The Trope In Your Genre You Hate Most ...

… And What You DId Specifically To Change It Up

Just wondering what other author’s perspectives are. For me as someone who writes Fantasy and Science Fiction, it was the concept of the ULTIMATE EVIL. You know, the Dark Lord who will cast a shadow over everything unless the hero steps up their game and vanquishes it.

So what I tried to do in my work in progress (Daughters of Fate) was an attempt to find a way to make even the BBEG redeemable in some way. Some people that have previously read that far in the story in my writers’ groups over the years have commented on how they didn’t see that coming and how it threw them for a loop. They wanted to hate him so bad. But then they couldn’t.

So I guess, at least in my first drafts I did a good job at that.

Short and simple: “A wizard did it!”

I hate it when writers use soft magic systems to justify deus ex machina all over the place. It’s awfully boring and feels like the author was too lazy to solve the problem in a meaningful way. And yes, that includes ancient artifacts that just happen to be the right fit for everything.


I hate hate HATE the “two incredibly sexy white guys are fighting over me whAt EvEr shaLL i Do!!!1?” in literally every YA these days. (Not actually literally but you get my point, lol.) I especially hate it when it (almost always) results in the completely oblivious MC choosing the asshole.


I agree with you on that. I try to limit my magic systems in some way. Making them all powerful is just too convenient of a tool to have and too much of a temptation to use poorly.

In a short story I wrote, not published yet, the wizard uses all the energy of the area to save the party. But then there is nothing left to assist in saving the life of one of the members that kind of got caught in the way. There always has to be a consequence or a downside to power. And the more powerful the magic, the bigger the downside has to be.

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Spoiler Alert All us guys are “assholes”. LOL


Why doesn’t this ever happen to me in real life?


In Science Fiction, namely recent YA dystopain, I hate the love triangle. 9 times out of 10, romance has no place even existing in a story where people should be fighting for their lives, but it’s just really tiring to read.

Also, the chosen one trope. Just seems like an easy way out in regards to working to make your main character important.


I write fantasy and there are a couple tropes that get under my skin. One being the resurrection trope it devaules death and ruins any character death after that. Plus most of the time it makes the character death pointless. I also am not a fan of magic can solve everything just because it takes away from the conflict and takes away any actual challenge.


I’m gonna say it’s the trope of “The bad guy is always a man. And if it isn’t a man, then it is an incredibly sexy, intelligent, and manipulative woman that is using her powers of seduction to take over the world with her wickedness.”

Genre: all of them.


Does it make it more palatable when there is a high cost to the magic? Sort of like, "Hey, yeah, I can save us, but … " followed by dire consequences.

Think Thanos and the Soul Stone in Avengers: Infinity War where he has to sacrifice Gamora to obtain his goal.


Anime-inspired works:

  1. Teens save the world and adults are useless. Another thing in the same vein is how the faceclaims of the characters are always girly-looking teenage boys (the term is “bishounen”) instead of truly muscular/athletic grown-ups. Even more annoying when the bad guys are muscular/athletic grown-ups instead.
  2. Good guys are losing against the ultra powerful bad guy. Good guys remember the good ol’ past OR good guys scream, “I WON’T GIVE UP!” Good guys pwn the ultra powerful bad guy.
  3. Overchoreography in fights. “I swing my sword in 360 degree arc counterclockwise.”

I write and read a lot of fantasy, and I am not particulary fond of the conflicting and clumsy demands and attempts at the ‘strong female lead, that is strong, but not like male-strong, strong in a different way, but it is unbelievable that she can wield a sword, to make it historically accurate we can just sprinkle in that all other women do embroidery all day long, let’s make her a mage…’ etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum…

So, every time I write, I keep my eyes on doing things that are harder and fun to do with my gals. I do not seek an artificial separate carrier path and desires for my females. They want what humans would want given no restrictions on dreams.

I wrote a full inversion of a triumphant female in the matriarchal society that favours her with a ‘strong male lead’ striving to live up to his potential in She Kills Elephants and Men. It was a blast, and very liberating.


Your #3 is precious, because the mighty hero just made a full circle with his sword… hussar style, I guess, a whirl overhead to keep the rain from making his shirt wet. :slight_smile:


I have a chosen one in a sense. But it’s not actually the main character, lol.


Sounds good. I also tend to set a limit on how much power a character can use in a certain amount of time.

In my current story (working on chapter 3 but the world building is pretty far along and the magic system has become a monster in itself… :persevere: ) I went as far as seperating mages, wizards, druids,… into several representations that use different approaches on how to channel their power and seperated those into different schools. There are certain small spells most schools teach as basic knowledge like producing a temporary light source for example, but your average demonologist could never help his party with any advanced healing magic.

I write romance, and this is going to be an obvious one but I see it way too often - people doing unforgivable things to each other, getting mad, and then moving on in the relationship with no actual resolution.

Example; A guy makes a key for her apartment without asking her. She gets mad, confronts him and shouts at him. He says “I did it so I can protect you, what are you so upset for? If I’d asked you’d have said yes anyway.” She says “I’m still mad about this, why can’t you respect my boundaries?” He kisses her and they make passionate love, and never discuss it again.

Just… really? Maybe it’s just me but when somebody violates my privacy or pushes me to the point of getting that mad, it takes a hell of a lot more than some nice dick to get over it. :laughing:


I really like that. I think it’s becoming a little more common to have the bad guy be more complicated and redeemable simply because so many stories have had that like… The Darkness, or The Black Cloud, or The Evil Tree or whatever… this like, sourceless terror which is not actually terrifying at all. :stuck_out_tongue: I get a lot more scared of people and their motivations because I know what they’re capable of, and it makes sense to me that the ultimate evil would be just as human as the rest of us.

I guess it’s kind of like… what is more scary, the human teenager with the gun who just snapped because he’s been bullied his whole life? Or global warming/asteroids/natural disasters? Yes, technically natural disasters have a lot more capacity for destruction but it’s just… what is there to latch onto from a story standpoint there?

Sorry if I’m just rambling and not making sense here. I just liked that point. Daughters of Fate sounds really interesting.


Super sexy, broody vampires. woo can we have an ugly vampire that’s lazy and annoying and no one desires him please. Not to say my vampire isn’t attractive, but he’s not simply a blood-sucking sex object. PLEASE
Also, sexy possessive werewolves. How about a literal dog. That sleeps all day.
Yes, let them be attractive and up for romance, but can they be more like a human being than a sex god??


Add-on: I forgot to say what I do to deliberately turn the trope on its head - pretty simple, really. Try not to have friends or lovers do completely unforgivable things to each other in the first place, and if they do, have a realistic discussion about it. :stuck_out_tongue: