Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is whatever I want. I chose to list some tropes. When people hear the word “Trope,” they usually think of something negative, but there are thousands of tropes, and some of them have been around for centuries. They’re not necessarily a bad thing. So, I decided to list 5 tropes I love and 5 I’m sick of seeing.
The Tropes I Love
1. Anti-heroes and anti-villains: These are the morally gray characters. You’re never quite sure if they’re good guys or bad guys, but they’re super-interesting to read about. These characters are pretty common in sci-fi/fantasy/horror.
2. Slow-burn love: The opposite of insta-love. The characters are friends long before they are romantic partners. Ron and Hermione are probably the most well-known example of slow-burn love. It takes them thousands of pages to get together.
3. Unusual formatting: Strange fonts? Mixing poetry and prose? One-sentence chapters? Creepy old photographs? An entire book written in lists? All those experimental things that reviewers call “Gimmicky and annoying”? YES, PLEASE. I want more.
4. Parallel universes: These have been a staple of science fiction for as long as the genre has been around. As a kid, I was obsessed with His Dark Materials and The Talisman. As an adult, I loved the Dark Tower series and A Darker Shade Of Magic. I’ve never met a parallel-universe book that I didn’t like.
5. The unexpected hero (A.K.A. the non-action guy): This is the character who doesn’t have traditional “hero” traits, but ends up doing something heroic anyway. Neville Longbottom is an unexpected hero. Peeta from The Hunger Games may also fit into this category.
Honorable mention: The coming-of-age story: In these stories, the characters go through an event that forces them to grow up a little. At the end of the book, the characters are psychologically or morally different than they were in the beginning. A lot of contemporary YA books are coming-of-age stories. I never get sick of them.
The Tropes I Hate
1. Abusive “bad boy” love interests: Nothing makes me angrier than seeing a character stay in an abusive relationship. I know that real-life people do stay in bad relationships, but I hate reading about it. I especially hate when the girl says, “Oh, he’s just being cute and protective.” No. He’s being crazy. Get away from him. Now.
2. Unpronounceable names: Fantasy authors, why do you do this to me?
3. The chosen one / one person against the world: I don’t completely hate this trope, but it’s used a lot. I wish authors would be a little more creative. Sometimes it seems like every protagonist is the only person who can save the universe.
4. Romanticized illness: You know all those moody bad boys with anger-management problems? Is that sex appeal or some kind of mental disorder? Also, as much as I adore The Fault In Our Stars, I’m not sure if it’s a realistic story. Does being deathly ill really put you in the mood for love?
5. The annoyingly quirky girl: Stargirl was one of my favorite books as a kid, but I don’t think I would have liked the book if Stargirl was the narrator. She’s just so annoyingly weird. Other annoyingly quirky girls: Alice from Twilight and Margo from Paper Towns. Both characters got on my nerves a little. Quirky is fine, but some characters overdo it. On a related topic, where are all the quirky boys?
What tropes do you love and hate?