The term trope in the literary community has come to have a creative meaning. Its literal definition is the use of figurative language for artistic effect. However, now the term trope has come to be commonly defined as recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or cliches in creative works.
These are some of the tropes that I’ve seen and heard about in literature that shouldn’t be used. I will list some of them but there are more.
1. The Fixer
I think there’s bit of fixer in everyone because that’s human in nature. But when the MC treats her like crap and then she’s intrigued by his behavior and wants to get closer to him because she believes she can fix him is a big joke.
It’s nice that she wants to help but why would anyone want to be in a relationship when the focus is not on ‘US’ but on ‘HIM’?
Unless if you’re a licensed medical doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist you shouldn’t want to fix a man’s past relationship issues. If he hasn’t figured it our by now then he needs professional help.
2. The insecure
We all have insecurities at times and some people have it worse than others but when the main character (MC) is written in such a way when they are doubting themselves is annoying.
This is the girl that has that if Barbie was a real person body measurements, perfect teeth, beach blond hair, gorgeous sea blue eyes, high cheek bones, and perfect posture she’ll be the perfect proportionate human.
She wears over sized clothing and sometimes those clothes are worn out and torn. She’s 9 times out of 10 poor and is down on her luck. She often hides her body and wears black rimmed glasses and is super smart.
However, she thinks she’s ugly and when she gets a compliment she takes it as if she is being made fun of.
Writers tend to write these kinds of female MC’s so that the readers can sympathize with her and see that she’s humble. This is not the right way of giving your character humility. Your character has to actually perform an act of humility in order to be considered a humble character.
3. The Sexy
Don’t get me wrong being sexy and showing that you’re sexy is great. Hell, I think I’m sexy, however, you can’t just be sexy without a personality.
Often times these characters are one dimensional and they only look pretty.
Usually there’s no real conversation between her and the MC. She’s usually moaning and begging for more. And that’s the only role she has in the story. Zero conversational skills, zero personality, and non-existent redeemable characteristics.
Often times she’s sexy unintentionally and the male MC fins her very attractive and she’s a submissive character.
4. The Mary Sue
This is the girl that writers try to give her sex appeal but at the same time feel guilty that she might be objectified as being a sex object so they mellow down her appearance but make it too obvious.
For example, she’s wearing a dress that accentuates her curves but it’s not a bodycon dress, the dress is below the knees, it’s a quarter long sleeve, it’s black not red or any seductive color shade, she’s wearing glasses, flats not heels, little to no makeup (obviously for the reveal in the next chapter), and she’s poor because obviously rich people are the only confident characters.
When I delve into the realm of fiction, I want to read about a fictional world where I can transform myself into this fictional character. I want the character to not only be cute, and sexy, but also funny, smart, clever, and independent.
5. The do nothing
The girl that everything you can imagine happens to her but she doesn’t react to anything unless someone tells her and shows her what to do.
She has no input on the matter other than asking questions and being directed on what odo next. She’s more of a follower than a leader or like a placeholder, she goes with the flow.
This character is boring. She doesn’t like conflict and I’m sure she probably wouldn’t be able to solve or get out of it even if she tried.
6. The bitter One
The bitter character is most likely either the stepmother, the villain, the sister-in-law, or the mother-in-law, and sometimes the MC’s mother.
There’s nothing wrong in writing bitter characters but when the sole reason she’s bitter is that she’s jealous of the MC because of their looks and age is pathetic.
Give this female character another type of reason to be evil. We’ve seen this kind of trope in many Disney characters.
i.e. Snow White’s step-mother. She was stuck on her vanity and that she had to be the most prettiest. And when she wasn’t she had to do something. And in these kind of stories the MC is too nice and naive.
7. The virgin
There’s nothing wrong with being a virgin or naive to a certain extent but in this kind of books, there is.
This trope is so overused that whenever I read them I instinctively roll my eyes and predict what’s next.
This girl, you guys, is the girl that you love to really get frustrated with. Reason being is that she is supposed to be a virgin but in between the sheets she knows exactly what to do. Like she’s a pro and knows how to do everything right the first time. Plus, her first time she wasn’t in pain and it all felt like heaven. Like in what world does the first time feel like heaven.
My first time I knew nothing, I was in pain, and lets just say that popping the cherry was not done in one session.
8. The badass who doesn’t do anything
Some writers tend to do this with many of their characters. These are the types that everyone talks about being either bad or evil but the readers never get a glimpse of their evilness or their badass characteristics.
This is a prime example of telling instead of showing how bad the MC is. There is no validation of their badassness but just the writers mentioning she’s bad.
9. Not the average chick
I’m guilty of this one. This is the girl that the love interest says she’s unique and has something special about her but he doesn’t know what it is. (I redeem myself as you keep reading my novel but nevertheless, I did start it off this way).
This is an effective way and lazy way to tell readers that the MC is likable. Focusing on her personality instead of the physical would be a better option.
10. The Clueless
If we have a male clueless character is only fair to have a female clueless character.
This is typically the girl that is the door mat. She goes along with anything the MC says and does because she has no voice, no back bone, and is helplessly in love with the abusive MC.
Often times these types of characters are seen in erotic or romance novels. Where the premise is primarily to read about the MC’s sexcapade or just plain reading porn.
Usually there’s no real story line, every character in the book is one dimensional, has little to no dialogue, and the story kind of goes nowhere.
I hope you took notes of these fictional female tropes and tried to avoid them in your writing.
Let me know what other female tropes you have read about that I have failed to mention in the comments.