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.

Objectifying this behavior in writing is bad and should be banned.

2. Opposite does not always attract

Obviously, you heard of the saying ‘opposites attract’ and at times it works out great but in fiction well sometimes not so much.

I also see this annoying concept in movies, telenovelas, soap operas, and TV shows.

This is where the male MC is the badass, rich, smart, sexy, guy that somehow falls for the girl that is poor, dresses terribly, and is extremely shy borderline introvert. But somehow these two people living in opposite worlds come together. Not sure how but hey they hook up.


3. The chosen one

I’ve mentioned this in other tropes that I don’t like or that can use some work and I ahve to mention it here as well.

Being the chosen one is great but when The One is a brat, doesn’t fit the role, whines and complains, and the best friend is the one solving everything. Then the author needs to revisit this character motivation and existence.

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.


4. The abrupt ending

The book in which the author for some odd reason decided that they couldn’t continue with the story any more and decided to end the book without a proper ending.

I read this really good book about a warrior going against all odds to win his true love heart and make her father happy. We go on this epic adventure with the warrior we get to know him and his many (exaggerated flaws in my opinion) but we grow to like him and his love interest. Mind you this book has at least 10-15 pages per chapter so this was a long book.

And then right when the story is getting interesting it abruptly ends. It’s not even a cliffhanger it just ends in the middle of a conversation. I thought I had a defective book and when I checked the comments everyone was saying the samething. Apparently the writer was writing the second book and the second book overlaps with the first.

So readers got the wrong end of the stick on that one.


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.

Also these characters may have a real small and insignificant role. Or they’re the villain’s minion which makes it even obvious that they’re going to die.


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.

Often times the MC is a male and ends up filling in any of the legendary fictional tropes I already mentioned.

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 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. Stay in your lane bestie

This is when the best friend for some reason is madly in love with the MC.

If it’s the girl in love with the male MC, then she’s the nerdy character, the underdog, the one the MC goes to to solve his girl issues with the most popular and successful gorgeous girl. Which at the end she gets a massive makeover and the male MC falls for her too.

If its the male friend who falls for the female MC. He has no chance whatsoever with her. He’s usually the ugly, short, wears glasses, or maybe suspenders, is socially awkward is the smartest person in the book and she always goes to him for help. However, in the story she falls for the rude guy which by the end o f the story she manages to “fix” him.

9. The breakup cliffhanger

This is an effectively overdone trope which is still done today. This is where the MC’s breakup at the end of the book over something so menial that could’ve been solved with a conversation. This reminds me the soap operas/ telenovelas that my mom and sister used to watch while I was growing up.

The writer usually wants readers to read the next sequel and this is the reason for the cliffhanger.

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. The bestie with no life

This bestie only exists in the MC’s life. We don’t know anything about this character because the author wanted to focus only on the MC.

The bestie doesn’t have a love life only bonds and hangs out with the MC. He/She also backs the MC up regardless as if they’re the yes man or the MC’s personal assistant and cheerleader.

This character is usually not attractive, thinks highly of the MC, is also very smart, and often times solves the issues and tells the MC how to solve it so that the MC gets all the credit.


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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