Tropes That Literally Need to Go

February 6th, 2017

Photo by David Vassiliev / The Phoenix News

Photo by David Vassiliev / The Phoenix News

I’m going to be honest here, the literary and publishing scene right now can use some tweaking when it comes to the content that is being mass produced and consumed everyday. It seems like publishers, especially big name publishers such as Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, etc., are not willing to take risks. There are a lot of similar novels with similar content being published under similar names, just with different characters and setting. This isn’t just a phenomenon happening in the Young Adult department, which almost everyone in the literary community is talking about. I am talking about fiction and literature as a whole. Whenever I pick up a popular book that has made its way on the New York Times Bestselling list, I never get something original and extraordinary because it reuses the same tropes over and over again. I am getting really sick and tired of them. It makes me wonder where the ambition and wonder went in terms of literature and fiction. Here are a list of tropes and common things I have noticed that I really don’t want to see anymore.


The “Chosen One” trope

This trope is probably more common in fantasy and science fiction novels, but this plot device drives me up the wall. This trope usually involves one or two Mary Sues or Gary Stus: perfect characters who everyone (either characters or readers) loves. These characters will hardly make mistakes, and when they do they will never get punished or receive any consequences. These characters usually will have to go on an adventure or quest to protect their (usually oppressed) society from a big and terrible evil, and are the only ones who are able to do it. They will also (most likely) have a trusty sidekick and a love interest on the side, who are just flat, two-dimensional human beings with one or two character traits at most.


Terrible world-building

This isn’t just limited to fantasy and sci-fi; contemporary novels who are set in fictional cities and towns are still subjected to limited to no world-building. World-building is one of the most important aspects of your novel. Without a world, your characters will cease to exist beyond the written words on paper. In my opinion, a lot of novels these days lack world building, and it annoys the hell out of me. One, it just shows that you are lazy. World-building takes time and practice, so don’t skimp on it just to make a tight deadline for yourself. Answer world building questionnaires that are of abundance on the internet. Have a friend look over your world and have them critique it. Ask yourself what makes sense and what doesn’t in the world you have created. I’m not expecting you to become the next Tolkien or whatever, but allowing your readers to have a basic idea other than “this is a desert land” or “this is a forest where elves live in” is nice. And it will also help develop your writing in the end.



The Love Triangle

I absolutely hate, hate, hate this trope, because it just doesn’t make any sense and it is cringey at best. I especially hate when an author decides to slap in a love triangle in the middle of what is supposed to be a dark, gritty, and adventurous story, just to make things “interesting”. Say what you want, but having two love interests dropping everything and pining over a protagonist just doesn’t appeal to me. Yes, I understand it is to enhance the drama and keep the plot going, but there are multiple other ways to do that. And giving up everything for a guy/girl just doesn’t seem very logical.

To all the publishers out there, I am not the only one who share these sentiments. In fact, you can find a lot of readers who have the same opinions if you dig a little deeper into the World Wide Web. Someone has got to put their foot down on these awful, overused tropes, and it might just start with you

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