There are a lot of tropes in writing. Those familiar character types and plot devices we all know and love, or hate when they’re overdone and everything is too predictable. Love them or hate them, they’ll keep coming back in our reading an writing lives. Here are a couple of my favorites, and a couple that I hope will fall out of style permanently.

The good ones (in my opinion):

  1. Reluctant Hero. The character who unintentionally gets wrapped up in the main event and, through no fault of there own, winds up being the one who needs to step up and save everyone. Even better if our MC is an antihero. Something about an optimistic hero in a crisp uniform saving the day like everyone knew they would just doesn’t do it for me.
  2. Medieval Europe Setting. I know some people are completely over this, and I get it, it’s used a lot in fantasy settings. I do love when authors think outside of the European box too, but there’s something so nice about that familiar, romanticized version of medieval times that I’m not sure I’ll ever get sick of.

The bad ones (feel free to disagree):

  1. Purely Evil Antagonists. I don’t think this is as common as it used to be, but it definitely still exists. The antagonist with no redeeming qualities, no true drive other than absolute power. Unless the antagonist has a serious personality disorder, this isn’t believable as a character. There should be something driving them to take over the world, something more than ‘they just want to’. Just like I don’t want a perfectly clean-cut hero, I don’t want a run of the mill, power hungry villain either. Black and white good versus evil is not my thing.
  2. Inst-Love. There’s really nothing I hate more than insta-love in a story. When a character lays eyes on someone and immediately resolves to do anything for them. Even though they’ve never spoken or interacted. What is that? Clearly I’m not a romantic. I’ll take a slow burn romance that never works out over insta-love any day. There’s no build up, no character development, no motivation for risking their lives for one another. Relationships don’t happen like that, and it doesn’t feel believable at all to read.

What’s your favorite and least favorite trope to read or write about?


One thought on “Tropes

  1. Good trope: The female character that is strong and resourceful, yet still human and vulnerable enough to want love and need help from others (think Danielle DeBarbarac in Ever After, or Rapunzel in Tangled).

    Bad trope: The female love interest that is basically the dude’s guy-friend, but as a girl. She drinks beer, eats huge cheeseburgers, watches porn, and scratches her crotch. Not to mention she watches football and burps. (It makes both protagonists more like twins, like they’re 100% the same).


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