Hello guys! This week’s TTT is something I’m not really comfortable with – Favorite tropes. So I changed it a bit and I’ll do 5 I love and 5 I hate, if I can think of five anyway. I mean, on one side – tropes are everywhere. We’re all humans, and books are created by humans (As far as I know), and originality is rare these days, so it’s kind of normal to expect plots to repeat here and there (And everywhere), especially in character driven fantasy. On the other side – tropes are everywhere! I keep coming by plots that are chewed over so many times they are all mushy and smell the same, and how can I love that?? I guess some authors are so keen on writing a book, they don’t care if they’re doing something that’s done a million times over? Please don’t write for the sake of writing! If you have an amazing idea then start from that, not from “I want to write a book.”
1. The chosen one.
Yeah, I know, but Harry Potter was the chosen one, and it was awesome, wasn’t it? Sure, this trope can be used in a boring and repetitive way, but when it’s good – it’s good. You know there will be a good vs evil fight, and the good will probably win, yes, but hopefully not without exciting obstacles for our hero.
2. Coming into a power you didn’t know you had.
So, a triggering event happens for our main character and he/she discovers they had a secret power? They are now learning to use and control it, and we are invited to that glorious journey. Sounds awesome if you ask me, but authors should be a bit more creative with this one, definitely. Like in The Darker Shade of Magic.
3. Boyish girls.
There is a very thin line between this trope and #10, but a good author knows how not to cross it. The thing is – we have been presented with an image of what a girl should be and act like for so long, that now all the authors are focusing on what a girl wants to be. And a single focus is never okay. There are girls who love pink and flowers and glitter and they should still exist in literature. But, in a case of a well-written boyish or not-a-lady girl I can relate, so I love heroines who are like that, but written well, like Blue from The Raven Cycle.
4. Villain redemption.
There’s nothing better than hating a character’s guts in book one, and then starting to care for them in one of the sequels. It shows character growth and writing skills, and we all love that, am I right? It’s easy to mess up here, so easy in fact that a lot of people misunderstand a redemption of a character for something that it’s not. Snape’s redemption didn’t have anything to do with Lily, it was his ultimate loyalty to Dumbledore. Hate me, I don’t care!
5. Hate to love.
Again, if it’s done well. Two characters can hate each other’s guts and you can instantly tell they’ll fall in love soon, if they’re not in love already. Meh. Saw that in Caraval. But sometimes you don’t know, because maybe not even the author knows, or they’ve masked it with, you know, PLOT, so when it does happen you’re like whoa. Or you kind of feel things leading up to it, and you’re not sure, and when it happens you’re happy like a dancing monkey.
The previous trope gone bad becomes this trope. Also, some authors don’t shy of just plain doing it. Many, many authors. You disappoint me.
7. Love geometry.
Tied in with the one above, but +1. Plus one for parties is awesome, but plus one for lovers in books – please don’t. This is used SO much that I hate it with a burning passion, but in a perfect world I could even like it.
8. Mary and other Sue’s.
Waaah I’m a fragile and delicate girl, I will trip on every rock, fall into every body of water even though I can’t swim, and the villain will take me just for saving purposes! But I will cook you a large and nutritious meal because I’m a gIrL#!!! If there is a book where Mary Sue isn’t saved but killed instead, please tell me. I am interested.
9. Token diverse character (Be it for race, sexuality or anything at all.)
See, we have these white characters which are all so cool and mighty and clever, and yeah, there’s the black one, because diversity! He doesn’t talk much. His superpower is to be the first one to die.
See, we have these straight characters which are all so cool and mighty and clever, and yeah, there’s the gay one, because diversity! She doesn’t talk much. Her superpower is to be moody and dark, to have a short hair and to be tough and manly!
*Luckily, this one is slowly disappearing (Or mutating, depending on the writer.)
10. “She was ugly and not special at all” … 200 pages later: “Ooops! That you Beyonce?!”
When a writer puts in hours of their time to tell us how our main character is not pretty and oh so ordinary and boys just don’t look at her as they look at her shiny best friend – you know she’ll somehow turn into a very special beauty. Even worse – some writers use this plot device to redeem the girl’s “ugliness” by making her a sorceress extraordinaire. Do you really have to redeem yourself for not being a Barbie? Really?!
Phew. To be clear, the tropes I love, I love them because 1. I’ve read great books with those tropes, and 2. I’m not bored by them yet. But if I read another 100 books with the “chosen one”, be sure I’ll start hating that trope with a fire of a thousand suns.