Writing Tropes That Aren’t For Me

CW: Sexual Assault. One of the tropes I mention references sexual assault in books, but I don’t discuss it in great detail.

As a voracious reader, I am coming to terms with the types of books I like to read. I tend to read more thrillers and romance books than any other genre. I have been paying more attention to the types of tropes I have been seeing in the books I have been reading. Tropes aren’t always bad, as there are certain tropes that I tend to gravitate to. Instead of sharing the best tropes, I wanted to share a few tropes that honestly aren’t for me.

Thriller & Mystery – Unreliable female protagonist with a drinking problem (Examples include: Girl on a Train, The Woman in the Window)

This is so commonly used and I’m over it. It’s usually a woman drinking red wine and she mixes her wine with Xanax. She somehow is able to get up and do productive things after a night of binge drinking. I’m not a fan of this trope as it’s always the same. There has to be a better way to convey to the reader that something isn’t what it seems without the use of alcohol.

Romance – Love interest stems from cheating (Examples include: Anna & The French Kiss, One to Watch)

I despise cheating in romances. To me, it cheapens the romance and leads to a side character being extremely hurt. There’s a lot of emotional damage that comes to cheating and I can’t fathom why you can’t break up with that person if you are interested in someone else. It still hurts, but at least it’s honest. Part of the thrill of romance books is I want to root for the couple to last long term. When a romance is built on cheating, I have a hard time believing the romance will last and it ruins it for me.

Thriller & Mystery – Using sexual assault as a twist (Example: The Good Daughter)

I wrote about this topic a few years ago, but I think the use of sexual assault is overdone. Sometimes it’s thrown into a backstory of a character for no good reason. In The Good Daughter, there’s a “plot twist” where it’s revealed that one of the characters was sexually assaulted. I wasn’t a fan. It felt gross to me. I would rather it have been revealed right away versus in the middle of the book. I think sexual assault can be used in a story in a powerful way, but when it’s so overused, it starts to become a bit too much.

Non-Fiction – Not having reference pages (maps, character lists to reference, etc. (Example: Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition)

This isn’t a trope per se, but more of a preference. I’m reading Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent. While I’m enjoying it, this book is extremely detailed. There are so many key players in passing the prohibition amendment and there aren’t any references pages. It can be difficult to remember everyone that’s introduced. It’s a stark contrast to League of Denial: The NFL Concussions and the Battle for Truth. In League of Denial. There was a full character sheet with important people that were discussed. It was nice to be able to reference throughout the book.

While I’m not a big fan of these tropes, I try not to let them ruin the book I’m reading. If anything, it has helped me narrow down the types of books I like to read. If I find a book that fits into one of the categories above, I tend to avoid it which helps me find books that I know I will love.

2 thoughts on “Writing Tropes That Aren’t For Me

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