Totes Tropey

My sassy spirit animal is right

I found this image on tumblr, and it was too good not to reblog:

(via JennIRL)

Why is it so funny? Because it’s so, unfortunately, true.

So many stories default to stereotypes—to elements that have been done before to exhaustion, to lazy writing—because they’re a shortcut, an easy way to get an idea across.

But whoever said writing was easy?

Maybe I’m only becoming aware of it now, but I feel like more people are being called out on their use of tropes recently. Which, frankly, makes me happy. Readers can spot tropes from a mile away. I know, whenever I stumble across one (deus ex machina and inexplicable love interest being my personal pet peeves), I groan. Honestly, it’s frustrating. It feels like you’ve wasted time investing yourself into reading a story, only to discover you’ve read it before (probably a hundred times before).

I know, when I read, I want to be surprised. I want to be caught off guard, to be emotionally invested, to be swept away.

Frankly, I want to be entertained. And these tropes? Knock me right out of a story.

Granted, you can argue, a lot of great books use tropes (eg. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone fills five of those squares). But maybe they’re a product of their time? Maybe those tropes were not so overdone at the time those books were published.

Times change. People change. Those things are done. Let’s look towards the future.

I know I’m being more aware of what I’m writing (and reading), and actively avoiding cliches and tropes. And I hope, going forward, more writers will make a more concerted effort to avoid these tired tropes, to create something new, something unique, something modern.

What I say when I’m reading


2 thoughts on “Totes Tropey

  1. Thanks for sharing!
    I think you’re right about the tropes not being as overdone when HP came out. I think the success of the Harry Potter franchise contributed to some of these problems. It seems like every success breeds imitation and while I don’t mind reading an unoriginal book if it’s well done and fun I hate being expected to read crap just because it has a lot of popular story elements.

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