One definitive moment in my writing career was my creative writing class in my freshman year of high school. Before that class writing was all about grammar, and creative ideas, and spelling, and grammar. But from that first day of freshman year, till finals came rolling around, there was one thing that dictated everything I wrote-cliches. Be it similes, metaphors, plot ideas, or character dialogues; anything that came off as even the littlest cliche or tropey, my English teacher cut it down with no hesitation.
At the beginning of the class, I was extremely derisive, you can’t tell me what to write! Nothing under the sun is original anymore, so won’t everything I write be a cliche? As the year went on, I began to realize that there are good cliches and bad cliches. Popular tropes, and less popular tropes. Learning where to draw the line is one talent that authors need to possess. But it was also important for me to recognize that like most things, tropes are subjective, and it’s up to the reader to decide which tropes they prefer and which ones are an automatic turn off.
After having some time to hone my tastes and recognize what I would rather not read, I’ve come up with a list of tropes that I absolutely can’t stand. That’s not to say that I would never read a book with this trope, it’s just to say that I won’t enjoy it very much.
This is one that I feel like I could rant about for ages, but in all honesty, my rant will probably just consist of frustrated yelling. There’s nothing that makes me want to reach into the pages of a book more than a miscommunication plotline. If I could just reach in to grab the characters by their shoulders and force them to sit down in a room AND JUST FREAKING TALK. The whole story would be over. All problems solved. Why even bother writing the book?
I’m pretty sure Malka said this once, and it’s the absolute TRUTH so I’m going to quote her on this, “If you can solve all the problems with a simple phone call, then your book doesn’t have a plot.” Or something like that. I’m completely paraphrasing. But honestly, it’s true! If the entire plot of the book revolves around a lil’ bit of miscommunication, then it’s not a good plot!
Now there are different types of miscommunication plotlines, and there are some that I consider an exception to the rule of ew no this sucks. The You’ve Got Mail type of scenario is fine by me-Attached did it beautifully, Alex, Approximately less so, but still manageable.
All in all, I’d rather NOT pull my hair out in frustration when reading a book. So the miscommunication trope is going to get a solid no from me.
To be completely honest, I haven’t read that many books with love triangles in them. This is partly due to my aversion of romantically focused books, and also to the fact that if I hear that there’s a bad love triangle in a book, I probably won’t read it.
The love triangles that I absolutely cannot stand are the ones in which a character is pining after someone while they are still in a relationship! No! I don’t like cheating! I don’t care if you ship character a more with character c than with character b, cheating is a no-no. Also, how obnoxious is it for a character to have two love interests?
Love triangles that exist solely to bring across the fact that the character is bisexual? No thank you. It’s unnecessary, and I personally feel like it ruins the rep a little bit? I recently read a book where the MC’s love interest was EVERY OTHER CHARACTER IN THE BOOK, and this was just to prove that he was pansexual!
Love triangles that I do condone are the ones where the second love interest is introduced after it’s made clear that the original love interest is a no-go. Is this technically a love triangle? Probably not, but it’s all that I’ll put up with.
One reason I’m not a fan of this particular trope is because I do tend to favor slow burn romances. I like love-to-hate tropes and all the sort of “it took us work to get here” sort of stuff. The reason that I like slow-burn is the same reason that I can’t stand insta-love.
I just feel that realistically, romances and relationships are things that people have to work for. There’s no absolute love at first sight. Sure there may be a, wow I really would love to be in a relationship with someone, at first sight. But there’s no automatic deep undying love that comes with awkwardly bumping into someone at a coffee shop.
Characters when they think they know what love is but they’re actually children with no concept
I like seeing a relationship develop, so I hate it when it just jumps to the drunk in love phase. The romance feels fake and forced and very very annoying. Once again I want to shake the characters and yell things like, you don’t even know each other! She could be an ax murderer for all you know! People don’t do this sort of thing in real life! Of course, the characters would never hear me, so I’m just left to stew with my frustration.
That’s it for now! Maybe another time I’ll do a list of tropes I can’t get enough of so that you can all judge me and my taste in books.