Writing Tip 35: Fictional Tropes

If you haven’t read tips 33 and 34 which explains the term tropes then what are you waiting for, go read them and come back to this post. But if haven’t read them below you will find the definition of the term trope and if you’ve read them already you can skip ahead.

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 writing fictional tropes that every writer should avoid or at least justify them in your story.

1. Romanticizing abuse

These are the types of stories where the main character (MC) either male or female is sexually, verbally, and physically abusing the heroine. The heroine thinks it’s sexy and the abuser believes its the normal way that he can cope with his trauma.

This is unhealthy and a restraining order or death sentence waiting to happen. In the real world, this is why couples either split. Why would authors think is a good idea to implement this type of relationship as healthy and normal.

I’m not saying that bad things can’t happen to characters or to people but to write it as if it’s normal is not good. Even though, it’s a fictional character, writing it and objectifying it as normal is bad.

2. Opposite pairings

Obviously, you heard of the saying ‘opposites attract’ and at times it works out great but in fiction well you be the judge.

Usually, the male MC is the badass, rich, smart, sexy, guy that somehow falls for the girl that is plain and borderline cut your vein boring. She’s often times the girl that does nothing interesting and has nothing going for herself. She’s usually poor and working two jobs to make ends meet and somehow gets the attention of this guy. Not sure how but hey they hook up.

This is so unrealistic. This is such a bad imbalance. This is so manipulative on so many levels.

3. The chosen one

This isn’t an issue per se as people are born into many things such as royalty, wealth, ethnicity, genetics, etc. However, the usual teenager that for some reason has unexplained things happening on their birthday and some supernatural being appears out of nowhere and explains to them that they have some sort of superpowers but they must go on a journey to find it is overwritten. This kid always or almost always rejects the idea of being the chosen one when they first learn of their ability. I don’t know of any kid including myself when I was a teenager would dislike the fact that I can possess superpowers.

I’m not a genius but if I was the chosen one I would embrace it and go on whatever quest to figure out how can I use my powers.

Oh yeah, and these characters suck in their personal life and they absolutely suck at the chosen one role until 3/4 of the ending of the book.

4. The insufferable hipster

They have a nature name like Autumn or a family name like Gertrude. They usually wear thrift store clothing with worn out boots with mangled hair and have a nerdy best friend.

These types of books are not a storytelling book more like a theme based book filled with prose, history, and atmosphere.

5. Killing off characters

I’ve killed a few characters in my stories but the kind of killing that I mean is the type that you saw it coming type.

These types of stories and also seen a lot in movies is where the black, LGBTQ, Asians, and basically everything or anyone that is not white caucasian dies in the story either in the beginning or in the middle.

So if you thought you were being represented in the book, well think again, your representation has just died and they were the only one in the book that you could potentially relate to.

6. Motivational Killing

This is where the writer can’t really think of a real reason to motivate the MC and decides that killing their significant other or someone dear to the MC is the best idea to move the story forward and to motivate the MC to do something or not do something.

7. Naming characters

I get it, that naming characters are hard and finding the perfect name is essential but when you name them something that the reader needs a guide to how to pronounce their name is not good. I’m naming them how I want.

I read this book that had the MC named Heaven spelled backward. I’m not sure how to pronounce that or why the author thought it was a good idea to do this but whenever her name appeared it was Neve for me.

I’m not saying that you should only name your characters everyday and simple names but don’t make it so complicated where no one can pronounce their name.

8. Friendzone bestie

This is the friend that knows the MC in and out. They know their secrets and their fears and been through thick and thin together since childhood.

However, the MC is not at all interested in this character and the friend is sitting in the sidelines listening to their friends’ ups and downs with their love interest while at the same time dying of love within.

I’m sure this had happened but not to the point where the best friend has never moved on from their feelings for the MC and somehow was involved in a relationship of their own.

Often times if the friend informed the Mc of their feeling it might be reciprocated or shut down right there so that they can both move on.

9. The breakup cliffhanger

This is effective, however, it has been overdone. This is when the writer ends the book, not the chapter, with the MC’s breaking up for some ridiculous reason only to captivate readers to read the sequel.

If I made it to the end I invested my reading time for this book then I deserve a proper ending.

I read this book that started out great it was so so so good until the end. The MC got skinned alive, was pregnant with twins, was raped,  was tortured, had every bone in her body broken, and was still alive. This all occurred for 7 days. Her love interest and her friends never looked for her. That’s not the bad part. The bad part was that she was in surgery and was revived 8 times and the twins were alive and then died as well. She was able to communicate with people and then she suddenly died. I was like WTF happened.

Anyway, don’t get your readers upset by ending the story in a cliffhanger only to read the next installment.

10. Cardboard cut out tropes

I already mentioned some of this on my fictional character tropes so I will only mention the ones that I have left out.

The female empowerment: She kicks ass but is emotionless. She lacks any sympathy or empathy and is clearly one dimensional.

The sexy fighter: She is a killing machine but does it in a sexual way. She fights and gives everyone a hard-on at the same time.

The sexy alien: She was born yesterday and the male MC wants to teach her everything and somehow by chapter three they fall in love and they bang like hard and like every other scene. Like really you sick perv.

Well, these are all the fictional story tropes I could come up with. If you found them entertaining let me know. If you have any other tropes I failed to mention let me know. Comment your feedback gives me ideas of what else I should post. You could follow me on Facebook for more content suggestions.

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