made it very clear that one is THE ONE and the other is just that, the other. So spear me the unnecessary angst and let’s move on.
- Golden trio
Ok, I know the holy trinity is like a big thing, and I’ve learned in literature class that all cool and magical things either come in pairs of three or seven (I don’t know if seven is just a Romanian thing or not) but this is honestly so cliché that it annoys me from the start. Despised the title of this post, this is not necessarily a deal-breaker, I can live with it, but honestly, can we get a group of any other number than three? pretty please?
- Chosen One
Just like the Golden Trio, this is not necessarily a bad trope, but an overly used one. Like almost every fantasy novel ever written, while I do love the trope of destiny we can’t escape from trope, having one angsty teen be the salvation of the universe is just too much. Don’t discard the whole trope, but you know, but a twist to it, because the main problem I have with this trope is that is very predictable, of course, the chose one, the hero of legend and lore is going to end the big bad guy.
- All you need is love
Honestly, this should be next to the bad guy with a heart of gold, because more often than not they are seen together. The broody asshole next door is just misunderstood, all he needed was for the nice girl to come, give him some love, and miraculously all this toxic behavior is gone. Love cures anything, well nope. Drop it.
- Hidden Royal
this is also one that is bad just because it was lovely used and makes the story predictable. What the main character is actually the missing royal we heard about the whole story? shocked Pickachu face While again, it’s not a deal-breaker (I think I should’ve found a better name for this post) I tend to roll my eyes at it and take away points from the book.
- Manic Pixie Girl
And here we can add Plan Jane, Not like other girls and Damsel in distress. Basically poorly written female characters, I haven’t seen these in a while and I don’t know if it’s because I read better books or because we are starting to get rid of them. Just write complex female characters and don’t use them just to advance the journey of your main hero. Thx. (oh and this goes to any kind of token characters, but I don’t consider that a trope just bad/lazy writing)
So, there you have it my top 10 tropes that are a deal-breaker, except for like half of them which are not a deal-breaker but just annoying. Oh jeez, that would have been a long post title.
Do you agree or disagree? Which are your deal-breaker tropes? Be sure to let me know!