Not all things in life can be balanced, but I figure that quite a few of my posts can. And since I brought you all kinds of beautiful tropes on a silver platter earlier this month, it’s time to dive deep into the exact opposite.
Oh yes. Today’s post is a steaming pile of Nope Tropes™ that I would be happy to never run into again, filled to the brim with salt.
What can I say? I’ve got to burn off some spite every now and again, and this is one way to do it!
We Are Deliberately Miscommunicating Even Though Telling the Truth Would Have Solved This 200 Pages Ago!
If characters would have resolved everything by just telling each other the truth instead of hiding things on impulse at the beginning, then I probably won’t like the rest of the book. When your plot hinges on people not being honest with each other despite repeated chances to do so (and good reason to do so, because I do recognize sometimes characters have every right to be cagey and suspicious of each other), then I’m bored out of my skull. Just chat, wrap this puppy up, and figure out the bigger problems, I guess?
He Treats Her Horribly, but Obviously it’s LOOOOOOOVE…
This is a super gendered trope for a REASON, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in another gender combo. It’s one thing to ship something because “oh hey, that’s a messed up dynamic, I want to see where it goes,” and it’s entirely something else to go “wow, he treats her like absolute dirt but they’re clearly deeply madly in LOVE with each other 😍”. The latter is just repackaging the playground BS about boys picking on girls they like and girls being supposed to accept that as affection rather than harassment, and I’m entirely uninterested in it. No thanks. Hard pass. Give me a big heap of mutual respect, please. Better yet, slide me some “she could punt his ass to the moon and he adores her and she dotes on him” if we’re going to be changing things up, thanks.
Bury Your Gays/Tragic Gays/Queer Pain in General
This one shouldn’t need too much explaining. When you kill your only queer character, or your only queer character is in love with a straight person who will never love them back, or your queer characters exist only to suffer for their queerness, I’m not having it. It boils down queerness to an existence that centers on suffering, and while I get that being queer in real life can have its elements of suffering, to present it that way in a book is just shallow and lazy and honestly disrespectful. Plus, if I’m going to read about any kind of queer pain, I want to read it from a queer author, and I want nuance.
Parents Can’t Interfere if They’re Dead!
Exactly what it says on the tin! I know it’s easier to send a sixteen year old kid on their chosen one quest if Mom and Dad can’t step in and prevent them from going, but UGH. I’m getting tired of the dead parents scenario, so tired of it that I cheer when parents are still alive in books. Low bar, huh? But really, if you want the parents out of the way for the novel, please try something other than axing them and making your character yet another orphan.
We’ve Known Each Other for 48 Hours But Obviously We’re Soulmates for Eternity!
Instalove is truly the bane of my existence. Attraction? Okay, fine. Characters can find other characters hot, that’s totally normal. But falling way way way way way into love right out of the gate is one of my least favorite things, especially since it so often circles back to miscommunication and “surprise I lied to you about my past,” and I’m not a big fan. Maybe this is why I don’t read a lot of romance? I do love slowburn and relationships that take time to build.
He’s Brand New, But Totally Kicks Her Ass Even Though She’s Trained Her Whole Life for This S#@*!
Listen, if I could roll my eyes clear out of my skull for this one, I probably could. It’s another one that tends to be gendered a very particular way, and it goes hand in hand with the tired old trope of the able-bodied white cis guy being The Chosen One™. If he has never picked up that weapon or tried that magic before in his entire life, and he suddenly wipes the floor with the girl who’s spent her whole life in training for the exact same thing, I don’t want it, and I will want a refund. Give me my time and money back, please and thanks.
(That said, I am a little more ambivalent towards the newbie showing a least a little bit of innate if inexplicable skill so long as they’re not clearing the place out like they’ve been training since they were in diapers. Then you can have a training montage. 👀)
So, there you have it! A few of my most despised tropes, canned and preserved for your enjoyment/amusement/disgust/emotion of choice. I have strong as hell opinions on these, and they can actually bring a book’s rating down if I run into them.
But now you tell me: what tropes do YOU love to hate?